What the experts say
German trade experts, however, smile knowingly when they hear such criticism. They point to the concept behind Aldi: extreme efficiency in all spheres from central buying via streamlined logistics to POS in order to offer the public brand-like quality at unbeatable prices.
They also remind one that Aldi customers are primarily there for the incredible price bargains and will accept a little chaos caused by other customers having a rummage. After all, constantly reordering the shelves to make them look neater and tidier would merely increase cost and potentially jeoparise Aldi’s USP: low prices.
Who can argue with the expert, who can argue with Aldi’s phenomenal growth? But their Calvinistic logic still sounds counter-intuitive somehow. Surely the way goods are merchandised on the shelves is important to customers at any time of the day and in whatever type of store they are?
In all walks of life visual presentation is key. A truly professional restaurateur, for instance, doesn’t just throw a meal on a plate, but tries to dress the food in an attractive way because he or she knows that the eye eats as well as the mouth. If you go on a date or apply for a new job, you put your best clothes on.
Of course, the experts would answer that Aldi’s Spartan ambience is deliberately planned in order to convey a no-frills, low-price message. But as Aldi has already proved with its Specialbuys that no-frills doesn’t have to mean no thrills, why not also show the world that non-food areas don’t have to look like a messy teenager’s bedroom? Unless, of course, Aldi is deliberately trying to create a serendipitous Aladdin’s cave effect, but surely here we are far away from a Costco warehouse club or even an off-price concept such as TK Maxx or TEDi?
Clothes maketh the man
And even if one accepts the premise that customers don’t care about presentation when it comes to low-priced food, can the same principle really apply to fashion?
Aldi has always been a pragmatist who learns from trial & error. Its operations have therefore been honed for decades to admirable efficiency, and, doubtless, constantly increasing sales figures will confirm to its all-powerful central controllers that it is doing far more right than wrong.
But, given the company’s obvious attempts to trade-up and woo the middle-class consumer, doesn’t the jumbled in-store photo shown here indicate that the merchandising of more sensitive products, such as clothing, still needs some optimisation?
Or, put in the military terms retail logistics people seem to so admire, has not the Overall Strategic Objective of cost blinded head office to the important tactical consideration of servicing its non-food spaces adequately? Click Here….