Sneaky Ways Trader Joe’s Gets You To Spend Money


Narrator: Okay, so imagine
yourself at the grocery store. You’re hungry but you don’t
really feel like cooking. I guess pasta’s pretty easy. Suddenly you’re faced with this. So many choices. You go for the classic tomato basil? How ’bout creamy alfredo? But what exactly is the
difference between these two or these three? Wait. Why is this so hard? Trader Joe’s is the surfy,
laid back grocery chain known for its cheap prices
and floral-print-clad staff. Data science professionals
have ranked it number one in customer preference
for two years running. The brand has held off on going high tech. They keep it simple with no online store, no loyalty programs, and no sales. When you break it down to square footage, Trader Joe’s is actually selling more than double its
competitors like Whole Foods. But how much money you
spend at Trader Joe’s ultimately comes down to
what you are choosing to buy. But what about Trader Joe’s
makes it so easy to choose? Barry Schwartz: I spent, I’ve spent the last 25 years studying how people make decisions. Narrator: That’s Barry Schwartz, a psychologist, a professor, and a Trader Joe’s enthusiast himself. Schwartz: I think Trader
Joe’s is the best example of how the world should be constructed. Narrator: Whoa, take it easy there Barry. Barry coined the term
the paradox of choice and quite literally wrote the book on it and it basically describes how you would think that the more– Schwartz: Choice we have,
the better off we are. That turns out empirically not to be true. When you give people too many options, they get paralyzed instead of liberated. Narrator: The store has always focused on a unique selection of products rather than a large amount of them. I wanted to find out if there
was choice-limiting going on at Trader Joe’s. So I went to my local
market to count some things. I counted 144 pasta sauces, 44 olive oils, and 172 cereals. That’s a lot of choices. So then I went to Trader Joe’s. And they had an approachable
14 pasta sauces to choose from. Same goes for olive oils,
canned beans, and cereals. At Trader Joe’s, there’s
simply less to choose from. So then I asked Barry if
he thought Trader Joe’s perhaps had inklings of the
paradox of choice in mind when designing their shopping experience. Schwartz: I think it’s
completely inadvertence. Narrator: Well then what
exactly would explain why Trader Joe’s practices a scaled down approach to shopping? Schwartz: Probably did it as
a way of controlling costs. Managing inventory, you know,
simplifying the supply chain. And somebody thought that if you offered other kinds of value,
people would be willing to forgo options. You can’t have everything
but anything we’ve got is worth having and we
make your life simpler. Narrator: In fact, when you look at Trader Joe’s humble beginnings, the original Joe, Joe Coulombe, founded the business on
quality over quantity. Trader Joe’s made $13.3 billion in 2017 a number that’s likely going up. The core of any business
is the customer service which Trader Joe’s excels at. The employees, or crewmembers
as they’re called, are all extremely attentive and helpful. In short, they’re there
to make your life easier. This ideology is embodied
in their food as well specifically their frozen food. And Americans have always
had a certain affection for a heat-and-serve mentality. Frozen dinners are easy,
fast, and little mess. However, about half the time,
the frozen section aisle remains pretty empty. According to Phil Lempert,
a supermarket analyst, this is due to the frosty
barrier of the freezer section. Opening that icy cold door likely means you’ve already committed
to purchasing something which doesn’t tend to lead
to much product discovery. Compare that to Trader
Joe’s open freezer bins and you can start to see the difference. There’s no glass door and
the low level of freezers bring shoppers physically
closer to the products. It allows the freedom to
check out the packaging more leisurely and without
the blast of cold air. So tons of effort being put
forward to get customers to the product, the products themselves
have to be good, right? Trader Joe’s products
are marketed as healthy and the products aren’t
the same old things we usually see in grocery stores. No Lay’s, no Heinz and
it’s mostly Trader Joe’s own private label. They buy straight from the supplier which ultimately cuts costs
and leads to cheaper products on the shelves. The products themselves
are colorful, quirky, and have a consistent branding. To find out a little bit
more about the effects of good branding, I called Denise Lee Yohn who is a– Denise Lee Yohn: A speaker,
writer, and consultant on brand building and brand leadership. and brand leadership. Narrator: She’s done her
homework when it comes to Trader Joe’s. And I wanted to know more about what goes into the packaging design. Yohn: Okay, so it’s
usually kind of hand drawn or it’s not looking like it’s
computer generated, right? There are usually caricatures and then there’s some descriptive copy. And all of that I think helps the person, the shopper, kind of see how this product
fits into their need. There’s an element of discovery, like finding a new product
you didn’t know existing. Narrator: In an interview, the former head of packaging design at Trader Joe’s said that the hand drawn aesthetic invokes feelings of the human
touch and artisanal quality. It can be easy to opt for takeout when thinking about stepping
into the grocery store after a long day. But the subtle combination
of tactics employed by Trader Joe’s makes shopping a legitimately enjoyable experience. It gets you excited about
something uniquely human, cooking and eating your food.

