Aldi is set to become the third-largest grocer in the U.S., behind only Walmart and Kroger. The chain is approaching 2,200 stores by the end of 2022.
Ask any Aldi fan, and they will give you a million reasons why they love the store – the company has achieved that desirable “cult status” in just the last decade. Why is this? Why is Aldi so successful when there are certainly larger chains with billions more in profit each year? I have an overview just below!
Why Is Aldi So Successful In 2023?
The German grocery chain Aldi has attained a high level of success by sticking close to the company’s original values as of 2023. The original model was a no-frills shopping experience at a steep discount for food essentials. That still holds today, and so much of what makes Aldi successful in the 2020s is indebted to that philosophy.
Let’s look more in-depth at 11 reasons why Aldi is so successful!
1. Ultra-Low Prices
First on this list, and certainly first in many customers’ hearts, is Aldi’s commitment to the lowest prices possible.
With that, it’s incredibly rare to find a grocer under-price Aldi, and when they do, it tends to be a wholesale warehouse company like Costco, where you have to buy in bulk.
The business model of cutting the frills (no in-store services, fewer employees, even training customers to bring back their own carts) makes Aldi prices possible.
2. Surprising Selection
Despite only carrying around 1,400 items (in comparison, Walmart has hundreds of thousands of items), Aldi’s selection is surprisingly good.
In addition to your kitchen and pantry staples, Aldi carries an increasing number of organic, gluten-free, and vegetarian/vegan products.
Also, Aldi Finds are an incredible source of joy for customers, which are special ticket “grab ‘em or miss ‘em” items that get rotated out weekly and make every visit feel like a treasure hunt.
3. International Presence
While Aldi operates 2,100+ stores in the U.S., the company’s international footprint is more like 6,800+.
Therefore, that kind of worldwide success gives Aldi way more leverage to bargain into better deals on bulk purchases, from which the customers then benefit.
4. Smaller Stores
The smaller size of Aldi stores helps the company keep utilities low and offers customers a preferable alternative to Big Box retailers.
For example, rather than having to walk what feels like three miles to get paper towels in the back of Walmart, it’s a much shorter distance from the entrance to paper supplies at Aldi.
When I’m in a hurry for something, I’ll choose Aldi’s compact layout every time.
5. Instacart Convenience
Aldi has been partnered with Instacart since 2018, but the partnership really expanded with the onset of the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic.
During that time, getting affordable groceries from Aldi either through contactless pickup or delivery was an essential part of many households’ safety measures.
Still, even after the immediate danger of the pandemic passed, many customers realized how convenient the service was and kept it.
6. Sitting Cashiers
There is this weird notion among some that sitting is lazy, but at Aldi, having the cashiers sit is based on science.
That said, Aldi found that its seated cashiers could actually scan faster, and since faster scanning leads to a more efficient store all around, the chairs will remain exactly where they are.
7. Generous Returns Policy
First off, Aldi runs a “Twice as Nice” guarantee, so if you’re unhappy with an item for any reason, you can bring it back, get a refund and get a replacement.
Therefore, making returns at Aldi is hassle-free, and you can get a refund in minutes!
8. Location, Location, Location
You might not have noticed, but Aldi is incredibly strategic about where it places stores.
For example, check out this Property Requirements page on the website, where Aldi lays out the stipulations necessary to interest the company in building up a store.
Further, none of the Aldi locations are by accident, and the company will only choose a tried-and-true retail location.
9. Strategic Advertising
Unlike most other grocery stores, Aldi doesn’t waste money on a lot of advertising.
Rather than expend the money on media buys (which would then drive up prices), Aldi maintains owned media, like its website and social media.
Also, Aldi has found an American audience that embraces them and wants to know everything about them, with numerous websites, blogs, and message board threads devoted to them.
10. Wide Appeal
In recent years, Aldi has been shedding that “dingy, off-brand” persona and is targeting wealthier customers.
While keeping its prices so incredibly low, Aldi shows an incredible range in the limited selection, with poke bowls, specialty gelatos, premium cheeses, etc.
Additionally, EBT/SNAP recipients can feel comfortable getting the biggest bang for their buck at Aldi while upper-middle-class moms scoop up gorgeous house plants and fine bedding.
11. Amazing Quality
Of course, none of this matters if the quality of Aldi’s items isn’t there.
Thankfully, the vast majority of Aldi’s food and merchandise is just as good as, if not better than, the big name brands.
Aldi’s success is not luck or fate; it’s the consequence of a unique and effective business model that drives down operational costs, with savings the company can pass on to its customers.