Customer contact & service quality

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[GRI 417/103-1] The trust of our customers is our most valuable asset. That is why we listen carefully to what they want. For more than 100 years, we have consistently and systematically tailored our products and services towards the demands of our customers. If these demands change, we evolve – by expanding our product range, modernising our stores and even taking a new approach to how we communicate with customers. But one thing remains the same: we offer high quality at the low ALDI prices people have come to expect.

Our approach

[GRI 417/103-2] Our measures are aimed at offering our customers an appealing shopping experience. Shopping at ALDI North should always be something special – “Every day a special one” – and communication plays a key role in making it just that. To achieve this goal, we are giving our stores and our approach to how we communicate with customers a complete makeover. For example, we invite our customers in many countries to celebrate new store openings with product tastings or cooking events. In our redesigned stores, we provide orientation, create inspiration and communicate directly and humorously with our customers.

Our range of sustainably certified products plays an important role in all communication measures – in stores, in the customer magazine ALDI aktuell, online or in TV and radio advertising. As part of the extensive modernisation of our stores, we continue to expand our sustainability-related communication. In our advertising campaigns, we draw attention to our expanded organic product range and our growing selection of fresh fruit and vegetables. Since 2016, we have significantly expanded our advertising activities in cooperation with the ALDI SOUTH Group. We make use of TV and radio campaigns as well as print advertising. Increasingly, social media communication plays a major role.

Our customers’ needs are also at the centre of our services. We are always available for them, and we have set ourselves the goal of answering every enquiry within a very short period of time. For a number of years now, our ALDI app has provided a convenient shopping helper for mobile phones in all countries in which the ALDI North Group operates. Traditionally, our customers have been able to rely on the “ALDI Guarantee”, our fair and tolerant returns and exchange policy.

Organisation & guidelines

[GRI 417/103-2] Our customer communication efforts are coordinated by various departments depending on the topic and reason. Along with Marketing and Corporate Communication, Sales and in-store employees are involved in our efforts. Within ALDI Buying, the Marketing department, Sales and Corporate Communication are each led by a dedicated managing director. Separate departments or managers are also responsible for these activities in the ALDI North Group countries.

We always act in compliance with our values when communicating with our customers and use simple, clear and understandable language and imagery.

Progress and measures in 2017

[GRI 417/103-2]

Customer communication as part of store openings

The ALDI North Group’s stores are currently undergoing renovation and modernisation as part of our efforts to implement the new ALDI Nord Instore Konzept design programme. We take the opportunity provided by post-renovation store openings to foster direct contact with our customers. In Germany, we reward our customers’ patience during the remodelling phase with special offers such as fresh waffles, gift cards or fruit and vegetable baskets. Other countries also make use of a wide range of campaigns. In Poland, for example, new store openings feature a children’s entertainer and music for adult guests. In the Netherlands, food trucks visit stores to provide food and drink for customers.

Communication expanded across all channels

We expanded our advertising activities significantly in many countries in which the ALDI North Group operates in the period under review. In Germany, for example, the new freshness campaign, which highlights the wide range of fresh products, debuted in September 2017. In the Netherlands, the six-week Verantwoord en voordelig (“Responsible and beneficial” or “Responsible and affordable”) focused on sustainable products.

Our weekly customer magazine ALDI aktuell remains our key customer communication channel. In 2017, the magazine was given a fresh new look. Prior to the facelift, we entered into a multistage research process to identify our customers’ needs and expectations in relation to our magazine, which we took into account while making the changes.

The German website also received a comprehensive overhaul in 2017. The updated, innovative structure of the website now makes it even easier for visitors to find detailed descriptions of items, the latest special offers or information about our products’ sustainability. In early 2018, ALDI Netherlands started using the new format for its website. The ALDI Denmark, ALDI Poland and ALDI Portugal websites are scheduled to be relaunched soon, with further countries to follow. The ALDI Spain website was overhauled in 2015. In Spain, we started using Instagram to communicate and intensified our use of Facebook and Twitter in the period under review.

Customer dialogue: knowing about customers’ needs

The only way for us to tailor our products and services to our customers’ needs and expectations is to know them. That is why we actively seek our customers’ opinions on certain topics on an ad hoc basis through customer surveys. In 2017, for example, we held a customer panel to support our materiality analysis. The key finding was that sustainability is personally important or very important to more than 80 per cent of the customers we surveyed. As part of the modernisation of our stores, we also asked customers on location for their thoughts on the visual facelift. These findings were continuously worked into the further development of the ANIKo store concept. In Spain, we regularly use studies to gauge how people perceive our brand. Since late 2016, Contigo ALDI has been offering customers in Spain an additional online service that has been very well received. Stores in France have been subject to visits and assessments since 2017 as part of a project in cooperation with the market research institute TNS. This measure will be intensified in 2018.

