The Surprising Reason ALDI Doesn't Play Music

ALDI has a very clever approach to cutting costs.
ALDI has a very clever approach to cutting costs. / Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Economy grocery chain ALDI has developed a loyal following in recent years for perfecting a no-frills shopping experience. With no name-brand products and plenty of expense spared on elaborate displays, it’s become a model of efficiency.

There’s another way ALDI differs from other retail locations, though it’s not something you may have even noticed. None of the chain’s 1600 stores play music over their store speakers. The reason is simple: It’s another way for ALDI to lower their bottom line.

Speaking with Reader’s Digest, John Stranger, the vice president group supervisor of creative agency EvansHardy+Young, said ALDI can save money by avoiding the licensing payments that would be owed for playing music inside stores. Typically, retail outlets partner with a third-party music service to provide soothing tunes that make for a pleasant shopping experience and encourage shoppers to linger.

Music is part of an overall retail psychology approach that includes deliberate store layouts, sales, and other ways stores try to subtly manipulate consumer behavior. ALDI apparently prefers to rely on low prices as the main driver behind business.

Music is one of several seemingly minor details that ALDI carefully weighs. The stores also have an unlisted phone number to prevent employees from spending any time fielding calls the chain has deemed unnecessary.

It’s working. ALDI brings in $80 billion in revenue annually and is aiming to be America’s third-largest grocery chain by 2022, behind only Walmart and Kroger.

[h/t Reader's Digest]