I know it probably sounds contradictory since I’m a shopper insights specialist. But like many shoppers I’ve interviewed through shop-alongs, focus groups, and quant studies over the years — those with and without kids, full-time jobs or not – I consider grocery shopping a chore.
- Create meal plan — CREATIVE
- Search for new recipes (and cuisines) to try – FUN
- Make a shopping list including non-food items needed – RELATIVELY PAINLESS
- Figure out where I need to go and hit the road – JUST PLAIN ‘UGH’
Problem is, this is never a one-stop shopping experience.
In a typical week, my itinerary might look something like this…
– Costco for personal care/household supplies and stocking up on a good deal (Where else can you buy three racks of ribs for $35?)
– Whole Foods or farmer’s market for organic fresh produce, meat/poultry, eggs and dairy
– Roundy’s for fresh baked bread, condiments, and baking supplies
So, in order to complete my mission, I need to shop FOUR different stores. Bottom line is, it’s inconvenient and time consuming.
There is, however, one exception – a visit that seems ‘fun’ every time.
I visit Trader Joe’s knowing exactly what I need to buy. Yet I still find something new that grabs my attention, causes me to linger and often results in an unexpected purchase.
All I have to do is spend a minute looking at something when an employee appears to offer their assistance. This usually leads to my asking a question like, “Have you tried these black bean quinoa chips?”
Then they’ll open the package and offer me a sample. YUM! I’ve just found my new snack.
In a store filled with ‘private label’ products, they sure know how to make shopping an adventure for me, every time. And I find myself talking about my Trader Joe’s visits a lot. (I can’t tell you how many people I’ve turned into “cookie butter fans.”)
Given my positive experiences at Trader Joe’s, I wonder…how can my other “chore stores” transform me into a curious and engaged shopper?
According to Doug Rauch, former President of Trader Joe’s, companies should focus on culture and then build a strategy.
“Culture is the DNA of a company. A successful company culture includes living the company’s core values and offering a consistent experience.”
This starts with happy employees. Happy employees feel valued, embrace your company’s core beliefs and are enthusiastic about their job. This translates to happy customers.
- Train employees to recognize and address shoppers’ needs and preferences
- Give them the freedom to make product recommendations and offer samples
- Encourage them to create a dialogue with customers that provides an ongoing source of feedback for improvements/innovation