Discount store environments are generally uninviting and cold, leading many consumers to perceive low cost shopping as a real chore. Our key challenge was to upgrade the ALDI store environment, hero the quality of the products and encourage customers to shop across the whole store, whilst respecting the brand’s positioning as a low-cost budget option.
At the outset of ’Project Fresh’, consumers not already familiar with the brand were reluctant to shop ALDI. Those that were already ALDI customers would mainly purchase staples but did not really trust the brand for fresh food or a full weekly shop. The reality is that ALDI food quality is brilliant and wins awards globally every day. The new store design is aimed at celebrating and conveying product quality, whilst offering a pleasant environment for customers.
A palette of low cost yet real materials such as concrete, plywood, OSB and rough sawn timbers adds to the perception of freshness throughout the store. Planning has been completely rethought, with certain categories articulated for greater consistency, and key products placed at the entry of each aisle alongside key messaging to appeal and drive shoppers. Key departments developed were produce, bakery, alcohol, and health and beauty. As the average ALDI staff includes only 12 multi-tasked team members, staff operations were also carefully considered. For example, the new store layout places the most labour-intensive areas close to the storage for quicker store maintenance.
A new LED lighting system has been incorporated into the new design format to reduce glare and running costs whilst improving ambience and color rendering. The lighting was designed to create a pleasant atmosphere and let the product speak, enhancing its colour, texture and freshness. Energy saving LED has also been incorporated in the fridges and in the wine displays.
In tandem with the interiors, a series of messages and graphic illustrations have been designed to upgrade ALDI’s overall brand image whilst maintaining their friendly, approachable and witty tone of voice. The core messages to reinforce were: great value at low prices, quality and freshness. Approximately 200 messaging boards were developed to communicate the brand ethos, product freshness, local sourcing, sustainable fishing and award-winning products. All signage and ticketing were removed from the ceiling and replaced with category signage around the store perimeter to offer greater visibility across the store and thus encourage cross-store shopping.
Whilst most discount brands ‘shout’ with marketing, pricing, bright colors and products in bulk to say ‘Value’, this new ALDI concept goes against the grain. The environment is moody, warm and modern, creating a pleasant and immersive customer journey. No more noisy marketing; instead, simple, hand written, illustrated signage to underline with a smile ALDI quality choice.
This concept has reinvented the discount category, offering a pleasant, food friendly, and fun experience to its customers. Shopper’s reactions are priceless, with hundreds of customers queuing for hours and legions of food and wine snobs converted, now proud to shop ALDI.
The project has been hailed the “world’s best practice for and by ALDI”, is exceeding all predetermined financial targets, and is currently being implemented across the entire chain in a very aggressive timeframe.
Photography by Trevor Mein & Ross Honeysett.