Aldi planning online retail site in UK, says report

Aldi is preparing to enter online grocery retailing for the first time – and its target is the established UK eCommerce market, according to reports in Germany.

The Lebensmittel Zeitung publication suggested the supermarket group has hired experienced online professionals and consultants to help shape the strategy, and it said the company is planning a large-scale trial of the service.

Having disrupted the traditional grocery store market in the UK in recent years, along with fellow discounter Lidl, the apparent move into the digital space would give the company a further opportunity to seize market share from the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons.

Lebensmittel Zeitung's article suggests that Aldi sees the more developed UK market as a more suitable testing ground for eCommerce than its home country Germany.

Daniel Lucht, research director at retail industry analyst firm Research Farm, told Essential Retail: "For now this is only a trial, however should Aldi decide to really venture into online grocery retailing in future, perhaps with a dedicated click & collect offer, then this would have the potential to change the dynamics of the entire industry.

"At the moment online grocery is one of the defensive tactics other retailers utilise against the discounter threat. Once both Aldi and Lidl add the online channel to their overall proposition and tap into latent demand, all bets are off in terms of where their market share could go."

No plans have been confirmed by Aldi and it is unclear which geographies the grocer would target with the reported online operation, but Lucht sees significant potential if the move does go ahead.

He commented: "Remember there are still many areas of the UK underserved by Aldi and Lidl, there are still many shoppers without easy access to a hard discounter, through an online home delivery offer (if this is where Aldi is going) shopper reach could become truly national."

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Research Farm