NATIONAL REPORT — Only 20 percent of convenience store shoppers enter the confectionery aisle and actually browse it, and just 17 percent of those shoppers end up purchasing.
That leaves the opportunity to convert 83 percent of shoppers who enter the store, according to Shaf Lalani, vice president of customer experience for Mars Wrigley U.S.
The candy maker recently 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.
Consumers who shop for confections use candy for connecting, celebrating and gifting, which motivates them to make a quick but planned trip to a c-store. At the same time, other consumers treat themselves in real-time, which builds baskets while in-store, Lalani pointed out.
According to Mars Wrigley, the core four confectionery shopper drivers are:
Recharge — refresh and renew, now or for later.
Reward — treat or reward yourself or loved ones.
Connect — enhance informal sharing occasions.
Celebrate — seasonal events and special moments.
While the main candy aisle will continue to be a chief source for purchases, there are additional opportunities to drive confection sales throughout the rest of the c-store, especially since 62 percent of shoppers make their confectionery purchase decision at the shelf.
On average, the c-store shopper is spending about two and a half minutes in the store, 27 seconds of which is spent interacting with the confection category, explained Glenn Frazier, director of category management, and Renee Balliet, senior manager of shopper insights, for The Hershey Co.
"We need to ensure the displays are prevalent and well planogrammed, so shoppers can easily find the brands and pack types they are looking for," the executives said.
"The main aisle continues to yield the highest conversion rate for the category, while we see multiple points of interruption such as endcaps, freestanding displays and front-end checkout merchandising create strong engagement and conversion as well," they added.
The Hershey executives say there is a simple formula for confection: "See candy, buy candy, eat candy."
The three most impactful catalysts for driving confectionery impulse purchases are promotional activity, displays, and in-aisle signage, Frazier and Balliet shared.
"Keeping displays relevant and easy for shoppers generates strong engagement and conversion. Signage to help navigate the aisle aids in the shopper journey as well," they said.