Sale fail: ALDI’s big truck backfire
AUSTRALIAN shoppers usually go nuts over ALDI's Special Buys events.
But today's sale of one of the German retailer's most popular items in history - two motorised ride-on vehicles for kids - failed to reach the record-breaking heights it did at the same time last year.
The mini vehicles were tipped to be some of the most popular Aldi Special Buys items of 2018 and parenting websites around the country predicted a frenzy today.
When Aldi released a limited number of these tiny electric vehicles in 2017 they sold out in just 10 seconds.
Today, though, was a different story, with customers failing to appear before doors opened at stores around the country.
When the doors of Melbourne's Brunswick Aldi opened at 8.30am there were no parents champing at the bit for the "must-have" kid's Christmas present. In fact, the 20 people in the line as doors opened seemed more interested in the camping gear (which was heavily stocked so nobody left disappointed). But even those didn't sell out; there were plenty for everybody.
On sale this year were a 6V Electric Tractor ($199) with a functional dump bucket boasting a maximum load of 5kg. It goes up to 4km/h in forward and reverse and works well on grass and pavement.
The luxury offering was a 6V Porsche ($199) with LED headlights, dashboard lights and sound buttons on the steering wheel. Last year, the luxury offering was a Mercedes Benz.
Fifteen minutes after doors opened in the Brunswick store, not a single one was sold - a far cry from the frenzy this time last year. The store manager would not comment to news.com.au.
The vehicles can be operated by children on their own, or through a parental remote control for the really little people.
When the vehicles sold out last year, shoppers were left frustrated.
"Aldi, you are on the brink of losing me as a customer," one shopper said on the ALDI Australia Facebook page.
"While I am not in the habit of being herded into a store like a mob of cattle at 8am, I just travelled around 40 minutes for a special buy of which the store had ONLY 2 which were quickly taken."
It's not the first time ALDI has been taken to task over their limited stock of popular Special Buys items. (Special Buys can include anything from electronics, like LCD TVs and DVD players, to clothing and furniture, and they are released twice a week.)
Similar frustration has been shown when other hot-ticket items such as the cheap Dyson vacuum cleaners and the cult rocking chair, which sold out in record time.
Earlier this year ABC'S The Checkout program investigated whether the retailer was guilty of breaking the law through "bait advertising", which is illegal under Australian consumer law.
The law states that "businesses who advertise goods must offer such goods in quantities that are reasonable … and they shouldn't advertise if there are reasonable grounds for believing that the business will not be able to offer those goods for a period that is reasonable".
Put simply, you can't advertise something if you don't have a reasonable amount of stock.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says that if an advertised product is in short supply, consumers should be told that in a "clear, specific and highly visible way".
A spokesman for ALDI told news.com.au the limited number of items within the Special Buys range was because they only intended on the products to be on sale for one week.
"ALDI Australia's Special Buys have become incredibly popular with Australian shoppers and are just one way we distinguish ourselves from other supermarkets," a spokesman said.
"Our weekly Special Buys are ordered months in advance and are intended to be on sale for one week in a bid to keep our range fresh and interesting.
"We do our best to supply our stores with sufficient stock however, sometimes they sell out faster than expected due to their exceptional value and high quality."