The Psychological Reason Why You Buy So Many Products at Trader Joe's

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We've all gone to Trader Joe's with only a few items on our list and ended up purchasing so much more. Turns out, the stores are designed to make you do just that.

In a CNBC Make It video, experts reveal that Trader Joe's (which is owned by supermarket chain Aldi) has several tricks up its sleeve. First and foremost, the brand wants you to feel like you're in a local market with its hand-drawn signs, lack of name brands, and smaller store size and product selection (which cuts down on decision fatigue). This makes consumers think they are making healthier, eco-friendly choices.

Trader Joe's also wants its customers to believe they're in on a special secret. That's why the brand carries international cuisine that comes and goes at affordable prices, making buyers think they can only get a particular product for a limited time at Trader Joe's.

Speaking of prices, TJ's is able to manage with lower prices because even though they have a more limited selection, they carry a lot of each product. This means they can negotiate when ordering large quantities of each product from third-party suppliers. Being owned by Aldi also doesn't hurt.

In addition to making its products seem valuable, Trader Joe's also wants its customers to feel the same. That's why the company tends to hire extroverted employees who are then trained to converse with shoppers. That's why the chain's stores feature South Seas decor and why the employees wear Hawaiian shirts. Essentially, Trader Joe's wants consumers to feel as though they can only get this one-of-a-kind experience at its stores.

Even we have to say that these Trader Joe's tactics are clever. Though we'll keep shopping there, we might think twice next time we want to make several impulse purchases.


When Anna Gragert isn’t trying to create a groundbreaking third-person bio for herself, she's working as the senior lifestyle editor at Hunker. Her email: anna.gragert@hunker.com

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