Rapid delivery is all the rage. Last week Tesco announced plans to roll out one-hour delivery service Whoosh to 600 stores, and Asda has just struck a deal with Just Eat.

But what’s this? Aldi has only gone and cancelled its Deliveroo service. Are they crazy? Its tie-up with the courier service – which it never stopped referring to as a trial, even nearly two years in – marked the discounter’s first proper foray into online grocery. So why stop now?

Three reasons: first, demand has fallen, as restrictions ease and consumers become more comfortable visiting physical stores. Second, Deliveroo never sat well with Aldi’s ethos, what with the mark-up on products, flat £4.99 delivery fee and commission on orders, paid out to Deliveroo. And third, Aldi is uncomfortable with Deliveroo owning the data and the customer relationship. After watching the Deliveroo ads, reducing Aldi to a commodity, I can’t say I blame them.


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Aldi hasn’t given up on online altogether, though: it’s placed its bets on click & collect, now offered from 200 stores – doing the picking but leaving the customer to handle the costly transport bit, which few account for when comparing product prices. It’s a reasonable halfway house.

It’s also embracing a different technological revolution: just walk out (JWO). The first Aldi Shop&Go opened in Greenwich this week, following in the footsteps of Amazon, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, albeit with a different technology provider.

And if its tech works it makes total sense. Shop&Go isn’t just quick. It’s potentially an Every Day Low Cost (EDLC). Once (if?) customers no longer need staff to hand-hold them through the process – and there were a lot of colleagues doing so in Greenwich this week – stores can function with even less staff. There is a big up-front cost with this sort of tech, of course. But Aldi’s choice of technology partner, Aifi, is also a shrewd one. Relying only on cameras – rather than the camera-shelf sensor hybrid system of its rivals – the solution is likely cheaper to install and quicker to roll out. Aldi isn’t being rash or bold. It’s sticking to its simple strategy.