Tuesday, April 5, 2016

What is Trader Joe's secret sauce?

Within this week’s articles, The Coherence Premium inspired me to explore more about Trader Joe’s and attempt to identify its capabilities which build and support one another to lead up to ultimate efficiency or coherence premium.  Please note these are my observations from my research.  

Value = Great Food + Great Prices
Often times we associate value as being monetary but what about the quality of the product, how diverse the product is versus others available to the customer, and where these products are sourced?  All of these layers contribute to the overall focus of Trader Joe’s.  Value is unharmed and is always considered, especially when each product has to pass a Darwinian-like test to see how the product is responded to.  Many of you might also be aware that Trader Joe’s does not sell name brand products, does not have a much shelf space, and rolls out a lot of its products compared to say some of its competitors like Kroger and Whole Foods.  

Customer Service Rockstars
Having a close relationship and awareness of its customers, Trader Joe’s will continually surprise and entice the customer’s needs and wants.  Trader Joe’s is eager to receive feedback and creates a connection between them and the customer which in turn creates an inclusive and emotional connection with the brand.  Trader Joe’s continues to be culturally aware of its customers and provide a multitude of expected and then unexpected products.  Tip: If you do not like anything you purchase at the store, you can return it - even if it is open.

Amazing Employees a.k.a. Good neighbors
Someone visiting the store for the first time may notice the store employees may have their own sense of fashion or style.  Basically, there isn’t an employee a mold here.  Employees are accepted and valued for the skills and expertise they bring to work every day.  These people are loyal, helpful and happy to get to know you.  Maybe it’s because Trader Joe’s offers a pretty nice benefits package (lower portion of career section page - http://www.traderjoes.com/careers).  Or maybe because they are genuinely nice and energetic people who want to service you and your needs while having a fun time!

Staying Away from the Herd
Trader Joe’s has a culture for which they are not afraid to be the different “mom and pop” store.  They thrive on being adventurous with their products, their employee created promotion signs, and even the management of the store floor.  Their strong commitment is not to compete, but to be committed to the culture.  With this unique culture comes experience by the Trader Joe’s customer.  Customer experience is a challenge that Trader Joe’s competitors are trying to replicate and are more or less trying to relate their culture with their philosophy.  

In conclusion, Trader Joe’s has made its business capabilities strong and significant, but its essential ingredients of value and culture carefully align with the company strategy and the values of the customers.

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