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Soto: U.S. Hispanics Consider Internet Essential During Pandemic

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by Terry Soto / CEO of About Marketing Solutions Inc.

A recent Pew Center survey published in April 2020 finds that Hispanics are 28 percent more likely to say the internet has been essential during the pandemic (65 percent Hispanics vs. 50 percent White-Non-Hispanic). This is great news for retailers because as shoppers work to limit their exposure, these findings point to Hispanics’ reliance on the internet for many of life’s essentials including groceries.

So, after you get excited about this insight, the immediate question to ask is how well your store’s digital content is engaging your shoppers and especially your Hispanic shoppers during their online shopping journey. You might also ask, if Hispanics shoppers rated their level of engagement with your content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, texts, your website and your weekly ad emails, how would you fare?

The supermarket industry is one of the few industries that is doing very well because of and during the pandemic. But if there were ever a time when supermarkets should assess and optimize how well they are communicating and engaging Hispanic shoppers online in hopes of increasing shopper satisfaction, winning a greater share of their shopping dollars and growing loyalty, that moment is now. The number of online grocery shopping Hispanics is outpacing all consumers, making them a captive audience for food retailers.

It’s no secret, there are more than 60 million Hispanics in the U.S. as of 2019, and the 2020 Census will undoubtedly reveal a significantly higher Hispanic population soon. Another piece of enticing news is that Hispanics’ grocery shopping trends point to 1) disproportionately higher spending in higher margin perishable departments, 2) higher rings at the register due to larger families and more children, whom they like to indulge and 3) a disproportionately higher number of Hispanic families sheltering together, increasing the number of mouths to feed per household.

Research indicates that 46 percent of today’s connected consumers expect contextually relevant online experiences. This means retailers must truly understand their shoppers and ensure they understand their cultural contexts when thinking about food, food shopping and meal preparation. Retailers must resist the urge to paint their shoppers with a broad brush. Instead, retailers must aim to become part of the 20 percent of best practice marketers who report being prepared to relevantly meet the online needs of their customers.

It’s true. This requires effort and commitment. But you certainly don’t want to be one of the eight in 10 marketers indicating their intelligence on local market behaviors, trends, needs and preferences hovers between good and OK. Why? Because 95 percent of these marketers believe they are being impacted and are losing out to their competitors on market opportunities as a result.

Digital marketing in the U.S. is now a $30 billion larger market than the TV advertising industry. The trend of shifting more marketing dollars to digital channels will increase from 44 percent of marketing budgets to 54 percent by 2024. With contextually relevant digital content being the top activity that will have the strongest impact on sales, it is a critical area on which food retailers should focus.

According to a Media Predict survey entitled, Engaging the Powerhouse U.S. Hispanic Online Shopper, 73 percent of Hispanic online shoppers are Spanish speakers, are 32 percent more likely than non-Hispanics to say they want personalized online loyalty offerings and are 57 percent more likely than non-Hispanics to say they rely on retailer recommendations. Additionally, as early adopters of mobile technology, seven in 10 Hispanics compared to five in 10 non-Hispanics use their mobile phones to shop online.

How contextually relevant is your content? How well is it engaging your Hispanic online shoppers? These are important questions to ask and answer in good times and in bad.

To ensure my clients’ content strategy engages and converts their diverse online shopper base, I use the following planning and implementation framework:

  • Develop a good understanding of what content marketing is and what it is and it is not meant to do;
  • Define targets shoppers / shopper personas;
  • Leverage the right data and intelligence;
  • Develop the Content Strategy ensuring alignment with business objectives;
  • Translate business objectives into content objectives;
  • Define content metrics / Key Performance Indicators;
  • Ensure internal and external alignment across partners so stakeholders align with content objectives, topics and tone;
  • Define content focus/topics, schedule, and distribution vehicles; and
  • Measure and optimize content.

Marketers are spending billions to engage, retain and maximize customer value through online content and very few are seeing the results they need. Ensure your stores are following a methodical content marketing approach that aligns with business goals and successfully engages today’s diverse online shopper with relevant messages and offerings.

Terry Soto is CEO of About Marketing Solutions Inc., a well-respected market analysis and marketing strategy consulting firm. It helps its food, drug and mass retail and consumer products goods clients optimize their market positions by helping them understand market environments, competitors and today’s consumers. Its goal is to ensure its clients can relevantly align with market needs, market effectively and accelerate topline revenue. For more information, call 818-842-9688 or email [email protected].

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