by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Try, if you can, to imagine Germany in 1945, particularly the industrial Ruhr basin. It was, as a result of relentless Allied bombings, pulverized, a scene of complete chaos and confusion. A less likely locale for the birthplace of one of Europe’s greatest fortunes could hardly be imagined. However, ex-German soldiers Karl and Theo Albrecht made it so. Just how they did not only makes for riveting reading… but presents you with one insight after another that will help you bring their golden touch to your business.
Aldi, co-owner of Trader Joe’s, triumphed by delivering no-frills but super-cheap retail offers.
The formula worked like this: Aldi (Trader Joe’s parent company) “concentrated on the basics: a limited selection of goods for daily needs.”
Aldi carries a limited selection of fastest-selling, nonperishable consumer items, a strategy that allowed them to increase order volume, cut handling costs and waste, and buy their goods cheap — savings immediately passed on to the delighted consumer.
The formula delivered one golden result after another. Immediately following World War II, the brothers took over the single grocery store owned by their parents. By 1950, they were running 13 stores. Five years later they had expanded throughout the Ruhr. Rapid Pan-European and U.S. growth (as Trader Joe’s) followed…. as did the multi-billion dollar fortune shared by the brothers.
1 ) Limited Choice
Unlike today’s giant supermarkets where are, say, 50 different spaghetti sauces, at Trader Joe’s you find just a couple. You want spaghetti sauce… you get (excellent) spaghetti sauce… just not every one in creation.
2 ) “Different” brands you may not have seen before.
Trader Joe leaves the well-known national brands we all know to the “big guys.” Instead it specializes in brands you probably didn’t know (before becoming a Trader Joe’s regular) and won’t see on television.
3 ) Simple, simple, simple
Trader Joe stores are smaller than the giant supermarkets. It’s easy to get the lay of the land and, in a jiffy, see where everything lives. By contrast, mega stores can leave you breathless and feeling like an exolorer.
4 ) Fresh (flowers), fresh (bakery) and the best priced wine around (but, as always), limited to a few suppliers
Per the formula, you get the goodies you want… at prices you’ll enthusiastically embrace… but (get the picture?) you won’t get choice. You rely on the buyers at Trader Joe’s to wrestle for good prices on good things on your behalf. Because they succeed, you quickly learn to let them do what they do so well. Who needs 50 spaghetti sauces anyway?
5 ) (Reasonable) service but (characteristically) not lavish
Need help? You may expect (because of the relatively bare bones operation) to whistle for it, or go without. In my experience, the service at Trader Joe’s is about the same as in the giant supermarkets. Particularly in the (awesomely priced) wine department, knowledgeable folk are at hand. (Or, is this just a function of the help at my local neighborhood Trader Joe’s in Cambridge, Massachusetts?) In any case, no complaints here.
6 ) Quirky customer communications
I read the Trader Joe’s newsletter for months before I ever visited. The copy (and being a professional copywriter I notice) was quirky, interesting, and so well written you could almost taste the never generally available specials they touted. It was one of the few newsletters I read religiously. And, of course, it worked: I went, I sampled, I was hooked.
7 ) Value, always value
At Trader Joe’s, success all rests on value, value, value. You look at the price not with apprehension about impending “sticker-shock” but with gratitude. “Yeah, I can afford that!” And you do. As you carry your purchases to your car, you say a little prayer to keep Trader Joe’s in the neighborhood… and smile inwardly at how much you got for so little. You are a clever shopper, aren’t you?
And the late Mr. Theo Albrecht?
We must tip our hat to the dearly departed Theo Albrecht, magic merchandiser in the grand tradition, departed July 24, 2010. Unfortunately little is known of Mr. Theo or his elder brother. In fact, so averse were they from publicity that hardly a photograph is known. Let me venture to speculate a guess about this: they wanted your attention to be 100% on Aldi and its child, Trader Joe’s. On your next purchase and not their latest profits. Bless him. I hope he finds an eternity of that unsurpassable Trader Joe’s key lime tart… or whatever (rock-bottom priced) delicacy he fancies. He deserves it!
About The Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc.,where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Attend Dr. Lant’s live webcast TODAY and receive 50,000 free guaranteed visitors to the website of your choice! Dr. Lant is the Author of 18 books, a consultant and well known marketer.
Republished with author’s permission by Graham Lee – The Income Zone
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