Still Making Sense: Timeless Ethnic Merchandising Best Practices, Part 3

Aug 25, 2004

By Terry Soto

Five “best practices” are outlined in the study Grow with America – Best
Practices in Ethnic Merchandising and Marketing
sponsored by the Coca Cola
Retailing Research Council. (Click
to download the study results – PDF format.)

1. Learn about Hispanic consumers so you can serve them better.
2. Define your Hispanic merchandising “look” and organize to executive it.
3. Tailor your offering to appeal to your target consumers.
4. Make your brand authentic to connect with the Hispanic community.
5. Develop a marketing plan that communicates value at all “touchpoints.”

In this discussion, we’ll address Best Practice #3.

Best Practice #3: Tailor Your Offering to Appeal to Your Hispanic Consumers

In Hispanics’ view, how you offer your product assortment is as important as
what products you offer. Here are some merchandising and item mix recommendations:

  • Use key merchandising triggers like price to reflect Hispanic sales volume. Keep in mind that having the right products at the wrong price is as bad as not having them at all.

  • Highlight staple products on end aisles and at entrances to convey that you understand Hispanics’ staples and avoid out-of-stocks of key items.

  • Cater to service preferences in meat, deli and bakery departments to offer choices Hispanics look for and, most importantly, build relationships between your employees and customers to keep them coming back.

  • Lead with key Hispanic categories including rice, sauces, canned fruit, fruit juices, corn products, spices, flours, canned vegetables, sodas and legumes.

  • Some manufacturer brands are popular in other parts of the world. Include them in your assortment by buying imported multi-national brands that are highly familiar and favored, e.g. Nestle, Colgate Palmolive, Gillette, Coca-Cola, Kellogg, General Mills, P&G, Unilever and Kraft.

  • Stock multiple packaging and club sizes because Hispanic families are typically large. To get an idea of what bulk-size packaging works for Hispanics, visit the Web sites of multinational consumer packaged goods marketers. Observe the variation of packaging that exists, based on usage behavior in Latin America.

Consumption of milk among Hispanics deserves particular attention. Moms consider milk as a core nutritional staple of their children’s diet. A typical Hispanic household consumes six to eight gallons of milk per week. With such hefty consumption, quart and half-gallon sizes are less likely to attract Hispanics than one gallon sizes or even one gallon twin packs.

This tendency toward high milk consumption has a residual affect in other categories. Hispanic moms buy lots of cereal and flavored syrup as a way to persuade their kids to drink more milk. Hispanic households consume several cartons of ready-to-eat (RTE) cereal each week.

Kraft shows how this works in a food product with high consumption among Hispanics: cream cheese. In Mexico, Kraft packages its Philadelphia Cream Cheese in larger, mayonnaise-type jars rather than in the smaller, individually wrapped sticks inside paperboard cartons that are typically found in the United States.

Moderator’s Comment: What examples of Hispanic specific
merchandising have you seen work well? What sources do you typically use as
information on Hispanic foods?

Terry Soto – Moderator

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