Digital brands find inclusivity is the ‘right thing’ to do for business results
Digital businesses that aren’t marketing to the multicultural consumer are losing out big time, according to Kirsten Mitchell, senior program manager of inclusion and diversity at Amazon.com and Amy Gomez, manager of cross-cultural marketing at WPP. In a session at this year’s IRCE conference, they explored statistics that reveal this and the strategies Amazon has implemented because of it.
“It’s the right thing to do for your customers, but it’s the right thing to do for your business too,” said Ms. Mitchell.
Ms. Gomez shared that 47 percent of Hispanic consumers (compared to 20 percent of non-Hispanic white consumers) have ordered groceries online in the past 30 days. Asian consumers purchase 20 percent more online than white consumers and black consumers over-index for dollars spent online in most categories of grocery.
These numbers come in the context of increasing diversity in the U.S. According to their report, 92 percent of the population growth since 2012 has been from multicultural consumers, with both Millennials and Generation Z skewing more multicultural and more digitally-native than older generations. (Diversity was defined as Black, Hispanic and Asian, not taking into consideration smaller ethnic groups.)
“There are culturally-based values and beliefs that drive multicultural consumer behavior,” Ms. Gomez said. “This is a super important concept. You start from insights and strategy. If you wait for the execution, it’s already going to be too late. That’s why it’s important to be thoughtful and deliberate about building diversity in your organizations.”
In keeping with this, Ms. Mitchell pointed out the importance of creating diverse teams in order to understand the needs, desires and pain points of particular groups of consumers that might go otherwise overlooked. She also advised using affinity groups to determine how a given offering or website appeals to a particular identity group. She discussed how Amazon utilized this method to better understand how to sell hair care products made for an African-American customer base.
“Make sure your customers’ voices are in the room when you’re making your marketing decisions,” Ms. Mitchell said. “You have to authentically represent them — not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s good for your bottom line.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should every brand or retailer be implementing tools to collect insights about the cultural and ethnic background of their audience so they can market accordingly? In what ways can digital brands and retailers create an “inclusive digital retail” environment, and will it lead to the types of benefits Ms. Mitchell and Gomez suggested?