How Trader Joe’s kicks Amazon and Whole Foods butts

Let’s start with the facts.
Amazon is a $187 billion dollar a year company whose vision is to take over every aspect of retail.

You heard that right!

Amazon’s vision is that if a customer wants to buy it, Amazon wants to sell it and deliver it. They have already begun taking over grocery, fashion, mattresses, shoes and thousands of other products and services. Coming soon home dinner delivery, pizza, deli, fast food, and coffee.

Amazon wants to sell everything.

There is NO local business product or service that Amazon does not want to take over.
Do not think your local business is too small or that you can hide behind your local niche, quality, and service? Rethink your point of view. Or better yet – decide to fight back and win.
Amazon isn’t a big bad monopoly – yeah it really is but Amazon is also just freaking SMART. They have some of the smartest people in the world working for them. Jeff Bezos is amazingly focused on logistics, communications, technology, delivery, and products to sell everything. He is ten steps ahead of everyone else. Hey, Bezos created Alexa to spy on you and is sending rockets to space. He and Amazon are everywhere.

Amazon is taking over because they KNOW how shoppers have changed.

Shoppers have COMPLETELY changed how they shop. Amazon and the retail giants know that 90% of shoppers search online before they shop. When shoppers search what they find on Google Page 1 are the products of Amazon and the retail giants. They are not finding local businesses and local products even when local businesses may be better in terms of price, quality, and convenience.
Amazon has deployed the best technology, powerful logistics, Amazon delivery, and sophisticated search marketing to take full advantage of these shopper changes. How in the hell does a local business compete with Amazon?

Learn to fight like Trader Joe’s

In 2017, Trader Joe's earned $13.3 billion, yet the brand has no online store, no loyalty programs, and no sales. So how do they do? They do it with great IN-STORE signs, great prices, and real-person service.

Trader Joe’s battleground is IN-STORE signs, great prices, and real person service

    Trader Joe’s is kicking the butts of all of its competitors by using IN-STORE MARKETING. Trader Joe's sells more than double per square foot than its competitors like Whole Foods, which is owned by Amazon. Take a careful look at this Trader Joe’s in-store sign. It is a great sign because it tells a story directly to each shopper who reads it. It “talks.”

    Self-Reflection: Honestly ask yourself this one question about your store, business, or service, “How good are my IN-STORE SIGNS?” You can add to that a second question, “Do I even have IN-STORE SIGNS?”

    The reality is that most local businesses’ in-store marketing is terrible.

    If I can convince you to do one thing to start winning in a major way it would be to study Trader Joe’s signs and make your signs as good or better. Keep this in mind - each sign in your store needs to tell a story. It has to look and feel down-to-earth and real. Don't shout DISCOUNT. Instead, focus on a story that tells what makes this product or service a value to your customers.

  2. Great Prices:

    Trader Joe’s can offer great prices because they don’t WASTE money on advertising. What Trader Joe’s saves by not advertising they pass directly to their shoppers.

    Self-Reflection: Local businesses want to charge the most they can for any product or service. It is only until a local business is going out of business that it starts to think about lowering prices. By then – it is too damn late.

    Here is totally non-traditional advice you can use to become a success –success starts with having a few AMAZING prices. Get known for having a few prices that AMAZE your customers. Change those items and prices every day. Make sure your staff points out each day’s AMAZING items. Before you freak out – it’s not about ALL your prices but the prices on a few key products, services or items.

    Focus on success. Success means you INVEST in doing whatever is necessary to bring customers into your store and giving them a GREAT shopping experience. Success means shoppers THINK of your business when they are shopping.

  3. Real Person Service

    Trader Joe’s employees are focused on customers. They smile. They ask if you need help. They answer questions honestly. Trader Joe’s employees are NEVER on their phones.

    Breaking Research. Just published research from eMarketer Retailer in mind – 90% of shoppers report that “Great Customer Service” is what gets them to shop at a local business time and again.

    The Four Seasons Hotel chain is considered by many as the best hotel in the world because of their customer service. What is customer service? Customer service is what you and your employees do to make customers have a great experience. A great experience means that each customer is talked to, asked questions, educated, and given an authentic connection with a person who cares about their experience. The Four Seasons earned their stellar reputation by training their employees every day on customer service.

    How often do you train your employees? How much do you focus on how you interact with customers? If you are like most local business’ owners, you FALSELY think what you do in terms of customer service is GOOD ENOUGH. Well, here’s the wakeup call – the world has changed and if you don’t focus on Trader Joe’s and Four Seasons customer service you are going to get your butt kicked by Amazon and the retail giants.

    Self-Reflection: Honestly ask yourself how good are my employees when it comes to great service? The truth is for many local businesses they are confused at best about customer service. Ringing the register correctly isn’t customer service. Employees on their smartphones aren't focused on customers and are NOT delivering GREAT customer service. Local businesses, like Trader Joe’s, can kick the butts of Amazon and the retail giants by perfecting – that’s right – perfecting customer service.

    Here is one simple but powerful great customer service statement – “if you have any trouble at any time get right back to us and we’ll take care of it.” Makes you feel good, doesn't it? Most importantly, its something that Amazon and the retail giants can't say.

Here’s how to make Trader Joe’s success secrets work for you!
  1. Create one GREAT In-Store Sign
    • Use the signage tool in your My Local Bee Merchant account to create a GREAT In-Store Sign. Make it simple. Make it something that gets your customers saying, “Wow! That’s a great deal.”
    • Print the sign and tape it just below the product.
  2. Great Prices
    • Most local businesses don’t understand that if there are not a few prices on items in their store, restaurant, or business that AMAZE shoppers then that local business owner is slowly killing his or her business.
    • In today’s markets if you need to be known for a few AMAZING deals. For example, if the local Italian restaurant gets known for $1.00 after-dinner cappuccino then that single price will bring in customers who order expensive dinners just to get that one special deal. Use Las Vegas casino logic! They give away drinks and food to get gamblers to gamble. Neuroscience at work.
    • Wake up! It is time to change. Hell, give that cappuccino away for free. It costs the restaurant less than fifty cents, but customers will tell – actually will be compelled to tell – at least 12 people they know. Why do people tell 12 others when they discover something GREAT? People tell because they get social credit. Their family and friends think more highly of them. Get it? You want people telling other people about you did for them.
  3. Great Service
    • When you focus your business on great customer service you are learning to fight Amazon and the retail giants in ways they cannot replicate. Let’s be damn clear – when fighting Amazon and the retail giants you don’t want to be fair. You want to use your advantage to take business away from them. Local customer service means a REAL person cares about and connects with another real person.
    • Many local businesses are afraid to require GREAT customer service from their employees. Sadly, many employees are so self-absorbed that they can’t be bothered with great customer service. The fault is with the owner. Customer service comes out of the culture of your business. Culture is developed with training and consistent coaching. If an employee doesn’t want to be coached, then get rid of him or her. As the owner of your business, you can make your customer service a powerful force in winning.

Summary: Trader Joe’s is winning. You can win by focusing on great in-store signs, great prices, and great customer service. If you want to earn more revenue and bring shoppers back more often, then focus on these three things– all promoted by your IN-STORE SIGNS. Doing the simplest action is often the very best action you can take.

Share this post:

My Local Bee

Our blog gives you practical insight into partnering with My Local Bee and hundreds of other local businesses.