Category: Uncategorized

Black community shopping habits.

Where do we stand on the subject of spending money within our community and supporting each other? Let’s find out.

2020 lockdown amplified many social issues that we previously thought that were non-existent or we simply ignored because we were very consumed by our very busy lifestyle. One of the major problems is systemic Racism (google it), and its consequences in our community. With most of the general population quarantining in their homes with their eyes glued on their phones and TV, the death of George Floyd woke us up from a deep sleep. The issues we are facing as a community are not new, we have been talking about it for many years and throughout many generations. It seems that like there is no end to it. We know what the problem is and we also understand many different solutions.
One thing is for sure, if marches resulted in major changes, Racism and discrimination would be a thing of the past.

From our perspective the pushes in law only cause resentment from the oppressors, resulting in the majority of the population just hiding it instead of looking for ways to educate themselves in the issue and kickstart real changes in behaviour. Racism can only be eradicated through education of the masses from the early stages of education.
In the meantime, we can take action by empowering ourselves and take ownership of our future and the future of our kids. We were once a victim, this day and age we have the option to create our economy and support each other.

We must understand that other communities also suffer from Racism, e.g. Asian community and Jew community (and many others). Jew community have so much power (Economic power), that no person, especially those in the position of power, can mention anything against Israel without risking losing everything.

The Asian community here in the UK also have economic power, although they can still suffer from discrimination, they are a very cohesive and united community. This allows them to build generational wealth and support each other. They buy from their own, regardless of pricing.

Our community, the black community we consume a lot from other communities. We don’t have our economy. We don’t own, except for people in sport and music industry. Most of go to work, get paid and return all the money directly to the system without first moving it within our community.

By taking small steps of keeping the money a little longer in our community, we can grow together and start creating our economic power, possible start developing African countries by kickstarting the industrial revolution. The same also applies to the countries in the Caribbean islands.

We have created 2 surveys, one for customers and the other for businesses so we could have a clear picture of our shopping habits. We have had very little engagement and will present the raw figures as we have received them. Please note that the representation is too small. It should not reflect the shopping habits of the majority of people in our community. Also, as this was posted on our page, the responses are from the people that are very aware of black-owned businesses and are interested in doing their businesses within our community hence why they follow our page.
We want to thank everyone that has responded to this survey as they have given us some insight to work with and allowed us to write this article.

Customers viewpoint:

When we asked customers about the challenges faced when buying from black-owned businesses:

We had 39 responses, we will share the most relevant and non-repeated/similar responses.

  • The availability of different types of products I find that most black businesses are within the same field but that means that there are gaps in other avenues.
  • Pricing the items are great but if you are on a budget, they could be purchased cheaper elsewhere unless it is a specialised or niche item.
  • Customer Service and opening times.
  • Professionalism, products are sometimes priced different (more expensive than advertised) poor communication, receiving or sometimes not receiving product advertised to then be told this is what’s left basically.
  • Lack of response & not being appreciated as a customer.
  • Price and variety.
  • I have only had two problems. I bought from the US and didn’t receive a large amount of my item. I emailed the business and the owner instantly accused me of lying and said overseas are the ones to always steal from her. She forgot to pack it but blamed me. She had a massive tantrum and said she isn’t shipping me my goods and refunded me and said she isn’t shipping overseas again. I never brought from her again because she handled it terribly. Another business I bought from instantly gave me a refund after I spent a large amount with them and they did not email me to explain why. I had to chase them up and ask them for their reason and they said they are not shipping to the UK because of COVID, yet they continue to ship within the US. It’s been months and they still won’t ship to the UK, so I will now not bother with that company. How they respond to customers is awful. They respond with no professionalism, no greeting and no thanks. All other black businesses I’ve dealt with, mainly from the US have been great. I am a repeat customer with most.
  • Product range, speed of delivery. Price point for fashion which is ever changing.
  • Would like shops to open at opening times and not several minutes or hours after.
  • Some of the providers don’t have online platforms to sell products or services.
  • I want to support more black brands but one particular black site that carries a brand I like has terrible communication. All my questions go unanswered & beauty mistakes get expensive.
  • If I could I would buy exclusively from black owned businesses. The challenge I’m finding is many businesses are offering similar products in the same areas and some areas not at all.

