Aldi's 'special' plan for online shopping

Aldi has revealed future plans to start selling some of its items online to customers in Australia.

Chief executive Tom Daunt said it was an inevitable growth area for the discount supermarket giant, and would likely move to start selling alcohol and its Special Buys products online, rather than its full range.

He didn't however reveal the timeline for when customers could expect to access the service.

“We are likely to start with something more exciting like wine or Special Buys online before we would entertain a full grocery offer,” Mr Daunt told News Corp.

A woman wearing yellow walks past an ALDI supermarket.
Aldi plans to offer Special Buys and alcohol online in the future. Source: Getty

The CEO added Covid-19 had accelerated the online grocery market and Aldi had been watching the space in Australia for some time.

Aldi to open 20 more stores

“Our Special Buys allow us to participate in every category you could imagine across the retail market," he added.

Mr Daunt also revealed plans to open 20 more Aldi stores across Victoria, NSW, Western Australia and South Australia this year.

Aldi told Yahoo News Australia in a statement it was inevitable eCommerce would become part of ALDI's future.

"Everything we do, we do with our 'Good Different' approach to business, so as we look at how we bring this to ALDI shoppers, we'll ensure this doesn't compromise our ability to give customers exceptional value on high quality items," a spokesperson said.

The online challenges Aldi faces

Aldi's announcement comes after retail expert at the Queensland University of Technology, Gary Mortimer, told Yahoo News Australia the discount supermarket would benefit from selling Special Buys online rather than groceries.

The retail expert said with the low percentage of Australians actually buying their groceries online, the juice was likely not worth the squeeze.

"It's a lot of capital investment into infrastructure and online capabilities to chase about five per cent of the online market," he said.

"If Aldi were to go online it would literally be starting from scratch. While they do have the money to do that, it's never been part of their model."

A man picks up a grocery item while shopping in ALDI and carrying a basket.
Aldi has no plans to offer groceries online as yet. Source: Getty

Professor Mortimer said the Special Buys items could be delivered from a central distribution centre rather than in store and that would help ensure the low price of products.

"That rocking chair or ski gloves could be sold online and that merchandise could be sent out using a third party like Australia Post or Toll. Distributing and moving food however is more challenging because they are perishables," he said.

Professor Mortimer added there were however challenges when offering products online, and Aldi could miss out on impulse purchases when customers come in store for Special Buys.

Aldi told Yahoo News Australia earlier this month it would consider an online service if they could do so without compromising the price of products.

It said its commitment was to the consistency of price, product and experience for customers.

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