Trader Joe's: A Unique Customer Experience

            
 
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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG221
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 1960-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Trader Joe 's
Industry : Retail Food Industry
Countries : US

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.



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"Dare to have a unique point of view. Customers appreciate it and are drawn to it, especially if it's a quirky one like T.J.'s (Trader Joe's). Hawaiian shirts, in-store nautical theme, friendly employees, and great food in a funky store? Who knew? What Coloumbe did was celebrate that playful place in all of us."1

- Gretchen Gogesch, President of consumer research firm, Integrale LLC, in 2008.

"We went into private labels because of the value opportunity, so we could put our destiny in our own hands. Over time, the consumers built confidence in our private label. That made them more likely to try new things in our stores."2

- Doug Rauch, Trader Joe's President, in 2006.

Introduction

In April 2009, Consumer Reports3 magazine rated Trader Joe's (TJ) the second best supermarket chain in the US, after Wegmans Food Markets Inc.4 (See Exhibit I for the top 10 supermarkets in the US).

The stores were rated by about 32,599 customers on aspects like service (staff helpfulness and checkout speed), the quality of perishable products (meat, produce, and baked goods), price, and cleanliness. The magazine praised TJ for its low prices and good service; however it stated that TJ "sells a narrow selection of mostly its own brands."5

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1] "Trader Joe's Long Private Label Products Journey — How Do Fresh & Easy's Store Brands Stack Up To Those Created & Sold By Trader Joe's?" http://freshneasybuzz.blogspot.com, November 14, 2008.
2] Pia Sarkar, "The Tao of Trader Joe's," www.sfgate.com, June 6, 2006.
3] Consumer Reports is an American magazine that publishes reviews and comparisons of consumer products and services. It had about 4 million subscribers.
4] Wegmans, founded in the US in 1916, is a 72-store US supermarket chain mostly concentrated in the mid-Atlantic region.
5] Janet H. Cho, "Consumer Reports Ranks Top Supermarkets," http://blog.cleveland.com, April 6, 2009.


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