A year after trials began, its confectionery sales for Winn-Dixie in particular increased by 25%, senior manager of merchandising center of excellence at Hershey Rick Price told ConfectioneryNews.
“We found that shoppers are actually stopping and taking selfies by the in-store displays,” Price said. “The Candy Experience creates a shopping experience that takes consumers out of their usual shopping routine.”
'Store within a store' concept
The focal points of the Candy Experience concept are the displays, which feature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey’s Kisses shaped toppers, colored graphics of unwrapped candy and convenient organization by usage occasion, such as candy dish, movie and snack, and grab and go, Price explained. All these displays stand in circle around the perimeter of the store.
The concept was born out of a desire to solve a problem from both the shopper and retailers' perspectives, Price added.
“We know that 76% of shoppers aren’t happy with clutter in the candy aisle, and as a result were walking away with no candy in their cart. This shopping experience disconnect makes it more difficult for shoppers to find what they need and for retailers to strengthen confection sales.”
In addition, Price said Millennials' candy buying will surpass baby boomers in just a few years, and that generation values social, fun and engaging experiences when it comes to spending their time and money.
No universal way to design an in-store candy experience
Even though the brand elements and overall design are consistent across all three stores where Hershey tests the Candy Experience concept, the company realized each store needs a customized in-store design, according to Price.
“We work with each of our retail partners individually to design custom Candy Experiences that will yield the best results based on our insights and their customer data,” he said.
It is challenging to adopt Candy Experience concept for online retailers
In-store shoppers are increasingly mission-driven and distracted, challenging both retailers and brands to attract, engage, and convert shoppers and grow basket size, said VP of strategy & insight at Profitero, Keith Anderson.
“Hershey's Candy Store-within-a-Store Experience in the Winn Dixie store seems to have high visibility from the store's entrance, which can be key for attracting shoppers,” he said. “The circular displays may draw shoppers in, exposing them to more products and increasing dwell time, a leading indicator of basket penetration.”
Anderson said experiential displays like Hershey’s do need to consider space productivity, such as sales per square foot, and the incremental cost of high-quality fixtures and displays compared to traditional aisle and shelf configurations.
Expensive though it might be, Anderson thinks the “store within a store” strategy is one area in which offline retail leads online retail.
“It remains challenging to create differentiated brand and category experiences at the digital shelf, and online retailers have room to become more collaborative with suppliers like Hershey, using insights and analytics to inform decisions about navigation, layout and adjacencies, faceted search, and product presentation.”