Targets and status

[GRI 417/103-2/3] In the German retail sector, we have the highest customer reach in the ALDI North sales region. In 2017, 82 out of 100 households shopped at our stores at least once. According to the market research company GfK, we increased our reach by roughly 200,000 households among younger customers under 29 years of age in Germany in 2017 – a rise of around 15 per cent compared to the previous year. In Belgium, 80 per cent of consumers also shop at our stores at least once a year (as of late 2016). According to Kantar Worldpanel, an international market research company, ALDI France came in first among retailers with regard to the number of items purchased per trip in 2017 (bricks-and-mortar retail).

Together with the introduction of new customer services, ALDI Spain has defined key performance indicators for customer satisfaction, which it monitors on an ongoing basis. The latest findings reveal that 95 per cent of those making enquiries have a positive opinion of the customer service.

Various awards show us that we are on the right track when it comes to our development. In the period under review, for example, Kundenmonitor Deutschland found that we offered the best value for money. Customers in Germany also found us to be the most family-friendly company. In Spain, our customer communication came in second in the category “Building a Brand” at the Commercial Effectiveness Awards 2017 . In 2017, the industry publication “Rayon Boisson” awarded ALDI France the Liège d’Or (“Golden cork”) for the evolution of the range of wines, which now more than ever meet customer expectations in terms of selection, price and transparency, thanks to “Simplement bon et bio” organic wines or wines with a controlled designation of origin, for example.

Performance indicators

Customer magazine circulation

Customer magazine circulation (annual average) by magazine

  2015 2016 2017
  Total ALDI aktuell ALDI Reisen Other1 Total ALDI aktuell ALDI Reisen Other1 Total ALDI aktuell ALDI Reisen Other1
Belgium/Luxembourg2 4,654,528 4,654,528 4,677,350
4,677,350
4,650,273 4,650,273
Denmark 1,625,739 1,525,639 100,100 1,424,122 1,324,122
100,000
1,320,458 1,320,458
Germany 43,869,605 22,525,573 1,378,658 19,965,374 44,990,008
22,357,251
1,356,737
21,276,020
45,539,205 22,210,748 1,335,392 21,993,065
France 9,067,031 9,067,031 8,983,799
8,983,799
9,034,767 9,034,767
Netherlands 7,346,736 5,400,000 1,946,736 8,568,511
5,028,372
3,540,139
15,330,870 4,998,835 10,332,035
Poland 2,266,180 1,794,060 472,120 1,945,500
1,945,500
2,216,535 2,216,535
Portugal 441,760 441,760 454,428
454,428
530,807 530,807
Spain 2,789,251 1,081,901 1,707,350 3,045,274
987,274
2,058,000
2,281,478 511,853 1,769,625
ALDI North Group 72,060,830 46,490,492 1,378,658 24,191,680 74,088,992
45,758,096
1,356,737
26,974,159
80,904,393 45,474,276 1,335,392 34,094,725

1 This category includes themed publications, such as gourmet, wine and Christmas magazines, as well as special publications such as store opening magazines.
2 The information regarding the legally independent companies of the ALDI North Group in Belgium and Luxembourg has been combined for the purposes of a simplified presentation (refer to “Subject of the report”).

Customer magazine tonnage

Weight of the paper used for the customer magazine on an annual basis (in metric tons)

  2015 2016 2017
  Total ALDI aktuell ALDI Reisen Other1 Total ALDI aktuell ALDI Reisen Other1 Total ALDI aktuell ALDI Reisen Other1
Belgium/Luxembourg2 10,299 10,299 10,811
10,811
10,823 10,823
Denmark 2,537 2,535 2 2,474
2,469
5 3,419 3,419
Germany 65,560 63,299 880 1,381 72,757
70,442
907 1,408
81,314 78,485 874 1,955
France 16,253 16,253 18,461
18,461 21,516 21,516
Netherlands 8,635 8,397 238 8,587
8,116
471
11,032 10,550 482
Poland 2,521 2,512 9 3,372
3,372
5,279 5,279
Portugal 810 810 1,030
1,030
1,543 1,543
Spain
3,113 2,954
179 2,912
2,696
216 1,674 1,448 226
ALDI North Group 109,748 107,059 880 1,809 120,404
117,397
907 2,100
136,600 133,063 874 2,663

1 This category includes themed publications, such as gourmet, wine and Christmas magazines, as well as special publications such as store opening magazines.
2 The information regarding the legally independent companies of the ALDI North Group in Belgium and Luxembourg has been combined for the purposes of a simplified presentation (refer to “Subject of the report”).

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