ARDMORE, PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES - 2014/07/12: Exterior of Trader Joe's specialty food store. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Food - Drink
The Grocery Store Shelving Convention Trader Joe's Rejects
Trader Joe’s is a unique grocery store chain that eschews many marketing tactics that larger companies use to increase profits. TJ's is 100% privately owned, which gives the company total creative control over the way it sells and displays products in stores, and one convention they refuse to follow involves shelf space fees.
Shelf space fees are essentially bribe money that companies pay to grocery stores, who then display that brand's products in a better place on store shelves, often at eye-level, leading to more sales. Trader Joe's does not accept shelf space fees, and instead lets customers decide which products should be given priority on store shelves.
The average TJ's only carries around 4,000 products, compared to 50,000 in a typical supermarket, and a small selection allows staff to monitor which items are performing well and which aren't. Rather than accepting bribes, TJ's prefers to let customers decide which items are popular and deserve a bigger presence in store displays.