Aldi Just Launched A New Feature Shoppers Will Love

Aldi has been out in front when it comes to coping with the pandemic — perhaps because it is a global chain based in Europe, which was hard-hit by the COVID-19 virus long before it hit our shores. As soon as it became apparent just how hard-hit the entire U.S. grocery industry was going to be, Aldi not only gave all associates a well-deserved pay raise, but also put in place several social-distancing measures meant to protect both employees and shoppers alike. What's more, Aldi's been able to keep their prices low at a time when certain suppliers have been suspected of a little pandemic profiteering, and as a result, their business is still booming right along. Plus, it doesn't hurt that they're always releasing exciting new products that we just can't wait to try.

If you've been hesitant to set foot in Aldi again due to ongoing health concerns, since no amount of social distancing or mask-wearing can keep you quite as safe as staying at home, Aldi's got some really good news! According to Supermarket News, Aldi will soon be expanding its curbside pickup service to nearly 600 stores nationwide.

This isn't the first time Aldi's done curbside pickup

According to Path to Purchase IQ, Aldi quietly rolled out a test of their curbside pickup service in spring 2019 at four Milwaukee-area Aldi stores. One of their editors tested out the service using the Instacart app, and found it quite easy to navigate the process. He noted that the app allowed him not only to select the items he wanted, but he could also get updates on his order, tell store employees when he was en route to the store, inform them as to the type and color of his vehicle, and even contact an Aldi associate directly if there was a problem. The Instacart app also shared a pic of his Aldi's specific pickup location, so he'd know exactly where to park when he got there, although he noted that there was adequate signage both outside and inside the store that made the location perfectly clear.

Aldi U.S. CEO Jason Hart (via Supermarket News) said the curbside pilot program was "quickly embraced by our customers, and demand for this service has continued to increase." What with the need for safer shopping options in the age of COVID-19, there was no time like the present for Aldi to meet that demand.

How Aldi's curbside pickup will work

In order to utilize Aldi's curbside pickup service, you'll use Aldi's Instacart page or mobile app to fill your virtual cart, then choose your preferred store and pickup time at checkout. Once you arrive at the store, you'll park in one of the designated pickup spots, and an Aldi associate will be right out with the groceries you've selected.

While Aldi's webpage does not provide any information as to the fees that will be associated with this, Path to Purchase IQ revealed that during the pilot program Instacart was charging a $4.99 service fee and there was also a $10 order minimum in place for curbside pickup. Also, it seems as if certain products available in-store, including alcohol in certain areas as well as Aldi's Special Buys, may not be available through this curbside service. Aldi's FAQ also discloses that higher prices may be charged for products that are picked up, since this is how they cover the cost of the additional labor required of store associate personal shoppers. While curbside pickup might not be as budget-friendly as shopping in-store, it is, of course, much safer, and at least it gets you out of the house and back at Aldi again, even if only in the parking lot.

Aldi also offers delivery

If you're not champing at the bit to get out and about for a tour of your local curbs and parking lots, though, you may prefer using Aldi's grocery delivery service, which is also brought to you by those hard-working (and possibly underpaid) Instacart shoppers. While ordering via Instacart is never going to be your most inexpensive option — as witness the sad tale of this Redditor whose Instacart order (admittedly not from Aldi) end up costing 78 percent more, what with price markups, service and delivery fee, and tip, than it would have if they'd shopped in-store. A pretty hefty price to pay simply for convenience's sake, but grocery shopping is different now with a pandemic upon us, and you can't put a price on the safety of you and your fellow quaran-teammates.

To order groceries for delivery through Aldi, you visit the same Instacart interface as you would for pickup and again fill your cart and select a time slot. You may be able to get your groceries delivered in under two hours, although the availability of delivery slots may vary depending on the time of day/week/what cool stuff Aldi's got on offer. As per the above-referenced FAQ, Special Buys cannot be delivered, but in some areas Aldi will deliver alcohol so you can still get your Winking Owl fix.