Aldi Has a Good Reason for Not Playing Any Music in Its Stores

updated May 11, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Have you ever wondered why everyone loves the German-import store Aldi? Of course part of it is the fun, innovative products and looking for something new every time you shop, but the other half of it is the value. A cart full of groceries could cost less than a bag full from other places (of course, that cart will cost you a quarter to use, but that’s all part of their thing). Reader’s Digest recently pointed out that one of the ways that the Trader Joe’s sibling grocery store does to save customers money, though, is the kind of thing that you might not notice — until you do: there’s no music playing in the store as you shop. 

Aldi’s 1,600 stores in 35 states, the piece notes, offer no tunes from the overhead speakers. You might not notice the soundtrack of your store, until you stop into an Aldi and there is none. The reason, claims Aldi, is price: basically the store is unwilling to spring for a third-party music service that would manage music. For anyone who spent their high school summers working in a Gap store that required a single CD to be played on repeat for the entirety of store hours and changed it only on a monthly basis, this might seem like a nice development. (Me, that was me.) 

Consumer research shows that music can help customers relax and browse, but every store weighs their priorities in terms of whether they are selling a get-in, get-out, don’t-pay-much experience (like Aldi) or the high-end, take-your-time, maybe impulse-purchase a $20 tub of fancified Fritos kind of shop. Yes, Trader Joe’s knows their parking lots are terrible — it’s purposeful. Aldi’s lack of tunes are somewhat the same: they know that their customers won’t choose to shop at another store just because they don’t play any music.