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19Oct

Holiday Shopping Not So Feliz for Latinos Online

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Common Sense Advisory, Inc., an independent research firm, announces its latest research report on online communications, customer service practices, and business-to-consumer marketing in a global economy. The study focuses on the ability of the top online retailers to reach the American Latino community online.

The study reviewed Internet Retailer’s top 50 online retailers, revealing that only four offer content in Spanish. The report findings and analysis is based on a study of the sites for Spanish and other multicultural content, and e-mail and web form attempts to contact them in English and Spanish; offering the following conclusions:

  • Most U.S. online stores have yet to market to Latinos and other ethnicities. American companies prefer operating in English. Even a targeted marketing campaign to Latinos online would cost more than most are willing to pay.
  • E-mail response to Spanish-speakers will lag English, but some excel. Even though most companies fail to answer Spanish inquiries at all or do so in English, the study found some stand-out firms that understand the opportunity, including The Sharper Image and 1-800-Flowers.
  • Web communications not tied to other channels. Low response to Spanish inquiries is a proxy for the bigger issue of inadequate investment in the e-mail portion of customer relationship management. Regardless of the language, up to 30 percent of the English buyers and 50 percent of the Spanish customers are likely to leave an e-tailer’s site with a bad impression from no response or forced to call customer service. This could lead to lower sales or much higher costs for call centers from the failure to communicate.

Comments the report’s lead analyst, Donald A. DePalma, Ph.D.: “If you sell consumer goods or services online, it is time to review your strategy for ethnic communities in the United States. Etailers should reassess multicultural opportunities and needs in this changing economy – not just for this year’s holiday shopping season, but in an effort to become trusted suppliers to a financially powerful demographic.”

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