German supermarket chains Aldi and Lidl have become an integral part of the British commercial landscape in recent years, but unfairly, many shoppers are put off by their low cost, no frills image.
However, It may surprise you to know, that their competitive prices are achieved, not by selling inferior products, but by savvy business practices and by realising a need for an alternative shopping experience, coupled with high quality, fairly priced products, whose business practices are not considered a threat to neighbouring small businesses.
ALDI CORPORATE FACTS
Aldi is a discount supermarket chain with 9,221 stores located worldwide, with the vast majority of them located in Germany, where there are 2,500 stores.
Since the company’s inception in 1913, it has amassed a net worth of 53 billion Euros.
Aldi’s official title is Aldi Einkauf GmbH & Co and it’s name comes from the first two letters of the words, ALbrecht Discount.
Aldi was founded in 1913 by brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht, in Essen, Germany, after they took over the running of a small grocery store originally owned and managed by their mother.
The company split in 1960, over a dispute as to whether their stores should sell cigarettes or not.
The stores then became known as Aldi Sud (south), which is brother Karl’s domain, with it’s headquarters situated in Mulheim an der Ruhr and Aldi Nord (north), which trades under the title Aldi Markt, which is brother Theo’s domain, with it’s headquarters situated in Essen.
After the reunification of Germany in 1990 both Aldi Markt and Aldi Sud gained rapid expansion in both Germany and the rest of the world.
Today, Aldi Markt, has stores in Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and northern Germany.
Aldi Sud has stores located in Austria, Australia, Republic of Ireland, Slovenia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and southern Germany.
ALDI U.K BUSINESS PRACTICES
Aldi came to the U.K in 1989 and today has 421 stores nationwide, which between them claim 3% of the U.K grocery market share . The stores in the U.K belong to the Aldi Sud corporation.
Aldi was, for many years, ridiculed as being a low class, inferior purveyor of food stuffs, but in recent years has come to be the grocery store of choice for many of Britain’s middle classes.
Today the store is better known for being a no frills, discount food store which sells quality, store brand groceries and fairtrade products along with regular Sunday and Thursday special buy promotions, sold on a ‘ once it’s gone it’s gone’ basis, which include electrical goods, clothing, homeware and garden lines. Their stores are also noted for their annual Christmas market range of seasonal foodstuffs, gifts and decorations.
Their stores are generally located in small town centres or near large housing estates for ease of access for those without cars.
All their stores provide accesible car parking and wide aisles for ease of access for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
Due to selling only own brand labels their stores are generally much smaller than their rivals, making them popular amongst those that dislike large supermarkets.
Aldi’s main money saving trait is using it’s own team of advertisers for marketing purposes, who only advertise through weekly newsletters, found instore or inserted into local press releases, although the company does use T.V advertising in the U.K and the U.S.A.
Their cashiers are particularly noted for being very fast on the check out, where they either memorise store prices or use bar codes.
Their stores are renowned for not using instore decoration, product price tags, using external advertising agencies, charging for carrier bags, although they do provide empty cardboard boxes for shoppers, and for providing coin issued trolleys.
In the U.K their stores do not provide home deliveries or sell cigarettes or newspapers, but do sell alcohol.
Aldi stores only accept cash payments or Delta, Electron, and Solo debit card payments in England, but do allow MasterCard and Visa credit card payments in their Scotland and Wales stores.
Their stores also offer a full money back guarantee on all food items and a sixty day refund policy on special buys.
The Aldi logo is, Spend a little – Live a lot.
Aldi’s U.K headquarters are based at –
Aldi Stores UK
ALDI U.K WEBSITE
The Aldi U.K website can be found at - aldi.com.
The AldiUK website is considered a safe site which does not harbour any malicious spyware or infections which could compromise customer use. You can visit the Aldi website’s, Google safe browsing report, by visiting - google.com/safebrowsing/www.aldi.co.uk
The Aldi UK website provides a large supply of store specials, access to their online newsletter and mobile app services, several competitions, a store locater, store opening hours, a careers page and an email Contact Us link.
The Aldi website has 119,978 Likes on Facebook.You can find their Facebook page by visiting - facebook.com/AldiUK
The Aldi website has 339 followers on Twitter. You can find their Twitter page by visiting - twitter.com/Aldi_StoresUK
Aldi also has a YouTube page. You can find their YouTube page by visiting - www.youtube.com/user/AldiUK
ALDI UK CUSTOMER SERVICE
Aldi provides customer service representatives in all their stores, as well as a customer service e-mail link on their website.
Like all major supermarket chains, Aldi has it’s fair share of both positive and negative customer feedback. To check out a selection of independent, Aldi, customer reviews, visit - www.reviewcentre.com/reviews
You may also be interested in reading this review from the British, Institute of Customer Service - www.instituteofcustomerservice.com/How-Aldis-service-shines-in-difficult-economic-times.
