The Untapped Market
“Not enough retailers are customizing their advertising to speak directly to their LGBT consumers,” Combs said. “Many retailers have stores located in densely populated areas, but are not recognizing that these stores would get more traffic if they marketed specifically to the LGBT segment.” Appealing to this demographic is about more than marketing or inventory; it’s also about community relations, he said.
Furniture chain Crate and Barrel in Washington D.C. hosts an annual event for Food and Friends, a nonprofit that delivers meals to people living with HIV and AIDS. The events, in which proceeds of sales are donated to the gay-friendly organization, attract many of the organizations’ wealthy donors, as well as socially minded community members. “We have had relationships with other gay and lesbian organizations over the years,” said Bette Kahn, community and public relations spokesperson for Crate and Barrel in Northbrook, Illinois. “Crate and Barrel hasn’t specifically gone after the LGBT market. Neither has it shied away from it.”
Rather than focus on any one demographic, Kahn said, the chain seeks to attract a broad customer base and diverse employees. “The gay and lesbian consumer is very important to us,” she said.