C-stores Have Opportunity to Convert 83% of Shoppers Who Enter Confectionery Aisle, But Don't Purchase


CHICAGO — The retail landscape is changing as rapidly as its customers. The one constant, however, is when a customer enters a convenience store, the main aisle remains the most common place shoppers pick up confections.

More than half of c-store shoppers (62 percent) make their confectionery purchase decision at the shelf — meaning most consumers are still open to influence in-store. Approximately 20 percent of shoppers will enter the confectionery aisle and browse it, while only 17 percent end up making a purchase, according to new data from Mars Wrigley U.S.

To stay ahead of the changing landscape, grow and become the preferred destination for everything confectionery, Mars Wrigley released its Path to Purchase approach, which considers the full shopping journey as well as how consumers use confections today and in the future. The approach outlines key areas of opportunity, inside and outside the store, to help retailers provide a seamless, integrated experience that ultimately results in more sales.

"C-stores will always be a crucial component for shoppers and the candy aisle will continue to be a main source for purchases. Mars Wrigley Confectionery's new Path to Purchase strategy and best-in-class shelving were created to help retailers connect the right products and create an engaging environment for every shopper who enters the c-store," said Jim Dodge, vice president of convenience at Mars Wrigley. "We've already seen great success testing our recommendations with retailers, including a large national c-store retailer, and are excited to introduce this strategy to more c-store retailers nationwide."

Through the Path to Purchase approach, Mars Wrigley has key recommendations for c-store retailers:

Use occasions for confections to drive conversion

Mars Wrigley's research shows there are four main reasons consumers reach for treats and snacks, including:

  • Recharge (refresh and renew now or for later)
  • Reward (treat or reward yourself or loved ones)
  • Connect (enhance informal sharing occasions)
  • Celebrate (celebrate seasonal events and special moments)

Help shoppers notice and find confectionery in-aisle

By creating a more intuitive and visually appealing shelf, search time can be reduced, and shopper satisfaction and sales will increase. A few opportunities to do this are at the shelf and closer to the shelf:

  • Remodel the merchandising flow based on the category vision growth drivers.
  • Clearly define and block chocolate, fruity confections, gum, and mint to create powerful "brand billboards" for shoppers.
  • Drive conversion through signage aligning with Recharge, Reward, Connect, Celebrate to trigger conversion.
  • Leverage power-brand, flavor profiles and share size over singles to entice shoppers to walk down the confectionery aisle.

Treat candy as a treat, not a snack

According to Mars Wrigley research, consumers view candy as a treat and continue to enjoy it as part of a balanced lifestyle, especially millennials. In response, retailers should provide consumers with a range of formats, calories and price options to drive sales. 

"Many retailers are now looking to evolve their shopping experience, and collaboration is at the heart of what we do at Mars Wrigley. We are committed to working with retailers, national and regional, to understand their business and implement insights and recommendations that propel the category," stated Shaf Lalani, vice president of customer experience at Mars Wrigley