by Kurt Schroeder and John Seeds
Grocery shopping is a universal experience, and most people have had a defining moment that altered their relationship with the process. Customers are always looking for the best deals while also searching for the right products – all the while trying to navigate through the store and around other customers. It’s not always a pleasant process, but in the last 50+ years, Trader Joe's has made it their mission to transform that experience for their customers.
Trader Joe’s is a national chain of neighborhood grocery stores, committed to providing their customers outstanding value in the form of the best quality products at the best everyday prices. At Trader Joe's, you won’t find a lot of branded items. Instead, you’ll discover a store full of unique and interesting products, along with everyday basics, in the Trader Joe's label only.
They know that maintaining their focus on value is vital, which is why they don’t have sales, coupons, or a loyalty program. Instead, through their products and knowledgeable Crew Members, they strive to transform grocery shopping into a welcoming journey full of discovery.
Recently we highlighted Trader Joe’s as one of our weekly CX Success stories on LinkedIn, and we wanted to examine more closely what they’ve done to create exceptional experiences for their customer to drive long-term loyalty.
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Kept it Simple
Trader Joe’s doesn’t allow their suppliers to pay for specific store placement, which eliminates favoritism and give customers a chance to discover new products. As a result, they have more opportunities for the kinds of products they can keep in stock and share with their customers. What Trader Joe’s does well is avoid having too much variety and keep it simple for their highly selective customers when it comes to the products they have on shelves.
Removed Unpleasant Processes
Trader Joe’s has made it a point to intentionally arrange the way they present products, in an effort to remove some of the unpleasantness you typically experience in-store. One example of this is the way Trader Joe's reimagined their freezer aisle. Instead of having to keep open the large glass doors and stand in the cold while you look for new products, customers can browse from above, physically reaching in to pull out the items you want to explore.
Empowered their Employees
Trader Joe’s employees create a stress-free and whimsical environment with their Hawaiian shirts, appealing personalities, and ample number of staff around to serve customers. They accomplish this by including personality-focused questions on their job application that help hiring managers better understand the energy and perspective of potential hires. By prioritizing the environment they want to cultivate at the forefront of their hiring process, Trader Joe’s can trust their employees to create that experience. One example of this outcome was when an employee hid a toy in the store giving a lollipop to kids that found it. This individual innovation gave leadership the confidence to trust their employees to engage in similar innovation in their own stores.
Vice President of Marketing
“Trader Joe’s changed the business model of an industry to better align with customer expectations. The concept of rethinking the freezer experience, the arrangement of your product aisles, and placing flowers to the left of your entrance makes your store more of an adventure and an open experience. They rethought the experience they were providing and modified their operations to meet the expectations of their customers.”
Made it an Authentic Experience
The investment that Trader Joe’s made in customer experience was meant to produce an experience that meant more than just a trip to the grocery store. Customer's today are looking for authentic experiences, and grocery stores are notorious for providing subpar environments for their customers. Trader Joe’s does not have a loyalty program or membership, because they don’t need to know who you are specifically. They focus on their strengths, and providing a creative, innovative in-store experience - with great prices and unique employees being central to their strategy. Their understanding of what customers come looking for is more crucial than any deal that may compromise the experience of their customers.
At Avtex, we understand the value of understanding your customers, their journey, and the ways you can improve your strategy to create exceptional experiences. If your organization is looking to provide an exceptional experience for your customers that continues to build meaningful relationships and instill loyalty, it may be time to invest more heavily in your CX strategy.