Ni trop grand, ni trop petit, ce distributeur alimentaire américain fait vivre une expérience unique et différente à ses consommateurs. Vibrant de couleurs et de textures, des écritaux simples souvent sur ardoises, des étalages diversifiés, ils nous en mettent plein la vue pour nous inciter à consommer. Une formule qui pourrait bien être imitée en 2015 puisqu’elle est en fait très tendance, ce malgré le fait que Trader Joe’s expérimente la formule depuis déjà une cinquantaine d’années! https://www.traderjoes.com
What Trader Joe’s Knows About Making Your Brain Happy
Walking into a Trader Joe’s, my demeanor is noticeably different than when I’m shopping anywhere else. Somehow I don’t mind going there. At times–and it’s still hard for me to believe I’d say this about shopping–I actually look forward to it.
Trader Joe’s (TJ’s to its fans) does something pleasant for my brain, as it does for millions of others. Some of the reasons why are obvious and contribute to TJ’s rising-star status among grocery chains, including a respectable selection of sensibly priced offerings and an emphasis on freshness. The stores are also designed to evoke a different sort of feeling from customers. They’re smaller than typical grocery stores, purposefully staying on the medium to small side at every location, which helps keep things cozy.
And instead of swallowing customers in a sea of color conformity, TJ’s hits you with a splash of color and texture-everything. There’s cedar, there’s brick, there’s bamboo. The colors are vibrant. The scripting on store signs is interesting to read, even if it’s just pointing you to a display of dark chocolate ginger cookies. The setting is comfortably stimulating.
All of that feeds into an overall uplifting effect, but what really makes shopping at TJ’s a boost for the brain are those who work there. Trader Joe’s employees are different, and the difference they bring to their work changes the psychological experience of the store’s customers. There are emotional contagions in the air at TJ’s and its customers catch an infectious psychosocial buzz.
I’ve commented on that skill to several TJ’s staff, and each time I get a shy smile and a response like this: “People really want their groceries bagged well, so I try really hard to get it right.”
I try really hard to get it right. Bagging groceries.
During one especially busy day in the middle of the holidays, I told a guy bagging my groceries at a TJ’s register that his focus was impressive. Without breaking pace he said, “You know, I have to admit I really get into the zone when I’m doing this. It’s like a game of Tetris for me.”
I’ve been to my share of business seminars on motivation and focus, and frankly I think most companies would get more value from having their staff listen to TJ’s employees talk about what fuels their engine when bagging groceries.
So that’s the first thing – hiring people who care. The second thing that’s become clear to me is that the environment in a TJ’s isn’t strictly commercial. It’s a community. I realize that it sounds quaint to say a store has a communal feel, but walk into a TJ’s and the feeling wraps its arms around you. TJ’s employees interact like friends working together at jobs they genuinely enjoy.
In this regard, the company has leveraged another powerful social psych dynamic: by fostering an environment where its employees project a sense of enjoying what they do, and enjoy doing it together, customers are put at ease. When shopping is a comfortable experience, it stands a decent shot of being a pleasant one (and people tend to spend more money).
And I have to think that it’s hard to not feel the uplifting buzz of community when your employer encourages you to cook tasty dishes in the backroom for you and your coworkers to enjoy. “We are always cooking things up,” a TJ’s employee told me while puzzle-piecing my groceries into three bags. “When we get new foods in, we try them out. We eat and drink throughout the day here.”
That’s a smart move by TJ’s management. If you want to energize your employees about just how great your products are, which in turn fosters a “You really should try this!” energy between staff and customers, then you encourage staff to sample and share the vittles.
Perhaps all of this infectious energy has blunted my skepticism (and maybe that’s part of the point), but I feel like there’s more transparency in my dealings with TJ’s than most other places. TJ’s employees are “out there” in the best sense of the term — you engage them, they engage back. There’s nothing robotic or scripted about the transaction. Customers react well to authenticity, whether or not they chat up the staff as I’ve been doing. Authenticity is something you can feel – it’s crucial to the buzz.
What this all amounts to is a shopping experience that changes my mind about shopping experiences. Trader Joe’s proves that even when you get the other elements of the experience right, people still matter most.