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robertogreco : traderjoes   6

The Aldi effect: how one discount supermarket transformed the way Britain shops | Business | The Guardian
"When Aldi arrived in Britain, Tesco and Sainsbury’s were sure they had nothing to worry about. Three decades later, they know better."



"By sucking in shoppers and, as former Aldi UK CEO Paul Foley puts it, “sucking the profitability out of the industry” – profit margins of 2-3% are now the norm – the two German-owned companies have forced the “big four” supermarkets to take drastic measures. Morrisons has closed stores and laid off workers, while Sainsbury’s and Asda, desperate to cut costs and stop losing market share, announced a proposed £13bn merger in May, which the UK competition watchdog now appears likely to block. Tesco, meanwhile, has slashed its product range and bought the discount wholesaler Booker. In September, in a belated acknowledgement that the major threat to its business comes from Aldi and Lidl, Tesco launched its own discount chain, called Jack’s.

These industry shifts often lead the news, because supermarkets are so important to the economy: with more than 300,000 staff, Tesco is the UK’s biggest private-sector employer and the biggest retailer of any sort. But we also follow these stories closely for a more sentimental reason: grocery shopping is an intimate part of our lives. We don’t need to buy books or fancy trainers, but we do need to eat.

Most of us shop weekly, at the same store each time. Traditionally, we chose a shop for convenience – because a particular store was close by and because we knew along which aisles to find a large choice of our favourite products and brands – and loyalty. Research shows that many of us also chose a grocer because of how we perceived ourselves in terms of class and status. In the early 2000s, before Aldi’s rise, Peter Jackson, professor of human geography at the University of Sheffield, noted that British shoppers appeared to want an “environment where they will be surrounded by people like themselves” with whom they feel comfortable.

But the success of Aldi and, to a lesser extent, Lidl, shows that these old conventions no longer hold so true. Aldi, which is still family owned and unburdened by the short-term pressures for profits faced by its stock-market listed rivals, has changed the way we shop."
aldi  traderjoes  supermarkets  retail  2019  choice  simplicity  class  identity 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Should America Be Run by … Trader Joe’s? (Ep. 359) - Freakonomics Freakonomics
"ROBERTO: “I’d like to open a new kind of grocery store. We’re not going to have any branded items. It’s all going to be private label. We’re going to have no television advertising and no social media whatsoever. We’re never going to have anything on sale. We’re not going to accept coupons. We’ll have no loyalty card. We won’t have a circular that appears in the Sunday newspaper. We’ll have no self-checkout. We won’t have wide aisles or big parking lots. Would you invest in my company?”



"So we put on our Freakonomics goggles in an attempt to reverse-engineer the secrets of Trader Joe’s. Which, it turns out, are incredibly Freakonomical: things like choice architecture and decision theory. Things like nudging and an embrace of experimentation. In fact, if Freakonomics were a grocery store, it might be a Trader Joe’s, or at least try to be. It’s like a real-life case study of behavioral economics at work. So, here’s the big question: if Trader Joe’s is really so good, should their philosophy be applied elsewhere? Should Trader Joe’s — I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but … should Trader Joe’s be running America?"
traderjoes  2018  freakanomics  retail  groceries  psychology  choice  paradoxofchoice  decisionmaking  michaelroberto  competition  microsoft  satyanadella  markgardiner  sheenaiyengar  economics  behavior  hiring 
december 2018 by robertogreco
Joe Cool – The New Inquiry
"Unlike with other American big-box grocery stores (and Trader Joe’s parent company, the German supermarket chain Aldi), where store brands tend to connote “no frills” cheapness and inferiority, Trader Joe’s generic goods have succeeded in conveying quality, familiarity, and originality all through the brand itself. Rather than ask the consumer to choose among different brands, the Trader Joe’s consumer just has to pick which products they like most. This strategy appears to work. In a recent survey, TJ’s customers were the most satisfied of any grocery stores, despite the crowds of harried customers, crowded parking lots, and long checkout lines one often encounters there.

But the lines and packed lots themselves can be reassuring, that you have come to the right place, that you are adapting to what “everyone else” is doing. It seems like the only option, just like its limited product choices. Trader Joe’s overall in-store aesthetic tries to consolidate these genteel inconveniences into a nostalgic evocation of old-time neighborhood mom ‘n pop stores: the mini-coffee bar with its free samples, the pseudo-cultured feel provided by the “ethnic” and very not-PC types of not-white Joe’s on store-brand packaging, like Trader Giotto (Italian foods) and Trader Ming (Chinese food) and Trader Jose’s (Mexican-ish) — note there is no African-American Joe. Everything at TJ’s is suggestive of a time when life was supposedly simpler, more traditional (e.g. homogeneous) — long before the big-box superstore, parking lots the size of football fields, and the proliferation of brands in the aisles and on social media.

As part of this strategy, the company is reticent about advertising: It restricts its marketing mainly to its almanac-like “Fearless Flyer” circular that conjures quaint images of old letterpresses and coupon-clipping grandmas. No social media, no email marketing, few radio ads, no television or newspaper ads. Part of Trader Joe’s appeal is that customers always already seem to know they are supposed to shop there, that they belong.

