retail news in context, analysis with attitude

CNBC has a story about Trader Joe’s that, it says, teaches a “valuable lesson” about being customer focused … and it all has to do with the price of bananas, which it sells for 19 cents apiece.

It goes back to a time when chairman/CEO Dan Bane was in a store, standing in the produce department, where, like most stores, bananas were sold by the pound.

Bane says, “I was watching [shoppers] in Sun City, [Arizona], which was near a retirement complex. Customer — nice little lady — customer comes up and she looks at all the packages but didn't put one in her cart. And so I asked her, I said, 'Ma'am, if you don't mind me asking, I saw you looking at the bananas but you didn't...put anything in your cart.’

"And she says to me, 'Sonny, I may not live to that fourth banana,'" Dane recalls.

"And so we decided the next day we were going to sell individual bananas. And they've been 19 cents ever since," Bane says.

It is, CNBC says, “a brilliant lesson in business and in leadership: Listen to your customers.”
KC's View:
This is Retail 101, and I’m sure that many in the industry are familiar with this story. But it bears repeating and remembering.