The face of the retail furniture consumer is changing. That’s because America is changing, too. There are 131 million multicultural Americans in the United States today, according to a Claritas report earlier this year. Those Americans make up 37.5 percent of the U.S. population with Hispanics accounting for the largest portion at 19.6 percent.
Minority groups now make up more than half of the population in 400 U.S. counties and that Hispanics are a significant part of this change. For 16 years, HFA member Joaquin Rodriguez, profiled in the HFA’s Fall Insights issue, has successfully understood the Hispanic market and unlocked its potential at Hacienda Furniture in Oxnard, Calif.
Rodriguez, who owns the company with his brother, Francisco, says his store’s loyal Hispanic customers don’t necessarily need to shop at a Hispanic-owned store, but they need to feel comfortable there. That’s why all six Hacienda employees are fluent in both Spanish and English.
“When you’re making a big purchase, you’re going to have questions,” Joaquin Rodriguez says. “We want everyone who buys from us to know all that they can about what they’re buying.”
That knowledge should not be limited to product, says Rodriguez. Hacienda’s Hispanic consumers are increasingly leaning on financing for their purchases. Rodriguez relies on HFA Solution Partners Synchrony and Tidewater. Hispanic customers are sometimes leery of financing programs unless they have everything spelled out to them upfront, says Rodriguez. “The more you explain the (financing) rules, the more they gain confidence. That’s where the communication comes in.”
Rodriguez says Hispanic families in Oxnard are “very family-driven” so it’s important to first take care of the customer and then encourage them to share their experience with family. “You hear retailers say our customers are our best advertising and that’s so true with us,” he says. “If we sell a sofa to someone and we did it right, there’s a good chance we’re going to see that person’s brother or sister in a few months. That’s true with all customers probably, but more so with Hispanics.”