Case Write-Up Trader Joe's Essay examples

915 Words4 Pages
How do firms in the supermarket industry make money?
Operating on very thin profit margins, players in the supermarket industry traditionally either focus on a premium segment or follow a discounter strategy at the low end. Premium players address educated and more price elastic consumers who value healthy, natural and organic food; the share of perishable items for these players is normally distinctly higher. Players that focus on a discounter strategy offer a higher share of simple necessity items and value price competitiveness over premium features like healthiness or organic origin. Independently of the focused customer group it is imperative for players in the supermarket industry to be cost efficient and optimize operations
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Thirdly, Trader Joe’s stores are small and located in non-prime locations, which holds fixed operating costs at bay. Furthermore, the company is able to generate the industry’s highest sales per square feet in its small sized stores. In an effort to diversify from its competitors, Trader Joe’s also relies on a non-traditional marketing strategy. Completely neglecting conventional marketing techniques like commercials or promotional offers, the company focuses on unique and store specific in-store marketing with its newsletter and the occasional radio ad being its major means of communication with its customers. The Trader Joe’s brand with its vast fan base is naturally another part of the company’s competitive advantage.

What are the main threads to Trader Joe’s competitive advantage? Is the company’s competitive advantage sustainable?
Trader Joe's faces several threats to its business, as competitors try to invade the company’s niche and attempt to imitate the company’s core strategies. The supermarket industry itself faces a major threat, as larger chains such as grocery retailers Wal-Mart and Tesco have begun to open small-format stores that mimic the Trader Joe's approach. This invasion results in additional cost pressure for incumbents like Trader Joe’s, which had to let go employees in order to become more cost competitive.

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