Personalisation And Putting The Customer At The Heart Of Retail Future Strategy

A great deal of thought goes into designing a fantastic retail experience: store design, location, and a clear focus on omnichannel, all designed to deliver an online and in-store blended experience, add to this personalisation and the use of data to create insight into customer preferences - it can get really complex for both Customer and the Business;

But sometimes, it’s the really simple thoughts that count.

It was Mother’s Day here in the UK earlier this year. For many people this is a happy and celebratory day when they can treat their mother to a nice lunch, flowers, or some thoughtful gifts. It’s a chance to say thank you. But for some people it can be a very difficult day. If you had a difficult relationship with your mother, or she recently passed away, then the endless bombardment of images of happy families can be upsetting.

Several of the key retailers, including Aldi, have offered their shoppers the option to opt out of any Mother’s Day marketing. This is a very simple idea, but it can really make the world of difference to a customer that dislikes Mother’s Day - for whatever reason.

Aldi has a record of these simple, but insightful ideas. They also put a lot of thought into seasonal price sensitive products that sets them apart from many competitors. In addition to the famous ‘middle aisle’ there are targeted limited edition products such as small batch flavoured gin and other spirits designed especially for the season. As you might expect, all these products are only available while stocks last, which adds to their appeal.

This means that you never quite know what might be available when visiting Aldi - there are always a number of surprising bargains offering a marked difference to the consistency of many other supermarkets. Recently the brand has been praised for products as diverse as a new range of dog treats, garden furniture and even a hot tub.

Their social media has become known for not only promoting the brand, but for its humour, and not being afraid to poke fun at themselves. This style of loving life and not taking themselves too seriously has increased brand awareness and followers, and created new interest in key products.

Value is what really counts though right now. With inflation accelerating and the cost of living getting more difficult to manage for many shoppers, it’s great to see that Aldi offers their own version of many big name products at a fraction of the regular price. There are also many food writers constantly creating new recipes that can feed an entire family using just a few pounds worth of ingredients from Aldi.

Some shoppers don’t even think about the supermarket they use, they just use the nearest one, but when a supermarket uses both products and culture to differentiate what they offer they are creating a destination store.

An Aldi visit is a destination choice for many, because you don’t know which limited range items will be available - it’s a more interesting and exciting experience than most supermarket visits. This approach, to holding customers interests during the lockdowns, has now continued in the transition back to normality. It will be interesting to observe where they take the new normal, and how the other big chains react.

Let me know what you think about supermarket differentiation and how Aldi uses their culture to appeal to customers. Get in touch directly on my LinkedIn.