Executive Briefing

Why Trader Joe’s refuses to sell groceries online

Does that still pass the smell test?

Trader Joe's homepage
Screenshot

Online grocery ordering has emerged as essential infrastructure during the Covid-19 pandemic, and grocers large and small have adapted and improvised to provide service.

One notable exception is Trader Joe’s, the California-based grocer famous for its inventive private-label products, low prices, and laid-back attitude.

While most US grocers have now set up online ordering for delivery or curbside pickup, Trader Joe’s, which operates around 500 stores, has deliberately resisted — even as a makeshift option during the pandemic, which has forced it to temporarily close stores and limit in-store occupancy.

Why no online ordering? The company has had different answers to that question over the years.

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Dan Frommer

Hi, I’m Dan Frommer and this is The New Consumer, a publication about how and why people spend their time and money.

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