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‘Different’: Aldi trademarks expose expansion for German giant amid Coles, Woolworths woes

Aldi is looking to expand its offer in Australia.

Aldi is looking to expand its offer in Australia.

German supermarket giant Aldi is looking to eat the lunch of its rivals Coles and Woolworths in more ways than one, with trademark filings showing its mulling expansion opportunities.

Brands like Aldi travel, Aldi internet and even solar have been registered by the chain in the past year, IP Australia filings show, exposing how it plans to extend its offering beyond groceries.

One new venture has already been unveiled, with Aldi insurance launching earlier this week with a promise to provide lower premiums for home, vehicle and even landlord coverage.

Queensland University of Technology professor Gary Mortimer said Aldi wants to leverage the trust it built with Australians through its successful supermarket business.

The company sees an opportunity to capitalise on plummeting public trust in the likes of Coles and Woolworths over damaging price-gouging allegations, Mortimer explained.

“What Aldi have done over the last 22 years is build a very strong, loyal segment of the market – now they’re looking at how else they can add value to those customers,” he said.

Aldi has emerged from the reputational crisis that’s plagued the supermarket industry over the past few years relatively unscathed, owing to its lower prices than major competitors.

But the company is not as large as either Coles or Woolworths in Australia, despite being a much bigger business globally, meaning there’s still ample room for growth Down Under.

Coles and Woolworths already offer a range of services in telecommunications and financial services, such as insurance, in a process known as white labelling that Aldi is now adopting.

The German giant has already been selling mobile SIMs for a few years under a wholesale deal with Telstra and has just begun marketing insurance underwritten by RACQ.

Its trademark for internet, for example, is described as “telecommunications services; information, advisory and consultancy services in relation to the aforementioned services”.

Aldi appears to be positioning its offer to align with a brand philosophy that has made Aldi a hit with Australians in the grocery space – namely a focus on everyday low prices, not discounts.

In other words, Aldi doesn’t put its products on sale or run promotions that give new customers cheaper prices than existing ones; tactics that often confuse customers.

Mortimer said that resonates with consumers who are looking for simple products that are easy to use.

“Their position – good and different – seems to resonate across all their offers,” he said.

“Being different is how you grow and compete in a crowded, highly competitive market.”

In the case of insurance, Aldi is even spruiking so-called “smart sensors” that customers can install in their homes to get discounts of up to eight per cent on home and contents cover.

The idea is that by mitigating against claims related to fire, water damage and theft, customers present less risk and can therefore be offered lower prices on insurance.

Aldi also has global experience offering services alongside its grocery offering, having been in the travel business for years in Europe, where it advertises international holiday deals.

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