Retailers Miss the Mark And Money With Black Consumers

March 14, 2012  |  

As many of us already know, even in a predominately black community, it can be hard to find the beauty products that cater to people of color.  But what retailers fail to realize is when they ignore the needs of consumers in a minority community, they’re also hurting their bottom line.

Ad Age blogger Pepper Miller Miller points out that the growth of natural hair care products have created the multi-million dollar brands Miss Jessie’s and Mixed Chicks and have inspired the launch of several other products for kinky hair that lead the new standards for the $9 billion black hair-care business.

Despite the large numbers, retailers continue to miss the mark with the lack of diversity they put up on their shelves. Instead these products find their place in neighborhood beauty supply stores.

Miller says that the difficulties associated with finding products for women of color are the result of mainstream “planogramming.” This is a method used by retailers to stock the same cosmetics, hair and skin care products in every community. Unfortunately it falls short in stocking the desired products in black communities. Hair care for women of color is often relegated to the tiny and segregated ethnic section. Generally the section is never large enough to accommodate the demand. Instead, frustrated minority shoppers are left staring at the image of the smiling blond models in the front of the beauty section and an endless supply of cosmetics in the wrong shade.

As an explanation for this missed opportunity, retailers declare it’s too difficult to stock products using ethnic planograms and that they do not have the budget to give ethnic products national ad campaigns. They also claim that small, community beauty supply stores that sell these products at low prices make it difficult for them to compete in this market.

Miller points out that these are poor excuses from retailers. She even filed a complaint about the retailer in her community’s lack of selection. Their response? An extra foot in the ethnic section.

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