March 5, 2010, 12:00 AM

Spanish-language marketing campaign drives sales to English-language sites

Although e-retailers might assume that running marketing campaigns through Spanish-language media would drive traffic to Spanish-language e-retail sites, one such effort suggests Hispanic shoppers tend to make more purchases from English-language sites.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor


Online retailers might assume that running marketing campaigns largely through Spanish-language media would drive traffic to Spanish-language retail web sites. However, results of one such marketing effort suggest that Hispanic shoppers tend to make more purchases from English-language web sites.

Marketing firm Omni Direct Inc. conducted an 18-month campaign that ended in mid-February for two products, Ellezza, a beauty cream, and Xtreme Bra. Ads ran on Spanish-language television stations across the United States and on English- and Spanish-language web sites. Web orders for the two products reached about a quarter of all sales, with the rest coming from phone orders.

Omni says most of the online orders came via English-language sites for the two products, not the Spanish-language sites. The company, which had U.S. distribution rights for the two products, did not release specific sales figures, but added that the effort showed that Spanish-speakers customers overall were using the web for purchases more than was assumed.

“Our client had assumed that less than 10% of Hispanics ordered online based on the company’s previous experience with Hispanic campaigns,” says Denira Borrero, Omni’s vice president of operations. “We confirmed that at least 26% of the total Spanish orders were coming through the web and, of those orders, a significant majority was through their English site.”

Reasons for most sales going through English-language sites include the tendency of such sites to pop up higher in searches conducted from the U.S., she says. Additionally, most Hispanic consumers in the U.S. are used to conducting transactions in English. Finally, English-language web sites in the U.S. tend to be better designed than Spanish sites, Borrero says, making consumers trust them more.

The findings from marketing effort shows that online retailers need to think deeply about campaigns that focus on Hispanic consumers and not assume that Spanish-speaking shoppers will automatically go to Spanish-language sites, Borrero says.



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