Why are Aldi’s specials so darn strange? 14



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For the increasing number of Aldi shoppers around Australia, it’s a source of genuine entertainment twice a week: what strange thing will Aldi advertise next?

Their “special buys” are unpredictable to say the least. From the practical (bicycles, TVs, furniture) to the niche (violins, trumpets, boxing gloves) to the just plain weird (traffic cones, marine safety kits).

But how did this start? But what’s in it for them?

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, this weirdness dates all the way back to the 1940s. With the German populations extremely poor after World War II, Aldi’s founders created an outlet for cheap food. In the process, they used their grocery store space to offload random excess furniture and household goods – and over time, they found that shoppers were coming more and more just for these seemingly-random bargains.

Retail Analyst Brian Walker told SMH that Aldi values these as a “social talking point” – a way to get us mentioning the supermarket naturally in conversation, beyond the reach of normal advertising.

Who among us hasn’t spoken with friends about a strange item on special this week, or bragged about a bargain? It breaks the tedium of shopping for us, and in turn, we wind up advertising them through word of mouth.

“They’ve really picked up on some strong elements in the consumer psyche,” said Mr Walker, “and one is to challenge the boundaries of what we expect supermarkets to be and do.”

Mr Walker said that this free marketing would be just as valuable to Aldi as any actual profits from the products themselves.

But where do they come from, and how are they chosen?

Mr Walker said that many of these “special buys” – true to their origins more than 60 years ago – were unwanted stock that somebody in the world had to get rid of.

“They’ve got specialist buyers and they’ll go to auctions houses, clearance houses, they’ll see end-of-season sales, liquidation sales – they’ll have feeder buyers through all sorts of markets,” he said.

Given that we’re talking about it right now, we’re inclined to believe Aldi’s strategy is very successful indeed!

Are you an Aldi shopper? What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen on sale? And has the “special buys” spell worked its magic on you?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. It took me a long time to become a Aldi shopper. I am now for 90 percent of my shopping. I love their specials. Some don’t last long. But they are very good with their warranties
    Would like clearer marking on the food for the origins. If in doubt I leave it out

  2. never been to their stores. never will until they allow australians to by shares dont pay tax send profits to germany . wake up australia support your local shops .

    6 REPLY
    • Dear J Parker
      How many retailers are all Australian now? I support my husband( who works hard for his money) by saving on my shopping to make his wage stretch.

    • Aldi pay better than any of the other supermarkets chains. And they have permanent part & full time staff who get sick and holiday pay. You may have noticed that their checkout staff sit down. All the supermarkets in Europe do this. When you think about it……why do the others have to stand all day? There is no logical reason for it.

    • It’s already been shown that Aldi DO pay taxes in Australia plus they source much of their produce from Australia and also local to the store as well. Did you know they donate quite a lot of their good unused stock to charity? Fruit and vegetables that are no longer able to be used are donated to local farmers also. I never used to be an Aldi shopper but have changed entirely. The staff are always neat and tidy and I’ve never heard one complain about work or stand around doing nothing like some other supermarkets. A very professional company and I’ll remain an Aldi customer thanks to the savings I make each week. Well done Aldi.

    • J Parker . Note that Aldi unlike many other multi nationals operating in Australia pays a reasonable amount of tax on profits made in Australia. They also source much of their stock from Australia. I have personally been able to purchase some Australian grown fruit and foodstuffs in Aldi when both Coles and Woolworths were stocking only imported or made in Australia from local and imported products equivalent.

  3. Some of Aldi’s stores in Germany are 5 or 6 storey and they sell everything you can think of. My sister in law in Germany never shops anywhere else.

  4. Just love shopping and saving at Aldi,so much of their fruit and veg is grown in Australia,the staff love working for them so that says a lot.
    We are a small country town and we consider ourselves very lucky to have them here.
    Bought an iron from Aldi few years ago and have to say it’s the best iron I have ever owned,I love it,also an electric kettle and it is also, one of the best we have ever had .
    So go Aldi ,keep up the good work.
    A very happy customer.

  5. We don’t shop at Aldi, but this week my husband bought a garden trimmer on special. We will see how it goes!

  6. I bought my granddaughter a guitar for her seventh birthday for 49 dollars. She has now been having guitar lessons on it for the past three years and has done really well. I never expected it to be such good value. Love Aldi.

  7. I love shopping at Aldi. I’m always interested in their specials! I’ve purchased frying pans, saucepans, children’s books, toys and many other items that are not traditional grocery items. They have the best range of gluten free products.

  8. The buyers at Aldi have a good nose for products that sell, and are not afraid to try something new. I was using that principal in the 90s and early 2000s and it definitely works. People would come in weekly to see what was on offer – keep going Aldi you are on a winner.

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