True Confessions of A Trader Joe’s Shopper

>> Monday, December 6, 2010

I never really saw myself as a loyal grocery store shopper. Aren't all grocery stores the same? Sure, I had my usual store, but that was just because it was close to home and had good product variety. If there was a similar store close by, I wouldn't have any problems switching. It's just groceries after all...

Or is it?

Since I've lived in New York, I've turned into a very loyal Trader Joe's shopper. I go there so often, I can list all of their products and prices. Last weekend, I decided to venture out and try WholeFoods. I spent five minutes cruising the aisles and then turned around and walked to Trader Joe's. I couldn't take it. I needed to feel at home. I needed my TJ fix.

There's something bigger than 59-cent apples keeping me hungry for my next TJ visit. It's the overall Trader Joe's experience.

When you walk though Trader Joe's door, you know what you are going to get. You know where to find your favorite products. The atmosphere is cool, friendly, relaxed and authentic, and employees actually seem happy to help you even though the place is packed like sardines (Trader Joe's sells some great sardines by the way).

So, how can we turn my love for TJ’s into something helpful and beneficial to marketers interested in wellness? It is all about creating experiences.

You don’t have to be a retail grocery chain to create a meaningful experience for consumers. With the popularity of popup stores and consumer experience design, there are infinite opportunities for wellness brands to get into the experiential marketing mix. For instance, Sanofi-Aventis and the Prevent Cancer Foundation placed a 20-foot long inflatable colon in Times Square as part of a cross-country colorectal-cancer awareness tour. The foundation claims they have seen a trend of increases in screenings, and a reduction of mortality rates since the tour’s launch.

There is one key thing that I’ve learned from all of these examples: an effective branded experience needs to be:
• Relevant
• Multi-sensory
• Emotional
• Differentiating

It doesn’t seem to matter if you are selling turkeys for the holidays or encouraging people to take care of their health, the experiences that make the greatest impact includes each of these four elements. So this holiday season as popup stores are popping up everywhere, keep your eyes out for these elements, and see if they include everything on the list.

Until then, let’s just go to Trader Joe’s.

Stay well, be well.

Ryan Drumwright
Junior Planner


Anonymous,  December 7, 2010 at 10:18 AM  

Ryan thank you for your comments! I love TJ and with the turn in the economy it is great to know I can go to a store and get good food and great products. And the prices are terrific!

Happy Holidays!

Vinod Natesan December 11, 2010 at 1:16 AM  

Interesting.All the best Ryan!
Season's best.
Vinod Natesan
Mumbai India

cXChuck December 12, 2010 at 12:01 PM  

You are absolutely right. There is a rich history of robust experience examples in retail--and with the wide acceptance of mobile tech, consumers are even more in control of their experiences. I love that the health and wellness community is using these techniques.

RyanDrumwright December 22, 2010 at 6:02 PM  

Thank you so much for the comments!

@Vinod- Thank you so much! Hope all is well in Mumbai! Happy holidays and I hope you have a great new year! See you on Facebook! :)

@Chuck- Thanks for your comment! I appreciate you checking out the post. I just finished taking a look at your blog. Nice work. I really liked the Ten Principles of Good Design post.

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