Institute for Simplicity

Consulting Based on the Principles of Simplicity

Mixed boxes: Discounters heading into the wrong direction

Artikel vom 07.10.2016

The discounters are extending their assortmentsand are bcoming more and more similar to traditional supermarkets. Only missing: service counters for meat and cheese. 

With their extensive Non Food Promotions they are rather looking like department stores than like grocery stores. 

Assortments in the case of ALDI not only growing by adding popular brands recently. Since several years already mixed boxes are added in all parts of the assortment. In the same box you may find for example jam with strawberry, raspberry and mixed fruits. All products have the same barcode and are therefor one single item from the point of view of the purchasers. For customers each flavor represents a different product (Complexity). So you find in the same box orange as well grapefruit juice, in another box Jogurts with strawberry as well as with mango and blueberry or cereals with honey as well as with dried fruits and so on. 

From different sources it is estimated that the assortment of ALDI carries between 1000 and 1200 products. Given the mixed boxes across the assortment, we believe there are rather 2500 items. 

Often it is impossible for the customer to find the type or flavor of the product he prefers or he has to collect his favorites from different boxes. 

Complexity carries on as the store manager has a difficult time reordering missing flavors while the shelves are still filled with boxes with less preferred products.  

ALDI in the past had been a role model for putting customers first. For many years, ALDI resisted the temptations of extending the assortment. Now, ALDI is moving away from their tradition and strengths.