Scored a purchased order from Aldi? Congratulations!
You must be super excited. But you may also be wondering how you’ll get the shipment there, what you can expect along the way, or how to maximize your success at this retailer.
Don’t worry. We’ve outlined everything you need to know about shipping to Aldi below.
Aldi is Not Your Traditional Retailer
You might be enticed to shop at Aldi if you don’t mind cheaper prices, non-name brand products, and a smaller selection of goods. In order to offer savings to its customers, Aldi uses strategy and innovation to control costs. This approach also applies to its transportation and supply chain network.
Whereas most retailers leave it up to suppliers to coordinate transportation with carriers, Aldi is completely different. It actually owns the relationship with third-party logistics (3PL) companies entirely and use the 3PLs in a customer pick-up (CPU) model to collect its suppliers’ shipments for them.
Aldi has found this to be a cost-effective set up that ultimately gives it the most control of its supply chain. Whereas we would normally discourage a CPU arrangement with a retailer, Aldi suppliers really aren’t given a choice.
If Aldi decides it wants your product in its stores, they will send both you and their 3PL of choice a PO. While you’re preparing the order, the 3PL will reach out to your transportation manager (or whoever coordinates shipping) to schedule all the details of a pick-up.
Aldi will usually send the PO three to five days before its preferred delivery date. We say “preferred” because it really is just a preferred date and is not set in stone. Aldi is super lenient when it comes to meeting due dates and is willing to reschedule if shippers simply cannot meet the date requested.
This is extremely different from most big-box retailers who will penalize shippers for not meeting on-time in-full requirements and even cut off the relationship when suppliers can’t meet expectations.
Communication With Aldi
On the logistics side of things, Aldi’s 3PL partners will handle most communication with the receiver before, during, and after pickup. During transit, any issues or delays will be communicated between the 3PL and Aldi Distribution Center Coordinator.
On the Aldi side of things, your brand will be given a DC Retail Buyer contact. This will be the person you can direct your non-logistics Aldi questions to.
Your Aldi contact should go over packaging expectations for your specific product when you first get an order.
Whereas other retailers may not even accept freight that is damaged, late, or incorrectly packaged, Aldi will. This is not to say shippers won’t be charged for incorrectly packaged freight or pallets that need to be restacked. We’ve seen fines such as $40 per restacked pallet, but charges will vary depending on the offence.
Aldi heavily relies on its 3PL partners and their carriers to make sure freight is packaged correctly upon pick-up. If it is not, the 3PL has the right to refuse pick-up or delay transit until the problem has been rectified.
If it continues to be an issue and you can’t follow packaging requirements, the 3PL will inform Aldi what’s going on so they don’t take the fall for your errors. After a certain point it won’t be worth it for Aldi to work with you anymore and you will mess up your chances of getting another PO.
Packaging is arguably the one thing shippers have control over when shipping to Aldi, so make sure you get this step down.
All in all, Aldi has it set up so that most logistics coordination is totally not your responsibility. That’s a pretty sweet set up if you ask us. It also sounds familiar…
Why Choose Zipline as Your 3PL?
Most retailers do not function like Aldi does in any way, especially when it comes to logistics. If you enjoy the hands-off approach they offer shippers, you’re going to love using a 3PL for all your retail shipments.
If you expand to other retailers after your start at Aldi, consider choosing Zipline Logistics as your transportation partner.
You might be wondering how we know so much about retailers and how they operate. It’s because we pride ourselves in being a retail-specialized 3PL. While most logistics brokers move everything from scrap metal to machinery, we exclusively ship finished retail goods that need to meet strict delivery requirements.
Like we said, other retailers aren’t as forgiving as Aldi. But don’t worry, partnering with a retail-specialized 3PL makes everything easier, way less stressful, and positions you brand to succeed.
It’s like the difference between a flashlight and a laser beam. Our specialization allows us to strategically elevate and empower CPG brands to dominate their categories.
Andrew Lynch is President and co-founder of Zipline Logistics, an award-winning North American 3PL that specializes exclusively in the transportation of retail consumer goods. He works alongside clients ranging from some of the largest food and beverage businesses in the world to the brightest up-and-coming CPG brands in North America. Lynch and his team leverage data intelligence and strong industry relationships to help clients uncover transportation savings, build scalable supply chain strategies, and ace retailer compliance programs. Starting his career in carrier procurement and management within a Fortune 100 logistics company, Lynch has held positions of responsibility in all areas of third party logistics.