This runs counter to current brand-management strategy. Whereas other brands are joining platforms like WhatsApp or sliding into consumers’ DMs to try to maximize engagement, Trader Joe’s privileges the IRL, restricting its brand to in-store experiences and refusing to participate in social media.



Though Trader Joe’s lack of social-media presence can be disconcerting to some of the store’s most fervent fans, it retains its particular appeal by playing hard to get. Social-media messaging would only muddle the company’s effort to sell its massively popular corporate brand as a neighborhood secret.

From the start, in 1967, “Trader Joe” Coulombe devised his “low-priced gourmet-cum-health-food store” with an “unemployed PhD student” in mind as the ideal customer. As he explained in 1985 to the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, he foresaw that this would be a “growing category.” Coulombe anticipated that these savvy, well-educated types would be alienated by mainstream advertising techniques, particularly ones that targeted an ignorance or lack in the consumer with products that were supposed to somehow fix it. Trader Joe’s customers would be presumed to already fully know who they are and what they want — imported cheeses, organic foods, relatively healthy prepared meals, international delicacies, microbrews, California wines — they only lacked means. Selling two-buck chuck to the broke graduate student became emblematic of Trader Joe’s philosophy: good-enough wine at a bargain price for those wise enough to be in the know. If Trader Joe’s started advertising, seeming to put everyone in the know, the wine might not seem so drinkable all of a sudden.

Trader Joe’s rejection of social media extends this approach. If Trader Joe’s were to join social media and chat with consumers, would that not just create the feeling of a fake, forced relationship? The right sort of customer craving the right sort of authenticity doesn’t need to vicariously latch on to brands on social media to feel complete. They aren’t slaves to Facebook or Twitter either. They have a “real” relationship with Trader Joe’s, grounded in going to the store, being there, being present. Trader Joe’s will not tweet at you. The only way to be recognized by Trader Joe’s is to have the cheery cashiers remember your name, to riff on Seinfeld-isms with some bearded guy serving samples of kung pao chicken with a side of brown rice. At Trader Joe’s, it’s IRL or nothing.

This standoffishness from social media purports to be a matter of Trader Joe’s refusing to make clumsy efforts at branding itself, but it is really a masterstroke of brand consistency. We buy the brand, we eat the brand, we return for more — but we never truly know the brand as a personality. But this absence is the brand’s essence. It is the aloof, invulnerable person that doesn’t want to “connect,” a celebrity who doesn’t need Twitter. Its Instagram is private, for friends-only.

It would seem like this strategy could backfire with millennials, who are less likely to privilege IRL over online, if they even bother to distinguish them. But Joe doesn’t need to be your “friend” online. He doesn’t want a Tinderized relationship. Trader Joe’s is counting on capturing successive generations of its target consumers by being the choice for no-choices, the place where generic brands can feel exclusive. You’ll know without having to be told. You’ll buy without ever wondering if you’ve made the wrong choice."
aliciaeler  branding  business  marketing  traderjoes  supermarkets  socialmedia  aldi  aesthetics  1967  2016 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Inside the secret world of Trader Joe's - Aug. 23, 2010
[via: http://givemesomethingtoread.com/post/1003158776/inside-the-secret-world-of-trader-joes ]

"Few customers realize the chain is owned by Germany's ultra-private Albrecht family, the people behind the Aldi Nord supermarket empire…Albrechts have passed their tightlipped ways on to their U.S. business: Trader Joe's and its CEO, Dan Bane, declined repeated requests to speak to Fortune, and the company has never participated in a major story about its business operations.

Some of that may be because Trader Joe's business tactics are often very much at odds with its image as the funky shop around the corner that sources its wares from local farms and food artisans. Sometimes it does, but big, well-known companies also make many of Trader Joe's products. Those Trader Joe's pita chips? Made by Stacy's, a division of PepsiCo's (PEP, Fortune 500) Frito-Lay. On the East Coast much of its yogurt is supplied by Danone's Stonyfield Farm. And finicky foodies probably don't like to think about how Trader Joe's scale enables the chain to sell a pound of organic lemons for $2."
traderjoes  business  food  fortune  marketing  retail  2010  aldi 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Curbed LA: Afternoon Thinkage: No One Walks In LA - Except to Trader Joe's
"Is Trader Joe's the one retailer that will get Angelenos out of their cars and actually walking? With two relatively new Trader Joe's now open in Westwood (with restored pedestrian crosswalks) and West Hollywood(ish), we've noticed an marked uptick in the number of pedestrians actually out on the streets, clearly identified as Trader Joe's customers by their grocery bags." + First comment: "Trader Joe's is secretly funded by urban theorists! Make parkind difficult enough, and people will walk!"
traderjoes  urbanism  walking  losangeles  parking 
march 2009 by robertogreco
99-cent fine dining (kottke.org)
"Henry Alford prepared all his meals for a week using ingredients purchased from 99-cent stores...Trader Joe's shoppers are already accustomed to those constraints."
cooking  food  traderjoes  creativity  shopping  constraints 
march 2008 by robertogreco

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