Trader Joe’s: Customer magnet?

I always try my best to shop smartly when going to grocery stores. I try to pick up the cheapest brands and with good quality. While in college who would not want to save an extra buck? All the stores near DePaul are super expensive. At first it was Dominick’s and now its time for Whole Foods to run its monopoly. When I was living on campus, there was one place where I always use to get my groceries from, even if that meant walking an extra mile. And that place WAS ‘Trader Joes’. And here are the reasons why.


Many people criticize Trader Joe for its lack of variety but I feel that having a smaller store and fewer choices keeps consumers happy and also saves their time. Have you ever been to Target and seen the 40 different types of Jam and kept wondering which one should you go for? Well not at Trader’s joe.


Trader Joe pays its employees well or you can say well above the minimum wage level if you work for them for a longer period of time. Moreover, according to a report “TJ’s contributes 15.4% of employee’s salary to tax-deferred retirement accounts.”There is no questions as to why their employees are so happy and willing to help. Unlike, Walmart which not only pays its workers a minimum wage but also treats them poorly. There have been so many misconduct cases at Walmart which have made headlines all over the US.


TJ is not like any other departmental store. It aims to keeps its customers happy and meet their ever growing demand therefore it tries to open up locations by paying close attention to demographics like education, transport system available, nearby shopping stores etc.

In addition to this, TJ like keeping its food line simple also keeps its distribution simple. It buys directly from the manufacture cutting the cost and fees of the middlemen and therefore gives back to the community in terms of lower cost of the products. It also sells fresh produces on per unit basis rather than weight to simplify the checkout process.

According to Forbes article “TJ non-conventional culturally-tailored approach and attitude is one that is deeply embedded in the roots of their business model:  from their packaging, product selection, store layout and graphics, to their vendors, employees and management.  The Trader Joe’s brand is diversity on steroids.”

Do you agree that the TJ differentiates itself from its competitors only on the basis of cost or their are other factors that come to play?

Should customer satisfaction be a priority for any grocery/departmental stores or should they only focus on minimizing their cost ?


Work cited


10 thoughts on “Trader Joe’s: Customer magnet?

  1. I live right across the street from a Trader Joes and I prefer to shop there for groceries over any other place in Lincoln Park. While the prices are not always as low as Wal-Mart, they are extremely reasonable. I also feel their produce is top notch and they have a wide variety of healthy food options. I’ve never been bothered by the lack of items they sell, because the one of each thing they do sell is high quality.

    I think the lines at the store speaks for itself. I have waited in line for a good 15 minutes to check out, and that fact that people are willing to do that says something about the business. People want to feel like they are a part of something bigger and I think by shopping at Trader Joes instead of other big box stores customers feel better about their purchases.

  2. I used to love Trader Joe’s until Mariano’s came in to town. Trader Joe’s in my opinion offered great products which have a healthy stereotype. The main pull of Trader Joe’s for me was I was getting health conscious food for a lower price than I would at a Whole Food’s. In addition, I despise the Targets and Walmarts super centers with groceries as the produce is disgusting and the prices are always higher. Interesting enough, my dad always reminds me that Aldi’s owns Trader Joe’s. Aldi’s to many is sub par food for crazy cheap prices. I myself never shop at Aldi’s as the lines are insane, the food is gross, and the cheap prices make me wonder what is in the food. Mariano’s now has taken top on my list as lines are never long, I can find anything I need to (compared to Trader Joe’s which sometimes I cannot find a needed ingredient). Mariano’s also is aligned with Jewel Osco’s prices and offers far superior quality and better shopping experience.

  3. Trader Joe’s definitely differentiates itself from its competitors. While they sell great stuff at TJ’s, it’s definitely an extra stop for people’s grocery shopping needs as they have a limited selection as you noted. It also has sort of a cult following, which helps its “street cred” a bit. I don’t think it competes with the likes of Whole Foods and Mariano’s directly. It’s like a chain of neighborhood markets.

