My Guest Post

guest.jpg I’m very excited to say I’ve guest-posted on Flooring The Consumer blog, by Christine Whittemore. Christine and I met here at the blogsphere, through the Z-list, and have been communicating with each other ever since. She invited me to guest post on her blog about my transcultural point of view on the US retail environment. Christine writes about consumers’ retail experience and have put together one of the most interesting blogs out there.

I must say, our efforts turned out great! My guest post together with her commentary is one heck of a post! CHECK it out, it’s a very interesting and thought provoking read. And as usual, let me know what you thoguht of it.


16 responses to “My Guest Post

  1. interesting perspective Katia. I could relate to it completely. The retail history in india is very similar. Small neighbourhood grocery stories win over the biggie’s because of their relationship building with consumers and their personalized service. The scene in cities is changing though with people opting for the super market chains instead. As a consumer I mirror your behaviour of ‘picking’ rather than choosing

  2. Hey Katia,

    Great post! I never experienced such culture shock when I moved to the UK. Despite the Franco-British war, the culture in both countries in pretty similar.

    As soon as I have more time on my hand, I’d like to expand further on your post on the topic of consumerism. I will let you knwo about it all shortly.

  3. Katia, very much liked your guest post. What you describe — shopping at the smaller store and brand restriction — is still very prevalent in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but is fast-changing in the bigger cities with the arrival of hypermarkets (not just Wal-Mart, but also Makro, Carrefour, etc.) and “mega-supermarkets.” So you find in all too many LAC nations that while in sheer numbers there are more of those neighborhood “colmados” or “bodegas” or small grocery stores or “mini-supermarkets”, in terms of their share of the overall retail market in their countries they are fading away.

    This has multiple implications not just for branding, marketing and promotion, but also for logistics, packaging choice and even for areas like environmental protection. Yes, you heard right. One example: many of those neighborhood stores voluntarily participated in bottle deposit-return systems that the big stores refuse to engage in. Conversely, some of those larger stores carry organic produce, can promote concentrates and economical large portions, and carry foreign eco-labeled products. Stores like Wal-Mart and Carrefour sometimes make deals with recyclers for large-scale recycling of things that the final consumer never sees, such as plastic shipping wrap and strapping and pallets.
    [As you might have guessed by now, I did a long essay on this once for futurologist looking at the future of retailing and packaging in LAC. 🙂 ]

    I was disappointed you didn’t discuss in any detail some of the other differences in the average LAC market and US shopping, though. Example: in most traditional LAC stores, there are more employees and you tend to get personal service and develop a relationship (a bit like we did with the corner grocery store when I grew up in WVa). Also, it’s quite common in LAC to buy things in portions, not whole containers. People in the DR often buy individual plastic packets of coffee from an opened larger funda, or even individual chiclets instead of a whole box. Also, packaging differs, as many things are wrapped in simpler, undecorated papers or wraps, and many LAC consumers insist on being able to view the product before buying (I guess because of traditional concerns about freshness), so you have things like sugar in clear plastic bags instead of paper bags or boxes like we have in the US. There is also less emphasis on extensive reading of labels, and the concept of unit pricing and buying based thereon is not widespread…..

    Anyway, would love to discuss this sometime over a chopp! LOL

    Um abraço,

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