Shopping

Here's Why Trader Joe's Will Never Embrace Online Shopping: ‘The Experience Would Not Be the Same'

Maddie Meyer | Getty Images

Don't expect to be able to order a block of Trader Joe's Unexpected Cheddar or a bag of Chili & Lime rolled corn chips to your door any time soon.

The latest episode of the popular supermarket's in-house podcast, "Inside Trader Joe's," explains why the chain doesn't offer online shopping like competitors Aldi, Publix and Kroger, and is instead happy to keep running its business the way it has since it was founded in 1967.

One reason is simple: money. Building out a robust delivery operation would involve creating a network of warehouses to store products, as well as a delivery system to get those products to customers' doors.

For a brand that closely watches its bottom line to keep prices low, it's a non-starter.

"We love being a real place for a whole bunch of reasons and not just because it's where we started," co-host Matt Sloan said. "It's because we're good at it, and it's because we know how to go about it. And it's because doing it allows us to keep doing it really well, without any of the distractions and all of the costs that ultimately might get passed onto those shopping with us."

But an even more important factor is that for Trader Joe's, the in-store experience is part of the draw for shoppers in the first place.

With a constantly rotating selection of products, Trader Joe's has trained customers to come into the store expecting to find something new and exciting with each visit.

"That experience would not be the same if you were trying to order something from a website that just showed you the products you already know about," co-host Tara Miller said on the podcast.

She added that with online shopping, customers "tend to have blinders on" because they are only looking for specific products.

"When you walk into a Trader Joe's, you're confronted with products you may not have ever seen before," she said. "That's part of the Trader Joe's experience."

The "treasure hunt" aspect of customers looking for fun new treats, coupled with the supermarket chain's famously friendly employees, have combined to create a recipe for success that Trader Joe's isn't keen on messing with.

"There's also a bunch of efficiencies that come with being an [brick and mortar] grocery store," Sloan said. "Anything other than that, we're neither set up to do, we're not really interested in, we won't be good at, and it would only just add cost."

Copyright CNBC
Contact Us