No, you didn’t misread the title – witches hats. Aldi’s ‘special buys’ vary from the ingenious to the downright strange. Shoppers have bought discounted ski gear, a Collette Dinnigan childrenswear range and power tools from the retailer. As the German giant steadily spread over Australia’s eastern seaboard, Aldi special buys have become fodder for one-upmanship for the strangest product purchases. Why does Aldi offer special buys? Where does it source special buys from? What are the legal issues to be aware of?

Why Does Aldi Offer Special Buys?

Over the years, Aldi’s special buys range has evolved to be one of the supermarket’s most successful marketing tactics, helping Aldi seriously challenge Australia’s otherwise uncompetitive supermarket sector. Aldi is now the supermarket of choice for budgeting shoppers, with over 300 stores Australia wide.  

The retailer’s special buys range did not begin as an advertising gimmick – rather it is ingrained in the brand’s genetic makeup and dates back to its origins in West Germany during the 1940s and 50s. WWII left Germans impoverished, and Aldi’s founding brothers Karl and Theo were committed to keeping grocery prices as low as possible. The brothers found a way to offload cheaply excess household items through their chain of small stores. Over time, Karl and Theo noticed that people were visiting their stores, not just for cheap staple groceries, but because they didn’t want to miss out on a bargain.

How Does Aldi Source its Special Buys?

Aldi likes to keep mum about its special buys suppliers. However, Aldi representatives have said that expert buyers carefully choose special buys, and it’s only once a product meets the supermarket’s high-quality standards that they’ll start appearing on shelves. Those witches hats? Hand picked for you.

Potential Legal Issues With Aldi Special Buys

Aldi’s outside the box advertising strategy gets five stars for innovation and savvy marketing, relying on word of mouth to spread the hype. As with any business, Aldi’s advertising must comply with Australian Consumer Law (ACL) regarding misleading and deceptive conduct. Relevantly for Aldi’s marketing executives are rules regarding strike-through pricing (was/now pricing) and non-stop sales.

Strikethrough Pricing

Businesses often advertise sales where an item ‘was’ $X amount and is ‘now’ a lower amount. Was/now pricing is misleading if customers rarely or never pay the ‘was’ price. Was/now pricing is misleading because it induces consumers into believing that the good was previously available at a higher price point, and they are now ‘saving’ money by buying the good at the lower price. This is misleading.

If Aldi advertised its witches hats using was/now pricing, it needs to ensure the witches hats were actually available at the ‘was’ price before offering a lower ‘now’ price, to ensure compliance with the ACL.  

Country of Origin Claims

Aldi sells truly global goods – bananas come from across the Pacific, and your tomatoes are just as likely to come from Turkey as Australia. The ACL requires businesses to make genuine claims about a goods’ country of origin. For example, if strawberry jam is advertised as ‘made in’ Australia then 50% or more of the costs to produce that strawberry jam must have been incurred in Australia.

Traffic Cones and Advertising Compliance

Brands are increasingly searching for more creative ways to encourage consumers to open our wallets. Aldi’s strategy is to generate hype and anticipation with regards to the sometimes strange and bizarre products available in its stores. You can’t be helped if you succumbed to great marketing and purchased an eight camera home security system with your weekly groceries, but the ACL does intervene if advertising is misleading and deceptive.

Questions about your business complying with the Australian Consumer Law? Let us know on 1300 544 755.

Chloe Sevil

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