The Hershey Co. is trying to make the candy section more exciting — and testing has shown that the new displays can boost sales by double-digits.
The chocolate maker has designed a “store within a store” for the candy section at Winn-Dixie’s Baton Rouge, La., location, with bold displays staged in a circular formation to replace the traditional candy aisle.
The new “Candy Experience” section displays Hershey’s own products as well as those from competitors. The stands are topped with enticing icons such as a large Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, a Hershey’s Kiss or a M&M. And, the section also features colorful graphics and convenient organization by usage occasion.
The displays are placed in a high-traffic area in the front of the store next to the checkout lanes — a more prominent and easily accessible location than a traditional candy aisle.
And, testing has shown that this new section can boost confection category sales for retailers by double-digits.
“We are excited about this new candy experience because it puts the consumer and shopper first,” says Rick Price, senior manager of center store evolution at Hershey. “A majority of shoppers find the candy category the hardest to shop and the least inspiring in the store, resulting in many shoppers walking away without any confection in their basket. Our reimagined candy aisle addresses these challenges and makes candy shopping more convenient and memorable.”
“We have put comprehensive success metrics in place, and we are excited to see how the Hershey’s Candy Experience performs,” says Frank Jimenez, senior director of retail evolution at Hershey. “We anticipate it will be a game changer, and we look forward to working with Winn-Dixie to roll it out at other stores and beginning to ignite a change in how candy is displayed and sold across the grocery channel.”
The grocery channel has experienced declining sales in the last few years in center-of-the-store categories, including confections, with trips in the grocery channel down 2.1 percent.
Hershey, which is the independent category adviser at many major U.S. retailers, is trying to avoid this drop by recreating the way candy is sold.
The Baton Rouge store committed to using this new design for one year, during which Hershey will invest in in-store shopper research and category merchandising plans. Winn-Dixie aims to build shopper loyalty by offering a unique experience that differentiates it from competitors.
Hershey’s approach to candy-aisle merchandising is based on its insights-driven performance (IDP) model, its proprietary retail collaboration tool to grow the category based on industry-leading consumer insights.
These insights help Hershey plan for new technology alongside changing consumer expectations in retail. The chocolate maker focuses on front-end transformation, total-store insights, center-of-the-store transformation, experiential shopping and small-store formats.
The Hershey Co. is a global confectionery leader with more than 80 brands that generate more than $7.1 billion in annual revenue. Led by popular brands such as Hershey’s, Reese’s, Hershey’s Kisses, Jolly Rancher and Ice Breakers, Hershey is planning to expand beyond the confectionery aisle.
Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. is a subsidiary of Bi-Lo Holdings, the fifth-largest conventional supermarket in the U.S. bases on number of stores. Winn-Dixie employs more than 48,000 people in about 546 stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.