Posted April 30, 2005 by publisher in Cuban Americans.
Sonja Haller | The Arizona Republic
At the Target store in south Phoenix, you’ll find more roses than at other Targets. And more baby clothes. And more toys.
The stock at the store at 24th Street and Baseline Road is not the result of a manager’s whim. Rather, Target has joined other major retailers in wooing Hispanics. advertisement
Hispanic outreach efforts are nearing a fevered pitch, with many big-box stores launching programs in the past six months. The programs go beyond simply supplying Spanish-language signs; stores are now courting the cultural aspects of the Hispanic population.
Hispanics, store managers have discovered, buy roses with greater frequency.
“It’s true,” said Yadira Gaffrey, 29, of Glendale, as she finished shopping at the store. “Hey, I have roses at home right now. My grandma loved roses, too. You have a special occasion, you want to make the house look nice, you buy roses if you’re Latino.”
Baby clothes and toys also move fast through the store, whose customer base is 45 percent Hispanic.
Among other stores soliciting Hispanic shoppers:
• Home Depot partnered in February with four of the country’s largest Hispanic organizations to boost Hispanic hiring and appeal.
• Ikea launched an ad campaign in November featuring a young Hispanic couple named Garcia. The international retailer opened its first fully bilingual-signed store in Tempe and has since released a Spanish-language catalog and Spanish how-to-shop Ikea video.
• Wal-Mart this month began offering a Spanish-based prepaid cellphone through Movida Communications at stores in Arizona and San Diego. Key features include Spanish-language customer support and content from cable network Univision.
Wal-Mart also created an office of diversity to assist in the advancement of promising minorities.
Like Target, Wal-Mart stocks ethnic foods, music and beauty products, according to customer demographics.
• Target, in addition to adjusting the size, scope and offerings of Hispanic product lines, launched its first Spanish ad campaign and a Spanish Web site ( [url=http://www.target.com/espanol]http://www.target.com/espanol[/url] ) in February.
Grocery stores led way
Supermarkets have been more responsive to Hispanic needs than some of the big-box retailers. Food City, operated by Chandler-based Bashas’ Supermarkets, operates almost 60 Hispanic-focused markets. A competitor, California-based Phoenix Ranch Market expects to open a fourth supermarket this spring. Local car dealerships, communication and media companies, and power companies have long embraced Spanish advertising and outreach.
Numbers explain why retailers are stampeding into the Latino market.
The buying power of the country’s largest minority group reached $750 billion last year. The amount will reach $1 trillion by 2008, the Hispanic Association of Corporate Responsibility estimates.
A few years ago, shoppers might have noticed some signs in Spanish at major clothing, electronics and home-improvement stores. Today, Hispanic outreach efforts are becoming a natural part of the shopping trip.
Hispanics and non-Hispanics may not notice some changes because, like Target’s attention to well-stocked roses and baby clothes, recent multicultural promotions are more nuanced.
“This is a more subtle way to satisfy the customer without deviating from the core client,” said Erika Prosper, director of strategic planning for Garcia 360, a Texas advertising agency that tracks Latino spending habits. “This isn’t going to make the shopping experience for the Anglo, the African-American or the Hispanic shopper noticeably different.”
Maria Rodriguez, 27, of Phoenix, said she never really recognized that the Target at Baseline Road and 24th Street devoted half of the shelf space to Latino music, that almost an entire aisle holds food appealing to Hispanics from local vendors or that all of the signs, from pets to picture frames, are in Spanish and English.
Yet, she takes satisfaction in knowing that stores have noticed that Hispanics are the nation’s largest minority group. Hispanics comprise almost 14 percent of the U.S. population and 28 percent of Arizona’s population, according to 2003 figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.
“It’s good that they see that,” Rodriguez said. “And it’s a good deal, I guess, too, to have your Latino music right there while you’re shopping for clothes, so you don’t have to go to another store.”
Slow to respond
Roger Arevalo, director of media services at Santy Advertising in Phoenix, said Arizona retailers, small and large, lag in serving the shopping needs of the nation’s sixth-largest Hispanic population.
“I don’t think they’ve paid attention to this group as well as they could have,” said Arevalo, whose previous job was directing research for Macy’s to help it reach Hispanics. “One, it could have been because this is such a conservative state. And, two, maybe there was trepidation because the infrastructure in their own businesses wasn’t in place to handle that. I don’t think they’ve fully gone to the lengths they could have by tapping into the very lucrative revenue that’s there.”
Better late than never, said Phillip Miera, 43, of Phoenix, a Home Depot employee.
“I’m glad Home Depot’s going to be hiring more Hispanics,” said Miera, who works in the garden section but must rush to other departments several times a day to help Spanish speakers. “It keeps me running back and forth.”
The English of Hispanic customers may be fine, but when they talk about spending money, Miera said, they prefer to talk to him.
“If you’re an Anglo and helping them, they might think you’re not telling them the truth,” he said. “Speaking Spanish makes them feel more comfortable.”
And that keeps them coming back.
“They’re very loyal,” Miera said. “They come and find me.”
Felipe Korzenny, director of Florida State University’s Center for the Study of Hispanic Marketing Communication, said Latino customers are faithful to businesses that make an effort to meet their needs and wants.
“Will retailers who don’t embrace Hispanics suffer?” he asked. “One of the things I can say for sure is that Hispanics are very responsive to people who want them. The notion of making an effort toward Hispanics, to make them feel ‘they really want me’ will make (Hispanic) people more interested in whatever businesses have to sell. It could only help the stores.”
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