For years black customers have faced racial prejudices when entering luxury brands stores, however the brands are now stepping up now to educate their workers.
Previous research has found that black people experience more negative treatment when they go shopping compared to any other racial group, it’s so bad to the point that it happens to 1 in 5 black customers. The research found that 14% of black customers found they have been treated worse than other people in the restaurant or stores, this compares to the 4% of asian adults and hispanic adults and 2% of white adults in the same locations as them. Despite this, black shoppers represent a large customer base that have a huge influence that is continuing to grow. Despite a lot of people thinking white people spend the most money, black customers spent $1.4 trillion in 2019 and expected to grow to $1.8 trillion by 2024, a lot more than what white consumers spend.
In the US, Camille Lloyd has opened the new Gallup Centre on Black Voices. They are aiming to give black people a voice and create reports to help give people a better perspective, by speaking to over 40 million black American citizens. These reports will be used to create goals that are sustainable to make shopping safer and more enjoyable for black customers.
It has only been in the past year that there have some serious lawsuits regarding racism in stores. Versace and Moschino were issued lawsuits for serious allegations regarding racially profiling black customers in their stores. Despite LVMH being good for diversity, Sephora was in trouble last May after singer Sza was racially profiled in one of their stores by an employee; after this all Sephora stores closed for a one hour diversity training workshop in July and employees learnt ways to stop racially profiling black customers who come into the store. The most recent is the company Urbn, who own Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, are also coming under fire for allegedly racial profiling customers using code words like ‘Nick’ ‘Nicky’ or ‘Nicole’ for anyone who staff believed to be a shoplifter. Since the allegations Urban Outfitters responded on their website promising a third party investigation into store practices, as well as employing a more diverse workforce and enforcing mandatory diversity training for all staff in their stores.
Brands are now bringing in external inclusivity and diversity consultants to start training both staff in stores and management. “The killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and the fact that there was a pandemic happening at the same time, has forced an awakening. It’s caused everyone to engage in a discussion that they previously had the option to opt out of, but they no longer do, because everything else has stopped,” which is true and Amber Cabral is right, her job as a diversity and inclusion strategist will make life that little bit more pleasant and enjoyable for black people who are constantly discriminated against.
So how do you want to help?