The Five Lessons From Trader Joe’s Unbeatable Customer Experience

Walking into Trader Joe’s is unlike walking into any other grocery store. From the Hawaiian shirt uniforms to the bright murals and welcoming store layout, Trader Joe’s is truly one of a kind. It’s unique approach to shopping is working, as it regularly makes the list for best customer experience and top customer satisfaction—besting even Amazon. Here are five things companies in any industry can learn from Trader Joe’s unbeatable customer experience.

  • Trader Joe’s leads in customer satisfaction and employee engagement.
  • Trader Joe’s unique approach to grocery shopping pays off with incredibly loyal customers.
  • Investing in employees creates a happy atmosphere where workers want to help customers with a smile.
  • The store doesn’t have coupons, sales or rewards cards but simplifies the grocery experience so customers know exactly what they’re getting.
  • A convenient and fun experience removes the stress from shopping while also providing great products and value.

1. Start with engaged employees. One of the most noticeable things about Trader Joe’s is its happy employees. It’s easy to tell that Trader Joe’s employees love their jobs, and a large reason for that is because the company invests in employee experience. Trader Joe’s pays its employees competitive wages and offers health care benefits to even part-time employees. The company came in at number 23 on the best places to work, according to Glassdoor. Great places to work often offer superior customer experience because employees are valued, engaged and ready to make a difference. At Trader Joe’s, employees’ happy attitudes are contagious and the joy they feel for their jobs and their customers is obvious. Employees are encouraged to go above and beyond and have the freedom to find unique ways to help customers. That matters to customers—they want to feel appreciated instead of being an inconvenience.

2. Keep it simple. Trader Joe’s breaks the mold of most grocery store chains with no sales, rewards cards or coupons. It keeps the shopping experience simple by providing great products to customers at great prices every day. Customers know exactly what they’re getting when they come into Trader Joe’s and how much it will cost. The company prides itself on delivering value by selling almost exclusively items under the Trader Joe’s label. Producing its own line of every item in the store cuts costs and the number of products on the shelves. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by multiple brands, sizes and deals on products, customers only have a few options for each item, which provides a much simpler shopping experience. The top customer frustration is feeling cheated by hidden fees, and Trader Joe’s stands for the complete opposite.

3. Relax. Shoppers are often stressed and rushed when they go shopping. Instead of capitalizing on that, Trader Joe’s takes things in the opposite direction with a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Small things like fun stickers for kids, a search for the hidden stuffed animal or free samples make a difference. Each Trader Joe’s has unique artwork to reflect the local neighborhood, which creates a personal feel. This definitely isn’t your typical grocery store chain—it’s a fun and relaxed alternative that provides great products and value without the stodginess and stress.

4. Provide convenience. In our rushed society, Trader Joe’s provides convenience for customers to help them get in and out of the store as quickly as possible. Although it doesn’t offer self-checkout, lines move quickly with plenty of employees and limited delays. Trader Joe’s also sells a huge variety of prepackaged foods that make it easy for customers to get a quick and healthy meal or snack on the go. With unique flavors and a global flair, these items are customer favorites they can’t get anywhere else.

5. Listen to customers. Customers have the power at Trader Joe’s. Employees are more than willing to listen to customers. When customers complained that the store used too much plastic packaging, especially with its produce, Trader Joe’s announced it would start packaging items in more eco-friendly packaging and stop offering single-use plastic bags. Stores have also changed their hours and products based on feedback from customers, which can easily be given online or in-store. Customers can also request to try any item in the store, even if it isn’t the designated sample for the day. Listening to customers and actually considering their input makes a huge difference in customer experience and helps customers feel valued and understood.

By bucking many industry trends, Trader Joe’s creates an unbeatable customer experience that can be emulated by brands in any industry. The store focuses on creating amazing individual experiences and builds real relationships instead of just pushing products. Relaxing, having fun and valuing customers and employees pays off in spades at Trader Joe’s.

This article was originally published on

Blake Morgan is a keynote speaker, customer experience futurist and the author of two books including her new “The Customer Of The Future.” Stay in touch with her weekly on her newsletter.

Share this post