We have also asked for suggestions on how to improve customers overall experience:

  • Accessibility needs to be increased because often it is hard to locate black owned businesses and a lot of these directories need to improve their search bars
  • Better promotion, an easily, fully comprehensive directory. Or an easy to navigate directory like an “Argos” where everything from everybody is included & you just have to search product rather than going through each shop.
  • Have a website that is user friendly, grouped by product and make it easy to buy. I buy alot through Amazon, it would be nice if ‘bob’ had some kind of symbol or destination shop on their so that they are easy to identify… Even BLM garments and tshirts were being sold by Chinese mega factories, so it would be good to be able to not only find a product but also know that the seller is black.
  • Focus on strengths and either employ or invest in areas that are weak e.g social media/websites. In this current climate it is even more important to have clear up to date information and prices on websites. It’s also paramount to respond to messages/ enquiries. If there’s a delay be courteous to let the consumer know at the very least. Also, if a product is unavailable, please state so and don’t wait for complaints before you act. Lack of communication in any circumstances is very off putting. As is not being available for pre-booked appointments paid in advance, cancelled with no valid reason. This does not deter me from shopping black but reduces who I would be returning to as a regular consumer.
  • I struggle to find Black Owned Businesses for basic everyday essentials such as cleaning products, towels, socks and underwear. I generally find that the black Owned business I come across sell luxury products, but it would be great to have some basic products that I can buy in bulk. I’m also looking for furniture companies.
  • Good customer service is what I find a lot of black businesses lack. This is definitely an area that needs working on, because they will drive customers away. Building relationships with customers is a must and speaking to them properly via email or phone is essential.
  • I like the way Afrocenchix send emails like it’s a friend! Humour me, finesse me to get me to spend more of my coin!
  • More information about where materials are sourced. Are they eco-friendly? Are they shipped or locally sourced?
  • Improve delivery times and more consistent quality checking across products.
  • Create formal websites. I’ve seen many black owned products I would like to buy, but the business doesn’t have a formal website and they want you to place orders and complete transactions via social media channels instead.
  • The quality of service needs to be as good as the products. Don’t rush to start up if you’re not ready: don’t put up a website that’s half finished or have too many “coming soon” notices that never change status

Businesses Viewpoint:

Few businesses weren’t formal which difficulted access to funding, other raised the question about lack of knowledge of funding options.

Most of the businesses agree that funding and mentoring will be a great benefit for their businesses to scale.

We have received over 20 responses on this subject. Almost every single one of them agree that they don’t see benefits from using ads on Instagram and Facebook. There is little impact and there is little to no conversion.

Suggestions (from participants):

  • We need to do more for people to patronise black owned businesses.
  • Starting a business is really hard. It takes time and effort. Our community support is still lacking. Even, people you support they don’t support you unless they see you successful.
  • It’s just generally harder to do anything if you’re black, and us black people need to do better about buying black and not just talking about it.
  • This is not specific to being a black owned business but small business in general. A lot of consumers, especially in the click and buy world expect Primark prices for hand crafted items which cannot be done. It makes getting a look in or foot in the door hard. However, just being pushed and promoted by one another with feedback as those first sales begin can help. Thanks for your platform.
  • Competition is a barrier, being a new business and not yet establishing trust with customers.
  • Black people who expect discounts for supporting black businesses is a mentally we need to change.
  • I think it’s just a case of working hard and remembering that building a brand takes time 🙂
  • Young black entrepreneurs need help but no one is there I been trying all angles an it’s not easy.
  • Black owned businesses are shunned by every community even their own. The sad reality is no one really wants to support a black owned business.

Please let us know what you think down in the comments section.