Aldi will expand a grocery delivery service and test a new curbside pickup program, Aldi CEO Jason Hart told Business Insider.
The announcement, made last month, comes in the midst of a massive expansion for the German supermarket chain. As it expands its physical presence in the United States, Aldi will also be seeking to catch up with more established grocers in e-commerce services such as grocery pickup and delivery.
Aldi, which plans to have 2,500 storefronts in the United States by 2022, began delivering groceries last year in select urban markets through a partnership with Instacart. It will soon expand that service to all stores.
“The initial results [of the delivery program] have been overwhelmingly positive,” Hart told Business Insider.
Customers who utilize curbside pickup order their products online or through an app. Employees at the store shop for the customer, readying the items to be picked up at the nearest participating store location the same day. Store employees even load the groceries into customer vehicles.
The growth of delivery and curbside services among supermarket competitors has put pressure on all grocers to update their consumer services.
The Food Marketing Institute estimates consumers may be spending $100 billion annually in online grocery purchases by 2022. By then, as much as 70 percent of U.S. consumers could be regularly buying groceries online.
Walmart currently offers grocery pickup at 1,200 locations. The retail giant has announced a plan to add 1,000 more pickup locations and expand grocery delivery services to 100 metro areas by the end of the year.
Kroger and Amazon are building their e-commerce presence, as well. Last month, Kroger announced its plan to expand delivery to 1,600 stores, a move that would grow its market reach by 50 percent. Amazon announced on Wednesday, Sept. 12, that it will expand the number of Whole Foods stores that deliver. The service will now cover 38 cities.
A relatively new name for many American shoppers, Aldi has become a favorite among supermarket chains. Market Force Information surveyed 13,000 consumers and found Aldi to be the “Value Leader” for the eighth year in a row. Aldi also currently holds the No. 4 slot in America’s Favorite Grocery Stores and was named “2018 Retailer of the Year” by Supermarket News.
Aldi’s $3.4 billion expansion to 2,500 stores would make it the third largest grocery chain in the United States in terms of store count. Besides expanding storefronts, it is also updating its old buildings. Aldi plans to remodel 1,300 stores by the end of 2020.
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