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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Introduction Contd...

According to retail analysts, TJ, which was established in the 1960s, had succeeded in differentiating itself from other retailers in the US supermarket industry.

TJ, which had a cult following among shoppers, was a small supermarket chain which offered a limited selection of unique food products at reasonable prices, in relatively small stores. It sold most of its products under the private label 'Trader Joe's' and its variants. TJ targeted its stores at highly educated and well travelled, but not necessarily wealthy, segments of the population.

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TJ had a team of experienced buyers, who did extensive travelling and research before bringing new products into the stores. Moreover, the products were tested and tasted before they were offered to customers.

TJ also avoided middlemen in its supply chain, preferring to deal directly with suppliers and manufacturers. This ensured that it was able to maintain strict control over the price and quality of the products it offered.

TJ also had a unique organizational culture and maintained a quirky ambience at its stores. It adopted a nautical theme for its stores and used nautical terminology.

The employees, who had to wear Hawaiian shirts, were recruited for their sunny disposition, passion for food, and dedication to customer service. TJ also offered some of the best compensation and employee benefits in the US retail industry...

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