Friday, January 11, 2008

Never a Trader Joe's that Tastes as Sweet

Indoctrinated by Starbucks Coffee and the love of fine things, Trader Joe's (fondly named TJ's by some locals) has gained a solid reputation for providing the middle class consumer with adventurous products sometimes considered luxuries by most who I think may not hold corporate, stereotypical Silicon Valley jobs.

I got to thinking recently about the possible correlation between sugar/caffeine and impulse buying. I read an article somewhere that has gotten lost now in the massive spider webs of the internet that mentioned that Christmas shoppers were more likely to spend money if they had consumed something containing sugar, like candy canes, hot chocolate or mochas.

Did you know that Trader Joe's offers free coffee and orange juice while you shop in their grocery store? They do this on a regular basis and let's face it, we all know what orange juice tastes like. It's more of a service to customers that they provide and they attract you to the sampling counter with some yummy new goodies to try. And if you're hungry, samples whet your appetite and increase your impulse to buy things you don't need.

But if you think about it--and if the likelihood that people buy more when they have something sweet in them is true, then TJ's has a good strategy going.

Same goes for your local Starbucks or Peet's Coffee and Tea, although just from working as a barista, I know that many people don't buy products beyond coffee and tea so much because the pricing is way too high for this middle-class market that perceives $3 as a good deal and doesn't realize how much they are spending in a month as a daily latte drinker.

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