Retail

Why this small business owner registered an Aldi company name without the supermarket knowing

Emma Koehn /

When asked what motivated him to register the name “Aldi Home Deliveries” with the corporate regulator, small business owner David Collins simply says “Why not?”

The chief executive of New South Wales-based company Country Fresh Mushrooms lodged paperwork with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to own the business name in the hope of potentially striking a deal to do home deliveries with the discount supermarket chain, reports Fairfax. 

Speaking to SmartCompany about the decision this morning, Collins says he’s not sure what the next steps will be now that Aldi is aware of his move, but there is definitely an untapped opportunity for home delivery at the cult-favourite chain.

“Well, why not? Coles and Woolies do online deliveries, Aldi don’t, so there’s an opportunity there. But it has to be done in a crawl, walk, run model,” he says.

While Collins says home delivery orders are currently “not part of their business model”, he has relationships with managers within the Aldi business and his act of registering the name has raised the issue with the supermarket.

When asked whether the supermarket might want to eventually buy the words back from him if it were to launch home deliveries in future, Collins says “it’s always possible”.

He says he wasn’t exactly aiming to get attention by registering the business name, but now the spotlight has been put on his business, he isn’t too worried.

“It wasn’t my intention, but it doesn’t bother me that it has escalated,” he says.

He says small business owners shouldn’t be afraid to act when they have an idea, and if there’s a service you want to offer, there’s no harm in trying to figure out how to go about it.

“The only thing I’d say is in small business, if you’ve got a good idea and a niche market, and people can pay for what you intend to sell … then say yes, figure out how,” he says.

Read more: How Aldi Australia managing director Bronwyn Post motivates her team of more than 1000 employees

To shop at “Supermarket of the Year”, you have to get in store

Online grocery sales in Australia sit at around $2.7 billion annually, according to IBISWorld, but when it comes to home delivery the battle is squarely between Coles and Woolworths.

Roy Morgan crowned Aldi ‘Supermarket of the Year’ in 2016 for its overall customer satisfaction levels, and while at the time the chain promised to “continue to evolve to meet the needs of tomorrow’s shopper”, delivery services have not been on the cards.

SmartCompany contacted Aldi to ask whether this would ever change, but the supermarket chain was unable to provide comment on future plans.

The only way to get Aldi goods to your door in Australia is through a third party grocery delivery provider, like ShopWings. In 2016, the grocery startup’s chief executive, Manutea Dupont, told StartupSmart it had found a niche by providing faster grocery deliveries than the big supermarkets and providing a home delivery service for brands that had not yet set up their own delivery models.

“There are grocery deliveries like Coles Online and Woolies Online, but in terms of our offering we are unique in terms of speed and same-day delivery. We can deliver from Aldi, Coles, Aldi and Coles at the same time, and IKEA. That’s very unique,” Dupont said.

While it’s unclear whether a delivery model will ever eventuate at Aldi, the chain’s Australian operations are undergoing a revamp. After a logo refresh was unveiled in March, the discount retailer is also rolling out new store formats across the East Coast this year.

Retail experts have previously told SmartCompany Aldi’s power lies more in the creation of streamlined branding available at the price points of traditional “home brands”, but which implies higher quality.

“Value comes from a branded product at a low price — quality comes from the package,” associate professor at Queensland University of Technology Business School Dr Gary Mortimer said last year. 

In March, one of Aldi Australia managing directors, Brownyn Post, told SmartCompany the business was constantly focused on preparing its teams to pivot into new challenges.

“When you work for a fast growing business like Aldi, you always need to be thinking about what’s next for your team. You need to be constantly mentoring and developing your people so that they are ready to move up and into new roles as the business expands,” she said.

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is a former senior journalist at SmartCompany.

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