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Aldi tests ecommerce platform, aims to create new delivery service

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Dive Brief:

  • Aldi is developing an online grocery platform that will offer pickup and delivery service in as little as an hour across the supermarket chain’s U.S. footprint, according to Boris Lokschin, CEO of Spryker, a German e-commerce technology company that is working with Aldi on the joint project. 
  • Aldi and Spryker are currently testing the service with an unspecified number of shoppers and plan to eventually make it available nationwide, the companies said in a Tuesday press release.
  • The project is moving ahead as Aldi looks to highlight its focus on low prices amid persistent grocery inflation and concerns that a recession may be on the horizon.

Dive Insight:

Aldi and Spryker provided few details about the platform, which they described in the press release as a “new online food & grocery shopping experience.” But the e-commerce service the companies are working on together represents a clear departure from Aldi’s traditional dependence on Instacart to manage its online grocery operations.

Aldi’s own employees are fulfilling click-and-collect orders that come in through the new service, while Instacart workers are handling delivery orders shoppers place on the platform, Lokschin said in an emailed response to questions sent by Grocery Dive.

By contrast, Aldi has for years entirely outsourced all of its online grocery services to Instacart, which provides inbound order handling as well as labor to fulfill those orders regardless of the fulfillment channel shoppers choose. According to its website, Aldi currently offers curbside pickup in partnership with Instacart at almost 700 of its approximately 2,000 stores in 38 states. In addition, shoppers can place orders for delivery at about 95% of Aldi’s U.S. locations. 

Aldi provides information about products it carries in its store on its own website, but does not allow shoppers to order items. The site also does not provide prices, instead directing shoppers to stores to obtain that information.

“The platform is being tested with a select group of customers in regions all across the country and will roll out to all shoppers in a phased approach,” Lokschin said. However, he declined to say how many shoppers are participating in the test of the new service or indicate when the platform is expected to be available to a broader group of customers.

Aldi suggested in the press release that it is looking to the new platform to help shoppers save money. “Our partnership with Spryker will allow our shoppers another way to access the incredible value they expect from ALDI,” Scott Patton, Aldi’s vice president of national buying, said in a statement.

However, the companies also did not share details about fees for the service or indicate whether shoppers who use it have access to the same prices Aldi charges in its stores. “Most items are available on the new website but assortment and pricing can vary by geographic region,” Lokschin said.

In September, data analysis firm dunnhumby ranked Aldi second among 69 grocers in terms of their relevance with shoppers amid record-high inflation. Meanwhile, Aldi announced earlier this month that it would be cutting prices on “dozens of top-selling items.”

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