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Trader Joe’s and In-N-Out: Fans, Not Customers

trader joes freakonomics We give every new hire a copy of a book about In-N-Out Burger.

We do so b/c In-N-Out is a great example of business that thrives with no marketing at all b/c its extraordinary customer service, systems and focus on quality keep customers coming in droves.

In-N-Out’s story is simply a great business lesson for our new team members.

In this recent Freakonomics Podcast about Trader Joe’s, it was fascinating to see how similarly successful Trader Joe’s is.

Like In-N-Out, Trader Joe’s does minimal marketing, and it never has promotions, sales, coupons or anything else.

And like In-N-Out, it is the most successful chain in its category (groceries) by a huge margin b/c of its cult following.

Here are a few of the things that make it so successful.

FRIENDLY, ENGAGING TEAM MEMBERS

“Training” at Trader Joe’s is focused almost entirely on customer engagement, and a primary hiring criterion is congeniality. Employees stock shelves during the day (instead of at night like at most grocery stores) so there are employees everywhere ready to engage customers.

Employees are encouraged to engage and help every customer they see, no matter how much time it takes.

FEWER CHOICES

Trader Joe’s has about 1/10 as many items as a typical grocery store with far fewer choices. According to ample research, customers are far more likely to buy or take action when they do not have too many choices.

NO FRICTION

In addition to offering all the help within the aisles, Trader Joe’s also makes sure all the registers are stocked with more than enough cashiers to ensure that customers never have difficulty checking out.

LOW COST

Trader Joe’s provides tremendous value by offering much less expensive (but high quality) store brands instead of name brands.

I love the lessons of both In-N-Out and Trader Joe’s b/c the principles that make them so successful work equally well in the mortgage and real estate realms.

I highly recommend the Freakonomics Podcast as well.

Jay Voorhees
Founder/Broker | JVM Lending
(855) 855-4491 | DRE# 01524255, NMLS# 335646

Photo courtesy of: Curbed NY