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Self-service coin counters a useful tool for ethnic supermarkets

Self-service coin counters are useful tools for ethnic supermarkets.

A wide variety of supermarkets can benefit from self-service coin counters. These machines provide a service by turning customers' loose change into cash, which they can then use to buy additional groceries. This is especially helpful for populations that have the virtue of frugality ingrained in their culture. Saving coins is a great way to build up savings over time, especially when these machines can convert the coins into more portable bills later on. For markets that specifically target ethnic communities, there is a great incentive in offering the service as a way to connect with them and better help them as customers.

Hispanic markets can greatly benefit from self-service coin counters

Many supermarket chains in America often respond to a rising ethnic population by opening a section of the store with a selection of products specifically tailored for that community. While this system can be effective in more rural populations that lack a varied cultural presence, it's not as useful in neighborhoods with a high concentration of a specific group. The end result is ethnic supermarkets, such as large bodegas in Hispanic neighborhoods or 88 markets found in some East Asian communities.

Sobeys, a Canadian supermarket chain, challenged this system by launching a new sub-brand of its discount supermarket chain called Chalo FreshCo. The store caters specifically to South Asian populations in certain parts of Ontario, Canada. This idea could enable the company to make inroads with these populations throughout the province and the rest of Canada.

As grocery store retail expert Stewart Samuel explained in a column for Supermarket News, American chains could learn something from the Chalo FreshCo launch. Many larger companies have some presence in areas with a large Hispanic population, which has become a significant part of the population in many states. New branding efforts are a step in the right direction, but perhaps the better idea is to open or re-create stores that specifically target this audience. There have been some attempts to reach this market, with Walmart's Supermercado de Walmart and H-E-B's Mi Tienda. However, these efforts may not be enough, as current projections suggest there will be 13 million more Hispanic consumers by 2025.

A supermarket that focuses entirely on the local ethnic community may work effectively in this situation. One feature such markets should have is self-service coin counters. Many ethnic communities place an emphasis on fiscal responsibility, and these machines encourage saving coinage by converting it to cash for later. By adding ways to better save money, ethnic supermarkets can strengthen their ties to the community.

November 3, 2015