When COVID-19 drove consumers into the digital shopping space and struck fear in the less tech-savvy ones, curbside pickup and third-party home delivery became a no-brainer for grocery stores nationwide.
While Whole Foods and Walmart hustle to dominate the digital playground for internet shoppers way before the pandemic, one grocer chose to leave the fighting to the big boys.
An earlier B.R.A.N.D. Freeze moment of the late Joe Coulombe, founder of Trader Joe's revealed that this grocery store is all about being different. But is her refusal to sell products online, offer curbside pickup, or home delivery just a rebellious act to go against the current?
D: The Store as the Brand
Any business leader will tell you that making goods available online is an obvious solution to boost sales volume and grow your reach. However, shopping at a physical store is a non-compromising component of the brand experience for Trader Joe's customers.
"The store is our brand" is one of this grocer's values, which is one of the driving forces (ie. the 'D' as defined in the B.R.A.N.D. System) behind how Trader Joe's does things every day.
One would think that coronavirus would have forced the hand of this grocery store to sell online. She did not budge. The store took all the necessary precautions, kept her customers informed of store hours and traffic limitations, and customers continued coming.
A: DESIGNING THE EXPERIENCE
Businesses with multiple retail spaces are likely to receive professionally printed signs, posters, and banners from their corporate office for display on site. It's more cost-effective anyway. However, when you step into a Trader Joe's, it's hard not to see the hand-drawn and hand-written signs from shelf tags to large wall displays.
Each store has her group of artists who produce these unique visible elements daily. They are part of the team; stocking the shelves, working the cash registers, and also doodling in the back room. Trader Joe's invests in and values individuals with such skills because it is part of her brand.
This national chain takes pride in being your neighborhood grocery store. Murals and images reflective of the community she is in is just another way Trader Joe's seeks to connect with her customers. More importantly, you can always count on an engaging conversation with a crew member or two during a visit. And a face mask will not get in the way.
How did Trader Joe's respond during COVID-19? Learn more here.