Targets Hispanic Parents By Speaking in Their Mother Tongue

Hoping to provide an online venue where Spanish-speaking U.S. Hispanics can shop for baby products in their “mother tongue,” partnered with this month and launched a Spanish-language online store.

The deal creates a new revenue stream for TodoBebe, an informational Web site geared toward Spanish speakers, and enables BabyUniverse, an online retailer of baby products, to sell its products directly to the niche market.

“When we looked at the marketplace, we realized that as far as the U.S. Hispanic community, there were no online shopping solutions in Spanish for baby products,” said Claudina Rubinowicz, vice president of marketing at TodoBebe, Miami. “Mothers who feel more comfortable in Spanish had no online shopping alternatives.”

TodoBebe, which means “All Baby,” targets expectant parents ages 18 to 40 who prefer to read in Spanish. The company, which also reaches out to Hispanics in Latin American countries and Portuguese speakers in the United States and Brazil, has more than 10,000 registered users at its site, Rubinowicz said.

TodoBebe and BabyUniverse, Fort Lauderdale, FL, launched the online store at a time when many Internet retailers are failing. However, Rubinowicz thinks the company will avoid the recent dot-com tumult because of its target audience and the type of products it is selling.

“We are very fortunate to be in an attractive niche market,” she said. “And this is not a fad. Families will have babies today, tomorrow and in 10 years.”

BabyUniverse, meanwhile, which also launched a Canadian e-commerce site in July, partnered with TodoBebe to reach the Latin American community. Neil Closner, president/CEO of BabyUniverse, said the Spanish-speaking sector has remained untapped in the online world.

“The Spanish-speaking market in general is extremely underserved in terms of e-commerce,” he said. “We figured giving them a venue to shop in Spanish, in their native tongue, would hopefully make them more comfortable and enable them to spend more.”

Founded in November 1999, TodoBebe developed its database by advertising in Spanish and English publications that focus on baby issues, Rubinowicz said. Also, the company attended baby fairs as exhibitors in cities with strong Hispanic populations, such as Miami, Los Angeles and Chicago, she said.

TodoBebe also placed banner ads on targeted Web sites and partnered with companies with similar audiences to deliver TodoBebe information to their databases via e-mail newsletters, Rubinowicz said.

The company has formed other strategic partnerships with brick-and-mortar retailers in Latin America, serving as their online store, Rubinowicz said. To fulfill Latin American orders, TodoBebe partnered with an international shipping company based in Miami, she said.

Rubinowicz said marketers interested in reaching a Spanish-dominant audience have contacted her about placing banner ads on the site, sponsoring targeted Web pages and being included in the company's weekly newsletter, among other marketing tactics. In addition, TodoBebe recently introduced an online research product that enables marketers to research its database of Hispanic mothers online, she said.

“It makes sense for advertisers and marketers because it's a lot cheaper and the turnaround is much faster,” she said.

Graco Children's Products Inc., Elverson, PA, is sponsoring a survey on TodoBebe's Web site to research the use of car seats in Latin America, Rubinowicz said. Participants are entered into a sweepstakes in which the baby products manufacturer is giving away free car seats to winners, she said.

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