The Latinspired Retail Solution

Posted by Arturo on December 09, 2013  /   Posted in Blog
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The Latinspired Retail Solution

By Arturo Nava
Get the basics right to capitalize on the bigger Latin opportunity

The search for a success model to capitalize on the Latin opportunity continues. It continues because consumer marketers are caught between the fear of having to invest significant dollars in a Latino-specific initiative and a total-market approach that most haven’t figured out how to execute well or isn’t right for them.

When it comes to shopper marketing, most marketers and retailers know what Latinos are looking for in terms of retail experience and assortment. According to the Path to Purchase Institute, Panavista and Catapult’s Winning with Hispanic Shoppers report, the way to Latinos shoppers’ loyalty is paved with:

  • Abundant fresh produce and groceries;
  • Friendly service;
  • Reasonable prices;
  • Short distances to the store;
  • A Latin-inspired broad product assortment; and
  • Fun shopping experience filled with surprises and delights.

However, there are still widespread barriers to change that are preventing more retailers and marketers from acting on this huge market opportunity. The lack of robust insights, the fear of significant investment in Latino-specific programs and confusion over what a total-market shopper marketing approach means are key culprits.Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have realized this and are acting on these insights, focusing on freshness and marketing the produce section heavily to Latinos. The strategy is working as they are starting to gain trips.

Unlike brand marketing, shopper marketing needs to be driven by the specific local shopper needs. There is a big difference in the size of the Latin population and its influence on the mainstream across markets. In some markets like Los Angeles, 50 percent of the shoppers are Latinos and the rest have been heavily influenced by them. In other markets like Portland, Maine, the proportion of Latinos will be in the single digits and the level of Latin influence on the mainstream is low.

So, how can you craft a scalable winning solution that enables you to better capitalize on the Latin opportunity without the complexity of multiple hyperlocal approaches?

Latinspired Solution
The Latin opportunity is not only the Latino market opportunity, it is also the opportunity to win with the mainstream consumers that are being influenced by Latinos and are adopting Latino purchasing habits, beliefs and attitudes.

It starts with understanding what “Latinspired” means and determining what are the Latinspired markets in which to offer it. Latinspired is about getting the assortment and experience basics right. If you don’t get the basics right, it doesn’t matter what programs you run. You will miss out on the opportunity to drive more trips and increase the size of the shopping basket because the experience will not be convenient enough.

The Experience & Assortment Basics
Latinspired means nearby, just-in-time grocery replenishment; good relationships with the attendants; Latin grocery and convenience store staples; and fresh/healthier assortment.

It is inspired by the Mexican small corner store (tiendita), Puerto Rican/New York bodegas and Latin-American farmers markets (mercados sobre ruedas), in which shoppers buy the fresh grocery staples they need every day. They feel welcome and are very loyal to the stores and markets they shop because they find what they need and are treated very well by the attendants they have known for a long time.

Latinspired also involves:

  • Freshness: Fresh produce at the front of the store is critical to appeal to Latinos and Latin-influenced mainstream consumers. If the market is in a Mexican-influenced area, think freshly made tacos and tortas instead of the typical hot dogs. The freshness will create a sense of abundance in the store that is sure to drive traffic.
  • Sufficient assortment of Latin-inspired groceries: Obviously, you will need to steer the assortment to the predominant Latino heritage in your area (Mexican, Caribbean, South American or Cuban). For Mexican areas, think Mexican-style bakery items like Bimbo, guacamole, authentic salsas, Latin-inspired dairy products like crema and Oaxacan cheese, and Mexican candy. For markets with a higher Latino population density, consider a Carniceria (meat section) with multiple fresh meat cuts. Make sure you also have the basic staples that all consumers expect in a c-store (cold beer and beverages, snacks, etc.), and you will have created a c-store assortment that will help you grow your business with Latinos and non-Latinos alike.
  • Healthier/all-natural products: Many retailers, particularly c-stores, have been working on upgrading their image and trading up consumers for some time now by offering healthier, less processed and more all-natural, even gourmet-type products. The Latin- inspired assortment is filled with more all-natural products that will appeal to the growing health-oriented mainstream shopper.
  • Digital shopper tactics: Latino Millennials are a fast-growing segment that will represent 80 percent of the growth among all Millennials by 2015. These shoppers use mobile devices at nearly twice the rate of non-Latinos, according to the Latino Shop study by the Center for Hispanic Leadership. It is critical that retailers fully leverage digital shopper tactics as part of their Latin-inspired approach.
  • Personal touch: Courteous attendants who treat shoppers with respect and build long-term relationships with customers are particularly critical with Latinos who are loyal to companies that build friendly relationships with them. Putting a focus on investing in friendlier customer service will help you build better long-term relationships with all your customers.

Arturo Nava is managing partner for Marketealo, where he helps companies capitalize on the Latin-influenced total market.

Source: Hispanic Retail 360 December 2013 issue

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