Asking the right questions and delivering what customers want and need in today’s diverse market is important, not only to attracting Hispanics, but in retaining them as customers.
By Sylvia Klinger
When was the last time you looked at your product inventory and considered how to make sure your inventory matched the needs and wants of the diverse market of demographic groups you serve?
Have you gone above and beyond translating your merchandising materials? Have you seen the growth of your diverse customer base—especially Hispanics?
As more studies indicate, the importance of the Hispanic market in the U.S. is obvious by looking at their spending power. In 2017, the Hispanic market had a spending power of $1.7 trillion in retail and consumer package goods, compared to $1.5 trillion in 2015.
According to The NPD Group, a global information group, c-stores are experiencing an increase of 8% in the first quarter of 2018, mainly contributed by the top 20 core-based Hispanic communities. To say we have become a global industry is an understatement. For example, it has become common to see foods from all over the world on retail shelves.
So how can c-stores really deliver the goods to their diverse customers? I want to share five points that will make sure you are meeting the needs of your current customers, or perhaps attract those diverse customers that have been neglected by other retailers.
I recommend these five strategies for making sure you are meeting the needs of your Hispanic customers:
1. Needs assessment 101.
A key consideration for c-stores wanting to attract more Hispanic consumers is to assess their customers by posing certain questions:
• What do you want in a convenience retailer as it pertains to products and services?
• How can your c-store help meet their expectations as shoppers?
• What key features can your c-store provide to confirm their shopping experience is positive?
Asking the right questions and delivering what they want and need is important—not only to attracting Hispanics, but in retaining them as customers.
2. Merchandise your new products.
It will be hard for your new/current customers to see what is new and beneficial to them if your c-store does not provide the right merchandising materials around the c-store. Find attractive and fun ways to merchandise your new products in a way that speaks to the heart of your customers.
3. Samples deliver confidence.
Latinos love free samples. There is something magical about giving a Hispanic something free of “returned favors.” To Hispanics it’s an expression of how much you appreciate them as customers. This is also a great opportunity to find out more about products likes and dislikes and what they want to see in the near future. Providing some free samples is also a way to get their individual attention and get them to try new products they may come to love.
4. Offer limited coupons and discounts.
Who doesn’t like to get coupons and discounts? All Hispanics love to see that they are getting a good deal, especially Hispanic Millennials. Offer that instant gratification by providing daily or weekly specials, not only on new products, but also on products they already love. Since Millennials are tech savvy, offer online coupons/discounts they can download immediately at the point of purchase.
5. Invite friends and families.
Inviting your customers for an event is a great opportunity to connect with current and new customers on a more personal level. Create wonderful moments with your customers while they are also fulfilling wonderful fun experiences and memorable moments as a family or with their friends. Nothing speaks louder than a personal invitation to a private event developed especially for them, with their needs and wants in mind.
Connecting to Hispanics in a personal and more intimate level can be rewarding, if done tactfully and with relevance. It is important to engage them daily to keep the communication open while building trust. This is a short-term investment that will certainly bring happy and loyal customers into your c-stores, not to mention foster long-term relationships.
Sylvia Klinger is the founder of Hispanic Food Communications Inc., a nutrition and food communications consulting company. A leading expert in cross-cultural Hispanic food and culture as it relates to nutrition and health, Sylvia has been a consultant for major food, beverage, agricultural and pharmaceutical companies as well as non-profit organizations for more than a decade.