Through a special arrangement, what follows is an excerpt of an article from WayfinD, a quarterly e-magazine filled with insights, trends and predictions from the retail and foodservice experts at WD Partners.
In the recent shopper study, "Amazon Can't Do That — Consumer Desire and the Store of the Future," a key finding was Hispanic consumers' strong preference for community-driven environments and emotionally satisfying in-store experiences.
As the Hispanic population expands from 17 percent of the country's total in 2012 to a projected 31 percent by 2060, such insights will be crucial for retailers to attract and gain the loyalty of Hispanic shoppers.
Four key ideas to consider:
1. Take a field trip.
Executives at mass-market neighborhood chains could learn a thing or two by visiting their Hispanic grocer. Color. Music. Beautiful displays of produce and flags of the world. This is a shopping experience not only bold in emotion and energy, but rich in human connection and top-rate customer service. Mass-market retailers need to step it up.
2. Be ready to build a relationship.
This is where strong customer service comes into play. Focus on winning their hearts and minds. Be prepared to answer questions and slowly build the sale. "Latinos interact in a more personal manner," Juan Tornoe of Cultural Strategies told The New York Times recently. "We want to be recognized as a person. Connect with me on a personal level before you start selling me."
3. Engage in social media.
There are more than 33 million U.S. Hispanic internet users, and more than half of them use mobile devices to access the web. According to a 2012 study by Experian Simmons, Hispanic consumers were more likely than non-Hispanics to use social network sites to learn about companies and products they like — as well as purchase products seen on them, and post ratings or reviews for others to see.
4. Understand the cultural differences between Latinos.
Think all Hispanics love soccer? Many Puerto Ricans prefer baseball and basketball. Be sure to understand the composition of local Latino markets and adjust messages and campaigns accordingly. While it's true that Mexican Americans represent the highest number of Latinos in the U.S. (around 65 percent), large pockets of Hondurans and other nationalities should not be overlooked. Be aware of individual national holidays and other opportunities for promotions that draw them into your store.
5. Create dynamic, social spaces.
A major takeaway from the Amazon study is as applicable to Hispanic consumers (maybe more so) as the U.S. population at large: environments that encourage engagement will be a place customers want to visit again and again. Encourage customers to touch and learn about new products. Stylize your associates' wardrobes so they're easy to identify when wanting to start a conversation. Create that "third space" where people want to spend time away from home.
Do you agree or disagree with the view that retailers can appeal to Hispanic shoppers without alienating their core customers?