Trader Joe’s secretly launched a YouTube channel three weeks ago and it could be exactly what consumers are craving. Though grocery retailers have a long way to go before their digital offerings replace weekly shopping trips, this brand’s move to the small screen could have a mega effect on its digital shoppers, both existing and potential.
Traditionally, Trader Joe’s has had a tough time in digital, having hung on to Feeble status in Gartner L2’s rankings for two years now. Additionally, the brand has grappled with a broken shopping list builder, lacking e-commerce and account registration and a poor overall site experience. But its new digital endeavor could change that. TJ’s channel is chock full of recipe videos using iconic products like its famous Chicken Tikka Masala, as well as behind-the-scenes looks at the making of items from Hold the Cone ice creams to peony-scented candles. Though the channel has only secured about 6K subscribers so far, it will likely bag more as people begin to discover it.
In addition to building off of popular and timely products, Trader Joe’s new channel speaks to the consumer (in a friendly tone reflective of the brand’s mascot himself) via two trendy tactics. Searches for recipe and nutrition-related content grew 30% between February 2017 and January 2018, according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Grocery 2018. In fact, robust recipe content is one of the key ways index frontrunners Amazon and HEB stay ahead and could be the missing ingredient in Trader Joe’s digital display. Additionally, transparency has taken over as a trend across several industries, with information about ingredients constituting one of the top three pieces of information consumers consider when deciding to purchase a food or beverage in particular.
Though the pool of digital grocery shoppers is still growing, grocery retailers operate on thin margins and can’t afford to lose those buying online. By sprucing up its online presence in such a visual and practical way, Trader Joe’s could not only enhance its status overall, but also help transition shoppers from physical to digital by starting them off on an online touchpoint they’re likely already familiar with— YouTube—and sending them down the purchase funnel to the brand site from there. This can provide a value available only through digital platforms, make it easier for shoppers to begin building their online basket, and level up digital loyalty to brands they already like in the real world, according to Gartner L2’s most recent Digital IQ Index: Grocery.
Based on the buzzy reception the channel is getting, consumers seem to be enjoying the digital Trader Joe so far. Other grocers looking to transform offline shoppers into online ones should digitize steps they’re already taking, like product and recipe research. Times may be tough for the budding online grocery world, but Trader Joe’s is proof that personality and practicality, when purveyed online, could be what brands need to captivate digital consumers.