ALDI needs to supply the very best buyer expertise

Oliver Bongardt, Managing Director Corporate Buying at ALDI Australia, spoke to Retail World in an exclusive interview about how the retailer has mastered the challenges of the market, presented the new small-format corner store and offers high-quality solutions for the shopping experience.

ALDI Australia Managing Director Corporate Buying Oliver Bongardt.

What are the top consumer trends coming to market in 2021 and how is ALDI serving its buyers?

Every business decision that ALDI makes, regardless of trends, is in line with our low-cost model, which enables us to offer consistently high-quality food at the lowest prices.

In our products, both in groceries and in special buys, we closely follow consumer trends. The popularity of our Special Buys program is great evidence of this. We understand what consumers want and when they want it as we combine our annual favorites, like our range of snow gear, with new product lines.

An example of a range that is becoming increasingly popular is our sustainable housewares or our special purchases, which we refer to as “purchases with a purpose”. It includes products like reusable diapers and beeswax wipes that encourage a growing consumer sentiment to be more environmentally conscious. I don't think this is a trend, but rather a movement that we will see continue to grow. At the same time, we have noticed the increasing popularity of our Earth Grown vegan food range and this year we have introduced a number of new products to this line.

We also look at trends in the way people shop, not just what they buy. In urban areas, we tend to see smaller basket sizes and people shopping more frequently during the week. In order to take this into account, this year we have introduced trial versions of baskets in addition to shopping carts in a selected number of stores in order to make the shopping experience more convenient.

Where do you see the food and convenience industry in the next year?

Customers are looking for convenience, but not at the expense of quality or price. As we are returning to the "new normal" after Covid-19, price will continue to play a role. It is at the forefront of many customers and we are fully focused on delivering what we set out to do: Providing Australians with the best quality food at the best price.

With Australia getting out of the flow of locks in and out, we expect a shift back to shopping to be more than a planned, organized endeavor. We want to meet the expectations of customers who enjoy surfing and the shopping experience. Our aisle has been a place where customers expect something unique and our Special Buys program along with the new seasonal products in our grocery range meet those expectations for innovation and experience in the store environment.

Read the full interview in the current issue of Retail World.

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