DEVELOPING AN EMPATHIC UNDERSTANDING OF HISPANIC AND AFRICAN AMERICAN SHOPPERS
So, what’s a brand to do when their current base of customers is not really diverse, but they want to change that? How can they develop an empathic understanding of multicultural consumers, as well as uncover potential “blind spots” (they don’t know what they don’t know) about multicultural consumers?
This was the challenge faced by our client, a large retailer typically located in rural locations. They sought to better engage with Hispanic and African American consumers but lacked foundational knowledge to do so.
Our client, a rural lifestyle retailer, had recently established a Diversity and Inclusion task force and was looking to understand how multicultural consumers perceived their brand. They were looking for insights on how to better serve these customers and their communities.
They approached C+R for help in gaining insights into Hispanic and African American consumers, specifically, to understand the awareness/perceptions of their retail stores, as well as competitors, barriers for shopping at their stores, and opportunities to overcome these barriers. With these objectives in mind, C+R designed and conducted an Attitude and Usage (A&U) study among Hispanics and African Americans to build foundational learning.
Because our client sought to quantify perceptions of Hispanic and African American consumers, C+R conducted an Attitude and Usage (A&U) study. The purpose of the survey was to cast a wide net of African American and Hispanic shoppers of the retail category to capture their perceptions of different aspects of both our client’s brand and key competitors – at brand-level as well as in-store and experiential perceptions.
In total, 442 consumers took part in an online quantitative survey: 264 Hispanic shoppers and 178 African American shoppers. All respondents were over 18 and were either recent shoppers or non-recent but aware shoppers of our client’s brand. Those who had not shopped our client had shopped a competitor within the past 12 months.
The survey lasted approximately 20 minutes and was fielded in both English and Spanish. Participants answered questions regarding their demographics and retailer usage (including familiarity and retailers shopped), retailer metrics (including retailer considerations, satisfaction, and future intent to shop), category needs and retailer perceptions (including perceptions of the client’s brand and competitors), and lifestyle and values questions (such as media usage and community group involvement).
The data were weighted to help ensure an appropriate balance of interviews by urbanicity, given that our client’s retail footprint skewed heavily rural; and to appropriately account for the geographies where most multicultural shoppers live.
As a result of the study, our client gained detailed knowledge about the similar and differing ways African American and Hispanic consumers viewed their brand versus competitors. They also learned of several important differences between current shoppers of their brand and lapsed shoppers, including in the areas of satisfaction, store perceptions, and overall category needs.
The client also received numerous recommendations for how to better engage with Hispanic and African American consumers to improve engagement among these cohorts and attract lapsed multicultural customers back to the stores.