German food retailer ALDI has entered the Chinese market for the first time, opening two prototype stores in Shanghai last week.
The format and design is an evolution of Landini Associates’ work for ALDI Australia, aimed at celebrating and conveying product quality and value.
There are key differences however in scale, layout, and tone. In line with Chinese consumer habits, where the preference is to visit multiple small shops per week, the stores are a much smaller format.
The emphasis is on fresh produce and ready meals, with certain categories articulated for greater consistency, and key products placed at the entry of each aisle alongside messaging to appeal to and drive shoppers.
Key departments developed were snacks, produce, bakery, alcohol, imported goods, health, and beauty.
The most noticeable difference for the Chinese market is the development of an on-site Food Station, as well as the addition of ready meals to take away or consume at the in-store dining kiosk.
A palette of low-cost materials such as locally sourced brick, terrazzo, an open concrete ceiling, warm timbers, and yellow accents adds to the perception of freshness throughout the stores. LED lighting reduces glare and running costs whilst improving ambience and colour rendering, changing from day to night.
In tandem with the interiors, Landini Associates also designed a series of messaging and graphic illustrations that are unique to the Chinese market. Over 40 messaging boards were developed to communicate the brand ethos, product freshness, value, quality, and European and Australian award-winning products.
Interestingly, there is no signage or ticketing displayed from the ceiling. Instead, category signage sits around the store perimeter to encourage cross-store shopping.
“Our two new stores are designed as pilot stores where retail approaches will be trialled and adjusted according to data and feedback from customers. This new store format has been customised and tailored specifically for the China market to better understand and interact with Chinese consumers,” says an ALDI spokesperson.
Photography by Andrew Meredith