    I go there purely for the carne asada and pollo asado to make tacos at home. If you haven’t had it already, why aren’t you on your way to TJ’s right now?

  4. There are several reasons why I love and dislike Trader Joe’s. Their brand exclusive items such as Inner Peas are addicting, affordable and are a relatively healthier option than conventional snack foods. The same aspects also applies to their freezer section. On the other hand, I’ve found that their produce is often not the best quality and at times more expensive than competitors. They are cited for not carrying regional produce, because they are for the most part pre-packaged; however, there’s no doubt Trader Joe’s is extremely successful despite this shortcoming. I believe much of their success is not only due to low prices, but their eccentric product line and amazing customer service, which I credit to their corporate culture and high hiring standards. (Managers must have a bachelor’s degree) The previous commenter perfectly shows that price isn’t the only concern of a shopper, because Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s are both owned and operated by the same parent company; however, the two offer a very different level of customer service.

  5. Trader Joe’s is my go to grocery store. Like stated in the post, their prices are great and there options are of high quality. During the summer, Trader Joe’s is my favorite place to go for fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only is there produce cheap, but it is also among the freshest quality. Unfortunately, do to their cut costs, some name brand items that I enjoy can not be found there and therefore I must go to a more expensive grocery store such as Jewel Osco.

  6. I agree that Trader Joes differentiates itself from its competitors in the sense that it has good quality and limited options to make your trip to the grocery store quick. However I like variety, and a lot of the snacks and brands I purchase are not offered at this store. I prefer to shop at Marianos, Jewel, or Whole Foods over Trader Joes. However Trader Joes has one product I love, the frozen hash browns, which I could only find at this store so sometimes their unique brands come to my interest. I believe customer satisfaction should always be a priority, if they were trying to minimize their cost, it would then go into competition with Aldi or Walmart.

  7. I personally love Trader Joe’s and shop there a lot. They have great quality of food at very reasonable prices. Although I do agree that they do not have a crazy huge variety of foods, they have specific items that I can only get at Trader Joe’s. I love that they don’t have the typical brands that are carried in every grocery store; they have their own unique brands that they carry, which makes them very individualistic. I have a few items that I can only find at Trader Joe’s and even though it’s not one of my regular one stop shops, it’s always worth taking the trip.

  8. I absolutely love Trader Joes. As a college student looking for any way to save money, I have become a number one fan. Trader Joes is unlike any other grocery store. The entire vibe of friendly service, quality food, and low prices makes customers feel welcomed. The small store layout is successful in the way that it provides the essentials and doesn’t let consumers drift off too far away from want they actually need to buy. I believe other grocery stores would not be as successful if they implemented similar low costs and customer satisfaction like Trader Joes. Each company seems to have different focuses and concepts that may collide with these ideas. Places like Jewel Osco and Target are more centered on variety while Whole Foods is more about healthy and quality products and less about price. If similar strategies from the Trader Joes company was applied, I believe other grocery businesses would lose their own individual feel.

  9. My family, friends and I love Trader Joe’s. A store opened up in my area and have been going there non-stop. I think their frozen food items are perfect for college students. The portions sizes are perfect for 1-2 people so food doesn’t go to waste after you cook it. Just like you, I dont need over 40 varieties of brands. I like how TJ has one item that can suite many people’s taste pallets. Also, I know some people who work at TJ and say they absolutely love working there. They get paid fairly and have amazing benefits.

  10. When I think of Trader Joe’s I think of simple, fast, and healthy. Their stores are smaller than the regular super markets, making customers be in and out faster. They have less choices which cuts the time a customer takes to make a choice, and they carry healthy and organic food. They have unique brands and support local farmers and food producers. Also, I have to agree about how much care TJ takes of their workers. They are always a pleasure to talk to and always willing to help. It kinds of reminds me of a family owned super market.

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