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Case
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Reference no. IMD-7-2387
Published by: International Institute for Management Development (IMD)
Originally published in: 2022
Version: 05.05.2022
Revision date: 29-Jun-2022

Abstract

When COVID-19 hit the US in 2020, the grocery retail industry underwent a greatly accelerated digital transformation as consumers' habits changed drastically in a matter of weeks. As Americans sought to avoid their risk of exposure to the coronavirus, the adoption of online grocery shopping, click-and-collect and self-checkout skyrocketed. By 2022, it appeared this shift was here to stay, changing the grocery business for the long term. Yet, while big supermarket chains were scrambling to capture this new wave of digital shoppers, Trader Joe's consciously decided not to invest in e-Commerce or omnichannel solutions. The company doubled down on experiential retail, choosing to remain a pure brick-and-mortar player and to keep its stores low-tech. Can this maverick company maintain a competitive advantage by going against the macro-trend of digitalization?

Time period

The events covered by this case took place in 2020-2022.

Geographical setting

Region:
Americas
Country:
United States

Featured company

Trader Joe's
Employees:
10000+
Turnover:
USD 16.5 billion
Industry:
Food and beverage; Retail

About

Abstract

When COVID-19 hit the US in 2020, the grocery retail industry underwent a greatly accelerated digital transformation as consumers' habits changed drastically in a matter of weeks. As Americans sought to avoid their risk of exposure to the coronavirus, the adoption of online grocery shopping, click-and-collect and self-checkout skyrocketed. By 2022, it appeared this shift was here to stay, changing the grocery business for the long term. Yet, while big supermarket chains were scrambling to capture this new wave of digital shoppers, Trader Joe's consciously decided not to invest in e-Commerce or omnichannel solutions. The company doubled down on experiential retail, choosing to remain a pure brick-and-mortar player and to keep its stores low-tech. Can this maverick company maintain a competitive advantage by going against the macro-trend of digitalization?

Settings

Time period

The events covered by this case took place in 2020-2022.

Geographical setting

Region:
Americas
Country:
United States

Featured company

Trader Joe's
Employees:
10000+
Turnover:
USD 16.5 billion
Industry:
Food and beverage; Retail

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