It turns out, there’s an actual real reason why people love shopping at Trader Joe’s and it’s not just because of those Hawaiian shirts. In a recent interview with Business Insider, psychologist Barry Schwartz discussed the grocer’s uncanny ability to draw in customers in an almost cult-like following.

We’ve long touted the greatness that is Trader Joe’s here at Red Tricycle, so it comes as no surprise that there have been actual, semi-scientific discussions about just what draws people to its doors in droves. Here’s what we found out.

photo: Phillip Pessar via Flickr

For starters, Trader Joe’s has always been about quality over quantity. Its coordinated branding includes simple and fun labeling, not to mention tasty ingredients that go a long way with customers.

While its stores may not carry hundreds of each type of product, the ones they do carry are tried and true. This plays heavily into not only controlling supply costs but also giving customers just enough variety to feel like they have options, but not so many that they can’t make a decision. Needless to say, it’s a solid business model that is ultimately focused on providing the best customer service.

Photo: Daveynin via Flickr.

Trader Joe’s also has the market cornered when it comes to the frozen food aisle. While most of the country’s grocery stores utilize standing freezers with open-and-shut doors that leave the frozen food aisle chilly and uninviting, Trader Joe’s prefers “coffin cases” that are low to the ground and easily accessible.

All those differences make for a warmer shopping experience, not to mention customers who rather enjoy shopping for freezer goods alongside the adjacent non-frozen treats. Instead of the “get in and get out” mentality, patrons can explore products without a blast of cold air in their face.

And about that packaging? It turns out the whimsical hand drawings and catchy descriptions do more than just make the products look good––they also give that human element we all want in life. They make us feel like we need that bag of birthday cake popcorn—even though we just came in for a bag of organic apples.

Checkmate, Trader Joe’s.

––Karly Wood



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