September 2006 - Global Outlook: U.S. Hispanic

Relationship Building: Key to Hispanic DR Marketing

By Ana Pacheco

It is a fact. Credit card penetration and usage in the Hispanic market are low. Don’t bet on this to change in the near future.

The reasons for low credit card usage among Hispanics include distrust of unknown retailers, complexity of banking products and immigration status. Yet, this is the segment of the population that sends home $20 billion in remittances every year. And a multiple of that is spent on consumer goods and services each year.

With this kind of buying power, low credit card usage shouldn’t be a deterrent to a successful Hispanic DR campaign. If you’re sensitive to those characteristics specific to the Hispanic market, you will be rewarded with very attractive returns.

When targeting this customer base, there are two very important points to remember: (1) the importance of allowing for methods of payment alternative to credit and debit cards, and (2) the importance of following up with the customer through to completion of the transaction.

The approach to both has to come hand-in-hand. One without the other will not deliver the kind of results you’ll want to see.
Alternative cash-based methods of payment-such as traditional COD and on-site payment options (e.g., Western Union)-have emerged over the years, but few customers follow through on their promise to purchase. It’s the nature of our culture, and of many cultures.

Neither COD alone nor on-site payment alternatives will work well with this customer base without the follow-up. It is the key component to the purchasing process.

Follow-up assists merchandisers in developing a closer relationship with the customer. More importantly, follow-up allows you and your customer to establish a commitment to buy and pay for the merchandise delivered.

It is well known in the business community that before closing a deal with a Latin company, as large or as small as it may be, a personal relationship is always established beforehand. It is no different with an individual customer in a single product purchase.

However, follow-up is a separate, time-intensive function, and one that is not typically present in your general market campaigns, even though it is the key to closing a sale in the Hispanic market.

Follow-up is best provided by a company that specializes in the service. It is a distinctive skill where not only efficiency and talent are of paramount importance, but where a true understanding of the cultural nuances of this market will make all the difference.

Establishing a personal relationship with your Hispanic customer will always be crucial, and providing them with alternative methods of payment will be the only way to reach them all.

Ana Pacheco handles business development for Hispanic Logistic Services, LLC, in Los Angeles. She can be reached at (323) 231-4556, or via e-mail at [email protected].


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