Amazon’s Competitive Tactics: Hiring Ex-Trader Joe’s Manager for Insider Insights

In 2016, Amazon announced Wickedly Prime as a chance for the company to enter the market of private food brands and compete with the most famous food retailers, such as Trader Joe’s. A former senior manager of the Trader Joe’s snack division, now working as a consultant with Amazon, was first brought in by the giant online retailer to run a new business without letting her know that her insights into the snack division product lineup were key.

This recruitment, like those of many top executives, was part of a grand plan to replicate Trader Joe’s top 200 selling items, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Amazon’s efforts included pressing the former Trader Joe’s manager for proprietary data, such as margins and a detailed sales report. It grew to be so intense that eventually, after repeated demands, she caved and gave them emails and documents from her old job. The data was used to potentially craft competing products.

The use of such information, when reported, even evoked discord from within, to an extent that some of the employees involved in that were even terminated. Following this, Amazon stated that it is committed to integrity, stressing that the misuse of confidential information is highly condemnable.

On the other hand, Amazon decided to venture into the grocery business with the purchase of Whole Foods in 2017. They would later open their first Amazon Fresh store in 2020. This, therefore, resulted in great migration from Trader Joe’s to Whole Foods.

The report also outlines a recent claim made against Trader Joe’s itself: Taste Magazine accused the chain of copying products from smaller brands. The defendant, Trader Joe’s, defended their product development process, saying it was comprehensive and inspired by sources all over the globe. This not only highlights Amazon’s aggressive market strategies but also underscores the competitive pressures within the grocery sector, spotlighting the scrutiny faced by even well-liked chains like Trader Joe’s.

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