LIDL CORPORATE FACTS
Lidl is a discount supermarket chain with 10,000 stores located Europe wide, with the vast majority of them located in Germany where there are 3,300 stores. Since the company’s inception in 1930, it has amassed a net worth of 59 billion Euros.
Lidl’s official title is Lidl Stiftung and is owned by parent company Schwartz Gruppe, who also own and operate an online photography service, the Silvercrest electronics company, the Kaufland hypermarkets chain and the German wholesale giant, Handelshof.
The company was founded in 1930 by Josef Schwarz, in Neckarsulm, Germany, where it was then known as Schwartz Assorted Wholesale Foods.
The company did not become known as Lidl until 1973, after Dieter Schwartz, son of Josef, wanted to rename the business Schwartz Markt, but was unable to due to the German translation meaning black market. He therefore asked business partner, Ludwig Lidl, if he could buy and subsequently use his name as their new brand name, which he went on to do for just one thousand German Marks.
It was also in 1973 that Lidl stores went international, buying into the home markets of twenty other European countries.
LIDL U.K BUSINESS PRACTICES
Lidl came to the United Kingdom in 1994 and today has 580 stores located nationwide, which between them claim 5% of the U.K grocery market share.
Their premises are noted for being located in small town centres or near large housing estates, for ease of access for those who do not own cars. Their store premises are also much smaller than their British supermarket rivals, which mean they are particularly popular amogst those who dislike large supermarkets.
Lidl are considered a no frills, discount grocers which were originally ridiculed as being a low class purveyor of inferior foodstuffs, only frequented by Britain’s lowest wage earners, although Lidl actually supply many continental gourmet food stuffs in their stores, as well as branded products, faitrade products and locally sourced foods from the countries where their stores are located.
Their stores also sell quality electrical goods, gardening equipment, home wares and a small range of clothing.
Their stores are renowned for charging for carrier bags, selling branded products, alcohol and newspapers, but not selling cigarettes.
Lidl provide coin operated shopping trolleys, do not use product price tags on their goods or instore decorations, nor do they provide home delivery.
Lidl have several strategic store policies in place, including never moving products once in place, to avoid customer confusion, wide aisles for easy wheelchair and pushchair access and large bay car parks.
Lidl do not accept credit card payments, but do accept Laser, MasterCard, Maestro and Visa debit cards, as well as cash payments.
The company also offer a full money back guarantee on all returns.
Unlike Aldi, Lidl do indulge in aggressive advertising practices, where they use the extensive marketing services of both local and national press, T.V, radio and instore advertising in the form of several, selected weekly offers.
Lidl’s also save money by using minimal staffing numbers in their stores and warehouses.
Lidl’s U.K headquarters are based at –
LIDL UK WEBSITE
The Lidl website can be found by visiting - www.lidl-info.com
The Lidl UK website is considered a safe site which does not harbour any malicious spyware or infections, whichcould compromise customer use. You can read the company’s, Google safe browsing report, by visiting - google.com/safebrowsing/www.lidl.co.uk
The Lidl UK website is very informative with a large range of special offers and product pages, a newsletter and iPhone app service links, a range of corporate and legal informational pages, a store locater, store opening times and a page of regional head office details, complete with email links. The website also includes an extensive careers section.
The Lidl UK website has 241,010 Likes on Facebook. You can find their Facebook page by visiting - www.facebook.com/lidluk
Lidl UK also has a YouTube page. You can find their YouTube page by visiting - www.youtube.com/lidl
LIDL UK CUSTOMER SERVICE
Lidl provides their customers with both an online customer service e-mail link and a customer service hotline. 0870 444 1234.
Like all major supermarket chains, Lidl has it’s fair share of both positive and negative customer feedback. To check out a selection of independent, Lidl, customer reviews, visit - www.reviewcentre.com/reviews
You may also be interested in reading what the British, Independent newspaper has to say about the customer provider services of Aldi and Lidl.- www.independent.co.uk/aldi-and-lidl-top-customer-satisfaction-survey
ON A PERSONAL NOTE
On the up side - I found both the Aldi and Lidl stores to be clean, quiet and uncluttered. Both supplied quality products, although supply was limited. I have found it necessary to complain about goods at least once at both stores, but both times my complaint was dealt with swiftly and a full refund, with no questions asked, was given.
I found both their websites easy to navigate and full of relevent information.
On the down side - I found their car parks small, having to pay for carrier bags irritating and the lack of staff, other than checkout operatives, slightly annoying.
As a person with limited height, just five foot nothing, I also found their deep trollies quite problematic when unpacking goods onto the conveyor belt.