Zane Wilson

100 Responses

  1. Cheap my ass. Trader Joe's in terms of serving size and volume they are not cheap when compared to a regular Supermarket. Sure quality maybe better, but they fool you on the size and volume they offer, and will have you spending double to maintain.

  2. I’m a Trader Joe’s employee, and here’s something I just found out. Not that this is top secret info, but I didn’t know til recently. Some of the wine we carry, specifically the Reserve wines, are super duper cheap wines from all over the world. But TJ’s pays the winery cash up-front, and then gets to take some of that wine and slap a TJ label on it. But it could be anything. Recently we got a “Platinum Reserve” Cabernet and that shit was like… 13 bucks? Thing is, in reality, that bottle would’ve cost like $50+ if it wasn’t from us.

  3. Please do HEB!!! They’re the dominant supermarket in South and east Texas!! They are only based in Texas but somehow rank better than national stores. One of a kind store

  4. 39 is a small choice of cereal?! In my country, when we have 15 options we think that that's more that enough

  5. 5:12 You said … "Leads to CHEAPER products on the shelf"
    That sounds like a slogan the .99 Store would use.
    At Trader Joe's we don't use the word "CHEAP" … because that sounds like the product is inferior.

    Instead we say … "A Good Value"
    Now … doesn't that sound better?
    🙂 Thanks for Listening.

  6. I love trader Joe's .I never heard of it before. But I open the store in Orlando and I love it. We have the best customers.♥️♥️♥️

  7. I didnt know what trade joe was i opened tab to search for it. Then hears the narrator say company has no online store no loyaly program. Guess all i do now is listen. I search for location there none in Alaska. Have to wait till go back down to florida

  8. I worked for Trader Joe’s back in the 1970’s when they only had something like 15 stores total (including Pronto Markets). Back then, the Trader Joe’s locations were nothing more than a glorified 7/11, that sold overpriced, everyday grocery products. Back then, they specialized more in domestic and imported wines as well as liquor products. The chain was bought out by one of the Aldi brothers which created the huge, almost totally nationwide expansion of almost 500 locations and counting. I would say if it were not for Aldi, the chain would not be what it is today. The competing Aldi company (south) has opened a huge number of Aldi stores in the US, which ironically have a limited selection of products, just like Trader Joe’s. The Trader Joe’s location I worked in the majority of my time there, is still operating as a current day Trader Joe’s, but the physical interior layout and decor of the store is nothing like it was when I was there. My store was much better back then, than it is today, in my opinion.

  9. 90% of the times ive gone to the closest trader joes near me I swear I’m the only minority in the whole store

  10. at walmart I run out of breath. Dont know what to buy. End up buying what i didnt intend to buy
    I go home and regret it. Curse them off….
    So I shop at Trader Joes every week, and walmart 2-3 times a yr.

  11. Thats so right i never go in the frozen food section in other super market unless to get ice cream but joes i am buying frozen meals and cheesecake and all sort of frozen stuff i would never normally buy

  12. Trader Joe's hides behind natural flavors and distributed by. Consumers demand to know who makes the food. Enough is enough.

