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The Big Red Fez

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Lessons Learned from Trader Joe’s

I was talking with a colleague today about the magic of Trader’s. Here’s how they make billions:

1.    they target a consumer that cares a great deal about what they buy at the supermarket. As a result, their customers are more loyal, and more important, are willing to drive farther to get there. This means they can have smaller, lower-rent locations (and fewer of them) which drives up sales per square foot and profits.

2.    These customers are big mouths. They sneeze. When they serve something from Trader’s they brag about, they tell the story of the store. This drives down advertising costs.

3.    Most of what they sell is private label. Now that they have scale, they are able to negotiate great prices from their suppliers, and more important, encourage/force their suppliers to make unique items, or organic foods, or foods of higher quality for the money. All of this is a virtuous cycle. The key mantra is that Trader’s finds foods for its customers, NOT customers for its foods.

I think these three steps are viable for a wide range of businesses and sectors. One example to stretch your thinking: the TED conference. It’s in a remote location, one that’s probably a bit cheaper than some. People who care are happy to shlep. And they love to talk about it. And because the audience is so focused, the speakers come for free, further enhancing the cycle. If it works for supermarkets and high-end business conferences, where else does it work?

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Lessons Learned from Trader Joe’s:

» Lessons Learned from Trader Joe’s from WebMetricsGuru
Seth Godin mentions the TED conference he went to last year as an example of catering to an extremely loyal audience; if you get enough enthusiastic loyalists you can have a conference in a remote location and get people to... [Read More]

» Trader Joe's from scotthodge.org
Seth has a great post about one of my favorite places to grab groceries.... Trader Joe's! He says (about TJ): They target a consumer that cares a great deal about what they buy at the supermarket. As a result, their [Read More]

» Ataque de nostalgia: Trader Joe's from El Blog de Enrique Dans
Seth Godin escribe hoy una interesante entrada acerca de las razones del éxito de Trader Joe's, toda una lección de como construir un imperio en distribución haciendo muchas cosas diferentes a las que se suelen hacer en los supermercados convencional... [Read More]

» MLM Lessons from Trader Joe's from MultiLeveler
Seth Godin is my favorite Network Marketer. (more on this later)Here, Seth shares some of the lessons that can be learned from Trader Joe's. I have paraphrased them below:1. They target a customer that cares a great deal about what... [Read More]

» Telling a story without realizing. from larry borsato
I miss Trader Joe's. They don't have any locations in Canada, so [Read More]

» Lessons Learned from Trader Joe’s from chew shop
Seth Godin has a great post about wife's FAVORITE place to grab unique groceries....Trader Joe's: 1. They target a consumer that cares a great deal about what they buy at the supermarket. As a result, their customers are more loyal, [Read More]

» Marketing to Pet Food to the Trader Joe's Crowd from The Dish!
What do a pet store in Boston and Trader Joe's have in common? I would have said the answer was, nothing, duh! until I read Seth Godin's recent post on the Trader Joe's core consumer. I've been thinking a lot [Read More]

» Seen Around the Web - May 25, 2006 from Michael on High-Tech Product Management & Marketing
Hello friends, just wanted to share some links I read recently on subjects related to product management and product marketing. I liked them a lot, and thought you might too. What You Can Learn From Trader Joe's Seth Godin, the... [Read More]

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The 20th Century died last week. Decades, epochs, and eras never end just because the calendar claims they do. What ends eras is society waking up to a changed world and collectively saying, Hey, theres something different going on her... [Read More]

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