Lotte Plaza, a popular Korean and Asian Supermarket in Maryland and Virginia, has successfully expanded its offerings to include the South Asian market, reports the American Bazaar.
Lotte Plaza has 10 locations in the two states and said it began the transformation to offering more South Asian goods after 9-11 when the store began seeing more South Asian customers.
“They would go to a mainstream market and feel very uncomfortable, but when they come to our stores, they were very comfortable, said Alvin Lee, Lotte Plaza’s director. We didn’t treat them any differently. We were seeing more and more South Asian customers, especially with the produce and the vegetables. So we told ourselves, “Hey, we need to serve this community better.” We started small sections of grocery items and it got bigger and bigger. We started learning about Diwali and big festivals. Diwali is a big deal for us now.”
Lee says his stores are very demographically driven and sees the South Asian Market as not one big homogenous community–but one that’s very diverse.
“We look at the South Asian community as a broad segment, just like we look at the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans as the broader East Asian segment,” said Lee. “We look at the South Asian segment in a broader sort of spectrum because there are some food products that cross over and appeal to various groups within this group. But we also look very closely at each segment — whether it is Bangladeshi, Nepalese, or Indian — and even within the Indian demographic, we divide up the regions.”
Lee also is expanding Lotte’s customer base to include the mainstream American population which is attracted by quality, price and changing tastes.
“There are several things happening that we see: number one is that the taste of America is changing. Especially with Asian foods, whether it’s Indian, or Korean, or Chinese, or Japanese, it’s making inroads into the mainstream diet of the general American populace.”
You can read about Lotte Plaza’s marketing efforts, where it gets its produce and how it identifies its customer base in the American Bazaar.