Aldi has launched its first click & collect service to the public at its Allendale Road store in Loughborough, with 15 further stores scheduled to be added in the coming months.
Customers can place their orders at groceries.aldi.co.uk, the discounter’s first UK grocery e-commerce site.
“During trials with colleagues, click & collect has proven to be another convenient way for people to shop at Aldi,” Aldi UK&I CEO Giles Hurley told The Grocer.
“We look forward to extending the trial to more stores in the near future and making our great-quality products and unbeatable prices accessible to even more customers,” he added.
Customers can shop the full range of Aldi groceries and book to collect them within hour-long slots.
Orders are picked and packed by staff that Aldi said had been “trained to choose the freshest options for your order”. Given the extra work required to fulfil orders, Aldi said “recruitment is one of the elements we’ll be monitoring closely”.
Once picked, the orders are brought out to customers in biodegradable bags when they arrive at dedicated click & collect bays in the store’s car park. Transactions would be done “at a safe distance” to maintain social distancing, Aldi said.
Customers will be able to check they are happy with any substitutions that have been made in their orders on collection.
Slots can be booked from 9am to 9pm each day, apart from Sundays when slots are available from 10am to 4pm. Customers will be sent emails or texted reminders of their collection window on the day of pick-up.
On the new website, shoppers navigate through eight product categories and can filter results by price range.
The site features 172 bakery SKUs, 422 fresh, 688 chilled, 409 drinks, 794 food cupboard, 267 frozen, 56 baby and toddler, 140 health & beauty, 146 household and 60 pet food SKUs. Not all SKUs will be available at all stores, the website notes.
The service launch comes after a trial earlier this month among Aldi staff.
“We are regularly adding more stores, so if we are not currently in your area, register your details and we will contact you when we are,” the website notes.
In May, Aldi launched an on-demand trial with Deliveroo, which is now available from stores in the East Midlands, London, Cambridge and Greater Manchester. Customers can select from 300 products and have them delivered in as little as 30 minutes. The service comes with a £4.99 delivery charge and a mark-up on shelf prices.
Earlier in the year the discounter – for a limited period – offered £24.99 delivered food parcels, containing essentials such as tinned soup, rice and pasta, to help vulnerable or self-isolating customers.
Online grocery has boomed during the pandemic – levelling out at 12.5% of total grocery sales in September from a peak of 13.5%, according to Kantar. Without significant online operations, discounters Aldi and Lidl saw their market share, which had long been growing, quickly erode.
Speaking to The Grocer last month, analyst Julian Skelly, managing partner of retail at Publicis Sapient, questioned how long the discounters could afford not to move online.
“The market has shifted and the discounters need to re-evaluate their strategies,” he said. “Rather than being left behind, if they can create a compelling online proposition, a recession could accelerate the switch of their target shoppers online and they could clean up.”