CVS/pharmacy enters largely unchartered waters in retail with Spanish-language site

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — The launch of CVS/pharmacy’s Spanish-language website is especially important when you consider the fact that the company is attempting to do something that only one other retailer has been able to do. Yep, one.

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Only one other retailer — Best Buy — has been able to launch and support a robust Spanish-language e-commerce site in the long run. Well, if CVS/pharmacy proves successful then make that two retailers that have achieved such an accomplishment.

The move is in line with CVS’ effort to take its digital program to new heights in the coming years. Furthermore, CVS is working to offer shoppers a more personalized shopping experience via a store clustering approach and, in 2012, is expanding its segmentation approach through several tests, including a Hispanic prototype. Granted, its store clustering initiative pertains to bricks and mortar locations but perhaps some of the learnings from the site will play out in a Hispanic prototype?

What also makes the launch of the site especially important is the significant growth of the Hispanic population. By 2016, this demographic group will comprise 17.8% of U.S. residents, according to a September 2011 report, titled “The Growing Hispanic Population Means Big Business for These 7 Sectors,” from market research firm IBISWorld.

“For more than two decades, Hispanic buying power growth has outstripped that of the general population. Despite difficulties during and following the recession of 2009, buying power among Hispanics continues to escalate steeply,” IBISWorld wrote in the report.

According to IBISWorld, over the next five years, the nation’s buying power is projected to grow 27.5% to $14.7 trillion, while that of the Hispanic population is forecast to grow 48.1% to $1.6 trillion.

“Retail industries are some of the main beneficiaries of growing Hispanic buying power due to their long history of advertising toward the market. With concerted efforts by retailers to attract Hispanic consumers through English- and Spanish-language mediums, the sector’s share of the demographic is projected to swell,” IBISWorld wrote in the report.