Aldi is set to open a checkout-free store in London. Customers will need to scan an app to enter the store but when inside can continue to shop as usual before leaving without ever needing to visit a checkout. The customers will then be emailed the receipt and automatically charged. At the moment the store is being tested by Aldi staff but will be opened for the public in the future.
Giles Hurley, chief executive for Aldi UK and Ireland, said: “We are always looking to redefine what it means to be a discount retailer, and the technology involved in this trial will give us a wealth of learnings.”
“This move from Aldi comes as the discount retailer is increasingly experimenting with new concepts and channels in an attempt to get an edge in the competitive discounter market. Last year the retailer launched click-and-collect services as well as a delivery partnership with Deliveroo. At the same time, the buzz around checkout-less stores has never been greater as Amazon continues the steady roll-out of its Amazon Fresh stores across the capital and Tesco and Morrisons plan their own.
The timing for these kinds of stores is ideal as the pandemic continues to affect consumer behaviour, with shoppers keen to spend as little time in-store as possible, Mintel’s most recent COVID-19 Tracker reveals that 31% of shoppers are still trying to limit the time they spend inside shops.
In Mintel’s upcoming Food and Non-Food Discounters - UK, 2021 report we note that although discount shoppers are generally satisfied with the discounter they spend the most at, almost a third (31%) said they were either on the fence or not satisfied with the customer service. It’s good news for Aldi's new concept store, in the same report, 41% of consumers said that they would be willing to pay for their shopping via a discounter’s app. This rises to 54% of those in the London area, a key battleground for Aldi and Lidl.
If the Aldi trial is successful, the new stores could help improve the customer experience, making queues move more quickly and enabling staff to focus instead on the shop floor and customer service. Both of the German discounters have set their sights on London in recent years and Aldi’s checkout-free store may prove decisive in helping Aldi win new customers, and market share, in the convenience-focused city.”