The face of retail consumers in the United States is changing. Multicultural consumers – including Asian, Hispanic and mixed-race individuals – are the fastest-growing population group in the U.S., with 120 million strong and increasing each year, according to Nielsen research.
These consumers are younger on average than their non-Hispanic white peers and have more years of expected buying power (52 years, compared to 37).
One in five speaks a language other than English at home, and 25 million are Limited English Proficient (LEP), meaning they speak English “less than very well.”
It’s not always realistic to have bilingual employees waiting in the wings when these individuals walk through the door. To engage with this group, retailers should consider having interpreting services available at multiple consumer touchpoints. This is why more retailers are implementing video remote interpreting (VRI).
VRI can be a competitive differentiator that gives your business an advantage over others that are vying for these consumers.
Think of the hesitation and frustration an LEP anticipates feeling when there is a language barrier. They probably doubt this will be a smooth exchange. VRI makes the consumer feel engaged and well-served. The interpreter becomes a visual extension of the store employee, providing friendly, understandable, helpful communication in a language the customer understands.
Here are just a few of the ways businesses using deploying VRI:
Multicultural consumers are more likely to buy in groups, so retailers can take advantage of the “multiplier effect” when they build relationships with them. They also have unique buying habits. According to Nielsen, multicultural consumers make up a disproportionate share of the super consumers in 15 major product categories. They also tend to spend more in categories including personal care and foods central to their cultural identities.
When multicultural consumers have questions or can’t find something, video remote interpreting allows a store employee to reach someone in their own language. This builds trust and encourages those consumers to come back.
Let’s say a customer comes into the store already upset. They purchased a large package of food only to find it was expired. Without strong communication, issues like these can escalate quickly. The consumer assumes the store employee isn’t listening, but the real issue is that the employee doesn’t fully understand her. With video remote interpreting, the employee can de-escalate the situation and offer an alternative.
Consumers can buy anything online and are increasingly coming to stores to do more than just buy. They want to see how things work, get inspired, and receive advice. Hardware retailers are increasingly using video remote interpreting services to walk along with customers as they plan a project – even upselling them on supplies they may not have realized they needed.
Likewise, a furniture or home décor store could use a tablet to go through the store with customers as they plan a room redesign. A grocery store could offer in-store menu planning or wine-pairing advice.
Video remote interpreting enables on-demand, one-touch access to a professionally trained interpreter in seconds. LanguageLine provides this service in 35 languages, including American Sign Language. VRI can be accessed via tablet, smartphone, or desktop. By adding a visual component to spoken interpretation, VRI reduces the risk of misunderstanding by capturing body language and facial expressions to create a more personal experience.
Here are some actual user comments about our video interpreters from a prominent phone retailer:
To learn more about how VRI works for retail, request a demo.