Aldi remains ambitious about UK growth. It recently overtook the Co-Op to become Britain's fifth biggest supermarket* and is on track to increase store count from 450 to 1,000 by 2022. The brand continues to experiment with store design and improvements to the customer experience – a commitment that’s embodied by its most recent, shiny store opening in Northwich. We took a look at how this new store is faring; using our 5Drivers model to understand the emotions it is playing to.
Playing #Desire card via a ‘foodhall feel’ that’s about much more than low prices
The first impression on entering the new store is of a decidedly more upmarket proposition than is evoked by previous designs. This is conveyed primarily through the more confident, darker, less ‘cheap and cheerful’ colour palette employed throughout the store; something complemented well by the use of wood-effect fixtures that help inject a sense of naturalness and warmth. Energy-efficient matt-black chillers and freezers project a contemporary image and even the style of the signage seems a step on in terms of modernity. This premium persona, together with a very orderly environment and comfortably wide aisles, is pleasantly surprising and certainly reaffirms the brand’s central message that low prices don’t have to come at the expense of quality.
Leveraging #Control by providing an easier customer experience
Further into the store journey and tackling Aldi’s perceived weakness on ease-of-shop has evidently been a priority. Large, bold and well-placed navigational signage abounds and, whilst perhaps widely regarded as a basic feature of a supermarket, this is one of the biggest steps forward for the brand. Clearly visible and attractive, the signs on the aisles use simple and colourful product icons; a clever tactic that adds a friendly tone to the process of ensuring customers feel orientated and in control. A ‘food for tonight’ cross-merchandising gondola-end adds another ‘making your life easier’ element.
Encouraging #Belonging via messages around provenance, charity and colleagues
The new store features more nods towards the provenance of its food, while there is also a comms emphasis on quality, plus talk of Aldi’s charitable donations. This all helps to support the notion that shopping at Aldi is not only about good value, but doing good and living well too. There’s also a bold statement of the brand’s commitment to customer service – its claim to have the ‘fastest & friendliest people in retail’ going down well with shoppers!
The new store demonstrates solid retail space know-how, and sends a clear message that it understands consumers’ needs beyond value. Aldi seems to be saying it is no longer all about engaging in a price war; even if popular money-saving features such as the Special Buys aisle and the Super 6 remain as prominent as ever. Look out rivals, because further rollout of this design within a fast-growing estate might well see the emergence of a ‘Big Five’ before the end of the decade.
*Source: Kantar Worldpanel Feb 2017: Aldi's sales rose 12.4 percent year-on-year in the 12 weeks to Jan. 29, taking its market share to 6.2 percent.
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