“We tried it! We liked it! If you don’t, bring it back for a full refund, no questions asked.” That is the product guarantee of Trader Joe’s.
Trader Joes’ is a chain of grocery stores that stock many of the basic foods as well as hard to find, unusual items both local and international. They have a base of products they always carry while other products are a continuously changing mix: either rotated or simply only carried only once. It is not a one-stop store. Most of the items sold are Trader Joe’s own brand under its own private label, and they don’t carry any of the national brands. They carry high quality, socially responsible cruelty-free items that are natural or minimally processed.
Their image is of a neighborhood store that is meant to be a fun and rewarding experience to customers. The stores are casual and quirky and are decorated with colorful wall art and hand painted signs in the theme of local sites and attractions. Product signs on the aisles look like cards hand written with magic markers and featured items are announced on chalkboards. Trader Joe’s are friendly and customer oriented, an image that is reinforced by their casual Hawaiian shirt uniforms (a nod to their southern California origin) and enthusiastic personnel. Staff members are knowledgeable about their products and trained to give customers as welcoming experience.
To complement the ambiance of the store, the communication system in the store is the ringing of a bell instead of intercom, the music is soft and pleasant usually oldies or seasonal tunes, and the cashier scanners are barely audible.
Prices are kept low, particularly in comparison to stores like Whole Foods, and are either comparable or lower than the prices seen for health foods and organic products in mainstream supermarkets. It is not a bargain store nor does it carry bargain items but in the “health food” market, if Trader Joe’s carries something, chances are they
References: 1. Mallinger, M. and G. Rossy. 2007. The Trader Joe’s Experience. Graziadio Business Report, 10(2). http://gbr.pepperdine.edu/072/tj.html 2. Trader Joe’s. http://www.traderjoes.com