It’s no secret that, at the time of this post, the world is in the midst of a product shipping crisis. There are many reasons, but the end result is that some products that are usually easy to find are now hard to find. Many industries are affected, making now a particularly bad time to buy a car or even start a home improvement project.
Aldi, like many retailers, has been impacted by the supply chain problems. For much of the summer, certain Aldi Finds were failing to show up in stores the week they were advertised, only for those Finds to appear weeks or even a month later.
By August, Aldi started cutting back on its Aldi Finds. This may have been because products were being delayed, but it might also have been in hopes of “resetting” the middle aisle, especially with the backlog of delayed finds finally arriving.
Now we’re starting to notice a new kind of Aldi Find: the stealth launch.
In the last week or two, we’ve started seeing Aldi Finds show up on shelves that haven’t been advertised. They’ve never been in a Sneak Peek ad, or in an expanded ad, or in the digital ad. We cover Aldi Finds every week, so we’ve got a good idea of what is and is not headed for shelves.
For example, the other day we spotted this Ambiano Ice Maker on Aldi’s shelves.
We haven’t seen this product in any ad this year. The last time we saw this product was in July of 2020, when it retailed for $89.99. When it suddenly appeared in 2021, it came with no warning. (In our store, it didn’t even have a price sticker.) Aldi does have a warranty page for it, but that’s the extent of its Aldi digital footprint.
The same day we spotted the Ambiano ice maker, we also saw this Crofton Countertop Compost Bin.
This is a product new to Aldi, retailing for $8.99. Aldi has sold a larger ceramic compost bin for $14.99, most recently back in May of 2021, but the grocer has never sold this smaller plastic bin before. It has no presence on Aldi’s website — not in the ad, and not even on the warranty page.
In our experience, unannounced Aldi Finds are rare. We do sometimes see Aldi Finds show up in the digital ad after being absent from the print ad, but seeing Finds show up that weren’t in either ad is not common. That’s especially true for non-food Finds.
Why Are These Stealth Launches Happening?
Only Aldi knows, but we have a guess. We think that Aldi was planning to bring these Aldi Finds to stores but wasn’t sure when they would arrive, if at all. Rather than have customers potentially angry over yet more Aldi Finds that don’t arrive when the ad says they will, Aldi may have opted to simply put these on shelves unannounced once they showed up.
We understand the thinking. It helps protect hard-working Aldi workers and CSRs from some of the customer complaints regarding the ad while also giving regular Aldi shoppers something to look forward to. It keeps the aisle stocked while lessening the potential disappointment. It’s also a good example of being a corporate citizen, cutting down on the mad rushes we sometimes see with Aldi Finds.
Is This Permanent?
We don’t know. Our thinking is that it may be the policy for the near future, at least while the supply chain problems persist, which could stretch into 2022. Time will tell.
In the meantime, if you want Aldi Finds, you might have to prepare for a few surprises. Because the Aisle of Shame appears to be full of a lot more surprises than normal.