Trader Joe’s has a distinct and specified image in an extremely crowded, competitive grocery space. While most grocery market chains have a hard time to eke out really little margins, Trader Joe’s profits soar.
How do they do it? Let me count the ways.IT’S FUN.A grocery
shop? Fun?It’s true, it’s tough not to smile in Trader Joe’s. There’s the eccentric music choice playing overhead(believe”More Bounce to the Ounce”by Zapp and Roger into “Alive and Kicking” by Basic Minds). The freshly prepared totally free samples at the back of the shop no matter what time you’re there. The worker strolling around with the goofy huge enigma readily available to answer concerns. The Hawaiian t-shirts. The packed animal always concealed someplace in the shop for kids to find.IT’S SMALL.Read: focused. Far much easier to browse than many supermarkets, yet vastly wider choices than your normal small grocery shop.
We’ve blogged a few times on the tyranny of option. Rather than providing a benefit to the customer, too much choice and choice typically develops nothing more than tension. At Trader Joe’s, you know where whatever is and can usually get in and out quickly.IT’S SYNONYMOUS WITH QUALITY.I do not generally purchase generic brands. I like Heinz ketchup, French’s mustard and Vlassic pickles. In the common supermarket
, I completely ignore the generic brand names for products like these. Piggly Wiggly ketchup? No thank you. I would not even want to think about where it may have come from.But Trader Joe’s brand names? An absolutely different story. You trust them– they did their research and discovered a better pickle. Trader Joe’s made their generic brand names cool, due to the fact that they made their brand name cool.THEY READ RIES & TROUT’S MARKETING WARFARE AND DISCOVERED HOW TO PLAY EXCELLENT OFFENSE. Rather than being similar to Whole Foods, the leader in the healthy, gourmet grocery classification, Trader Joe’s found the”weak point in their strength “and attacked it. Where Whole Foods takes itselfextremely seriously & to the point of being stuffy, Trader Joe’s is enjoyable and whimsical. Entire Foodsis expensive. Trader Joe’s is premium on the low-cost. Entire Foods’ color is green. Trader Joe’s is red. As marketing/positioning experts Al Ries and Jack Trout might say, Whole Foods as the category leader is playing an ideal video game of defense, while Trader Joe’s as an opposition is playing a perfect video game of offense– which isn’t really being much better than the category leader, it’s taking a various technique than the category leader.Trader Joe’s isn’t that different from Whole Foods when it pertains to the products it stocks. No Trader Joe’s branded items have high fructose corn syrup or GMOs, and their seafood comes from sustainable sources. It’s simply that whatever else around it is the opposite.Radio stations discover themselves in fights with format competitors every day.
It is easy to obtain caught up in thinking only in granular terms. We both play 80s music, but we’ll do it better than them. We both have big ensemble morning shows, however ours will be funnier than theirs. We both have big contests, however we’ll provide away more money or tickets to hotter shows.The Trader Joe’s
lesson is that you beat a leader not by being better. You win by finding the fundamental weak point in their strength and creating your points of differentiation. A few of the most successful brand names are categories in and of themselves.Do your research. Discover your lane. Define your base position, then develop brand depth.Just do not use Hawaiian shirts and ring bells. That position’s currently taken.