  13. I love Trader Joe's and wish I'd shop there more often but the lines are so long!
    👋🏿😬😖😵😬😖😵😬😖😵👍🏿

  14. I avoid Trader Joe’s at all cost. Trader Joe’s is designed for the single person with a disposable income ,who is a daily grocery shopper . If you are on a fixed income, or buying in bulk for a family Trader Joe’s
    tiny bags of product , in the long run is not cost effective at all.

  15. These are actually good and “ethical” tactics to lure in customers. Simplify choices, buy direct from producers, have quality items at lower prices

  16. Trader Joe's has been my saving grace since going vegan. I don't feel like I'm finding a needle in a haystack when looking for products I can eat!

  17. The stores are also smaller in size which makes them easier to navigate and takes away the fatigue of checking 20+ aisles. The food samples also take the edge off that after-work hunger to make it easier to load up a cart and avoid the urge to get takeout afterwards. The cashiers also often compliment some item that shoppers purchase… pretty sure they're trained to do so.

  18. i havent been into a trader joes before but i have had their sweet and salty popcorn, and its amazing
    its great to see great things about the store aswell

  19. My friends and I just walk around Trader Joe's and chill, because we know we gonna have a good time. DAMN them chips though; they FIRE!

  20. Me: watches video about how Trader Joe’s tricks me to buy things

    Also Me: eats my Trader Joe’s maple and sea salt kettle corn while watching

  21. You know you live under a rock when you realize that you’ve never heard of a store that was a number one customer preference like me…

  22. Trader Joes must be REALLY sneaky to get me to spend money, considering I live in another country and they don't operate here.

    Very devious.

  23. TJ is the only grocery store I get excited to shop for groceries. It isn't draining as other stores can be, I know the quality never compromised and prices are right. Plus, the fact that they're offering a ton of vegan options with new products coming out every other season is awesome. We literally don't move out from our current place just because how convenient it is to go to TJ on a whim. And I truly appreciate how they treat their employee. There is a big difference between going to Walmart and Trader Joe's on the same day, I feel sad for one's employees whereas I am delighted to see how most seem to be thriving at TJs.

  24. My mom gets us food from cheap places for like 30$ for a day and then in trader Joes I get 20$ of food for three day+ .x . And we do
    Wonder why we are broke

  25. Absolutely love that company and their products. I grew up with them in California but I moved to a Southern state that did not have any Trader Joes. 😢 Now that they have just opened up one I am doing all my grocery shopping there again. Screw the local stores. I would rather have less choices and higher quality products for a good price.

  26. Easy: I walk in with 12 dollars, I walk out with orange juice, two spicy hummus dips, corn chips and tortilla chips! And some changs to spare!

  27. Another thing is how they have pictures of the food on almost all of the packaging which makes it look so good and is almost aspirational

  28. I hate Trader Joe's there are always WAAY too many people there, no matter what time you go and a lot of their products taste like ass. The Oreos suck

  29. Me : enjoying this vid so much, watched it 2x

    Also Me : realized i live in Asia, the Philippines and there's no TJ store here just yet

  30. Sure Trader Joe’s is affordable, but they have one big flaw. Over populated customers.
    It’s almost impossible to shop at a Trader Joe’s without bumping into somebody else.

  31. At my Trader Joe’s they have little carts for the kids. My son loves going there, he pushes the cart, he gets stickers from the cashier. They let him give them the items for them to scan. They also have scavenger hunts inside to find a hidden stuffed rabbit. You find it, and you get a free piece of chocolate. Love this place!

  32. My boyfriend and I are broke college students and we love shopping at Trader Joe’s. Their salads start as low as 2.79 per bowl. Their ground turkey meat is 2.59 as well for 1 pound. Chicken legs 2-3 dollars a pack. THeir veggies are wayyy less expensive than other stores like Safeway. Pasta is 0.99 each 😌 and their people working are so nice and approachable ♥️

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