5 Ways to Find Out Who’s Shopping Your Stores

Terry J. Soto, Author and President & CEO, About Marketing Solutions, Inc.

City level concentrations among Hispanics is typical, but far from the norm anymore. Suburbs, exburbs and small cities across the country which might surprise, have seen significant growth in Hispanic populations for quite some time. And this isn’t just a dynamic among U.S. born Hispanics. According to the Brookings Institute, in 2010, half of the foreign born population lived in suburbs.

If you’re a company with brick and mortar locations you should be sitting up at attention right about now. It used to be that companies would define certain inner city locations as ethnic or Hispanic stores, but today this method of designation is no longer valid. Some Hispanics live and concentrate in working- and middle-class suburbs, and others live in white middle-class suburbs. The end result being that Hispanics are shopping in a much greater number of your stores and you may not be taking this into account. This has tremendous implications for retailers in terms of hiring mix, staffing schedules, merchandising, signage, collateral, and product assortment to name a few.

So how do you define how the population mix has changed in your trade areas? Here are 5 ways to help you understand your customer mix situation:

  1. Geo-Demographic Analysis: Run an analysis that will tell you the customer profile in store trade areas. A good tool that I like is Geoscape will provides information on all population types including Hispanic. In addition to population figures, their tool can also tell you the acculturation of the Hispanic population and even how much they spend on certain categories within store trade areas.
  2. Customer Records: Utilize customer records if your company has them to profile the Hispanic population where customers live and compared this to the Hispanic profile of the stores in which these same Hispanic customers transact. You will likely find that stores you considered non-Hispanic white stores actually have lots of Hispanic traffic and you may be serving a much larger Hispanic population than you thought.
  3. Store Manager and Employees: Organize your regional directors to survey store managers and employees to determine if you might be trading more heavily among Hispanics than your population numbers might have you believe.
  4. Customer Counts: Organize your store managers to conduct a Hispanic and non-Hispanic customer count for one week to obtain a count and proportion of Hispanic to non-Hispanic customers. Compare this to what your data says about the population mix for your stores. If customer data collection is not part of your business model, go one step further and ask Hispanics walking in the door to provide you with their address and email for a small token – high value coupon for example.
  5. Environment Scan: Organize your store managers to conduct a trade area environment scan. The idea is to take note of the types of businesses in your trade areas. Hispanic oriented stores, store brands and Hispanic focused offerings are good clues that the trade area is more Hispanic than you may have originally thought.

Evolving to practices that can help you define how and where Hispanics shop your stores is critical to knowing how to optimize your store execution and winning a larger share of today’s Hispanics’ wallet.

Terry Soto is President and CEO of About Marketing Solutions, Inc., a Burbank, California – based strategy consulting firm specializing in helping her clients dramatically improve overall business performance by optimizing their strategies to succeed in the Hispanic market. For more information please visit www.about marketingsolutions.com or send me an email at: terrysoto@aboutmarketingsolutions.com

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