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Aldi announced yesterday that it is working with Instacart to launch what they are calling Aldi Express, described as a "virtual convenience store."

According to the announcement, Aldi will use Instacart to get "Aldi-exclusive products to customers’ doors quicker than ever. From convenience items such as prepared foods, snacks and drinks to grocery staples and household essentials, Aldi Express gives customers access to nearly 2,000 of the most-shopped Aldi items, delivered in as fast as 30-minutes. Aldi Express convenience delivery is now available to customers from more than 2,100 Aldi locations across the country."

The announcement notes that "Aldi began offering delivery services via Instacart in 2017. Instacart now delivers from more than 2,200 Aldi stores and powers pickup for more than 1,500 Aldi stores nationwide. The companies expanded their partnership in 2018 to include alcohol delivery, and Aldi was one of the first retailers to accept EBT SNAP online through Instacart in November 2020."

KC's View:

I think this is indicative of what is possible for retailers with a savvy use of technology.  Aldi isn't normally thought of as a c-store, but with a little programming and some innovative thinking, it manages to create a virtual c-store chain that, I imagine, can be competitive with more traditional venues.

This is where "thinking outside the box" becomes more literal and less metaphorical - a smart use of technology by a retailer can actually create an entirely new business and revenue stream.  It is all about slicing and dicing things differently.