The importance of physical retailers for ethnic audiences

3rd December 2021

1 in 6 people living in the UK is from an Ethnic Minority, here at GottaBe! Ethnic, we understand the importance of reaching these audiences as they have a £300bn spending power. Brands are missing out on this spending power because they do not know how to engage with ethnic audiences effectively. With only 1 in 5 brands reaching out to ethnic minorities, it is no surprise that minority groups choose to spend their money in independent stores. 

Within this blog, we will be looking at the importance of physical stores for ethnic audiences and how you can make your store more appealing for ethnic minorities.

Why are physical stores important for ethnic audiences?

Physical shops do better with ethnic audiences as they know what the customer wants. They target a specific community and sell culturally fitting items to the audience.  Physical shops are popular with ethnic minorities because they feel represented. Lack of representation is the top reason minority groups avoid big brands, as consumers are more likely to spend money with brands they feel represent their values. 

Ethnic stores are also a trusted place to go as the local shopkeeper is a key person of influence in a community. Verdict’s research claims independent shops will always have a lead on supermarkets as “They can devote stores to a community. They know their customers better and can respond more quickly to demands.” A local independent store is a space of familiarity where the consumer can build a personal relationship with the shopkeeper as they tend to sell at a smaller scale. Working at a smaller scale than branded supermarkets allows the shop owner to know regular customers by name. Which helps to build customer loyalty and trust, and is why they are often thought of as key people of influence in a community. 

How can I make my store more appealing for ethnic audiences?

Brands will struggle to engage with ethnic audiences if they do not understand the individual consumer behaviours of the minority groups. But the most important thing to consider when looking to engage with ethnic minorities is to ensure that your brand represents and provides products that serve the consumer’s needs. Big brands often misrepresent ethnic minorities. GottaBe! Ethnic has over 4,500 community ambassadors that give us insights into ethnic communities across the UK. This helps us stay up to date with the ever-changing consumer behaviours of ethnic minorities. 

There is a reason that small ethnic stores are so prevalent within communities, and it is because they offer more than just products. We know that ethnic audiences visit local stores frequently; here are three ways to make your store more appealing to ethnic audiences. 

Ethnic products 

Especially with ethnic food, smaller shops will stock items that will not be available online or in bigger supermarkets, allowing minorities to enjoy a piece of their culture and, therefore, be more willing to return. Independent shops tend to specialise in one minority group providing for that community, giving them the edge over online and larger retailers. 


GottaBe! has implemented over 500,000 in-store merchandising calls as a professional merchandising agency and helped re-brand over 500 stores for a single client, so we know the importance of merchandising. 

Merchandising is the perfect opportunity to sell through the presentation, arrangement and display of a product that puts your product before the consumer and encourages them to buy what they want and not what they need. Find our guide to effective merchandising here.

When merchandising a store, your brand should consider the imagery used and ensure it resonates with the consumer—thinking of colour, language and symbols to draw in the target audience. Ethnic stores typically understand their audience well, but if you are looking to reach new audiences, your brand will need to ensure the visuals you are using within your marketing materials are not offensive to the community. 


Independent stores are typically found in central locations in a community, town or city and are easily identified by their signage. Ethnic stores allow those who cannot speak or understand English (or the country’s majority language) to shop confidently. They also give a space for those who may be digitally excluded to connect with others. Ethnic stores provide cultural foods/products and offer instore opportunities to communicate with friends or family overseas through money transfer services.

We are proud multicultural marketing specialists. Along with our community ambassadors’ insight, we continually look to improve our knowledge and stay updated with ethnic communities in the UK and Ireland. If you’re looking to reach ethnic audiences but are unsure where to start, contact GottaBe! Ethnic today!

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