Snacks & Candy

Creating Engagement is Key to Bigger Baskets

Courtesy of The Hershey Company

As today’s consumers tend to focus on planned purchases when shopping the convenience store, finding a go-to retailer they trust to offer the products they need is a high priority. Retailers who can deliver on ease, convenience and peace of mind will garner the shopper’s share of mind—and wallet—enabling them to thrive. However, as shopping continues to become more “mission-based,” how do retailers capture the profitability of unplanned purchases?

There are plenty of opportunities throughout the shopper’s journey for “delightful detours” that entice shoppers to go beyond the essentials by delighting them with cues that trigger latent needs.

Many retailers are rethinking their front ends as a means of capturing these unplanned needs at checkout, but there’s more opportunity than the front end alone. The key to unlocking the growth from unplanned purchases comes from continuous listening and engaging with shoppers, understanding their path to purchase and engaging them at different moments throughout their journey.

Clear assortment strategy

One of the interesting impacts of COVID-19 on consumers is the increase in mission-focused shopping. Shoppers are looking for both safety and convenience, and are therefore approaching their shopping trips with less casual browsing and more focused intentions on the job they are hoping to accomplish. 

We see this behavior in everything from meal planning and baking, to at-home celebrations like Easter egg hunts or Halloween activities. This presents a clear need for retailers to have a defined assortment strategy in place—both in-store and online—to offer shoppers the right variety of products to meet a variety of uses and occasions with the fulfilment option of their choosing.

Data-driven shelves unlock findability

Offering the right assortment is a great first step to capturing both planned and unplanned purchases, but it must be combined with the right organization. Shoppers' attention spans are limited, and offerings need to be relevant. If shoppers can’t find the products they need to accomplish their mission, or be inspired to purchase something unplanned, they move on. 

Hershey shares its insights on shopper behavior with retailers to help shape the user experience and influence that unplanned purchase within the retailer’s environment. Powered by industry-leading capabilities and category management expertise developed over decades, Hershey is using the foundational knowledge from in-store behaviors to apply them to new and emerging online behaviors.   

But it’s not just about store-level and historical data; it’s about triangulating data online and offline and applying learnings from both environments to create a cohesive experience across the physical and digital shelves to help consumers find what they are looking for.

Strategic merchandising principles

To create more engagement, retailers should begin by considering how to create consistency between shopping the physical store and the digital shelf. As shoppers increasingly expect an omnichannel experience, retailers have the opportunity to connect with them across a more dynamic landscape—in-store, online and through social.

In the physical world, where the opportunities for engagement are more disruptive to a mission-focused shopper, this means maximizing strategic merchandising like wayfaring and grouping items. The merchandising strategy in-store has been tested and tried over the decades in unlocking inspiration throughout the shopper journey: From under the counter, to endcaps, signage and queue lines, the opportunity exists for merchandising to meet an unplanned need, while again increasing basket size.

Through Hershey’s ongoing research, shoppers have expressed that the digital shelf is a highly routinized experience with little inspiration. Within the digital experience, retailers have multiple inflection points to incite basket building behavior—through deals, simple recipes and strong cross-category affinities.

Rather than thinking about unplanned purchases simply as instant consumables added at checkout, an online shopping journey enables more moments of engagement to inspire and cue latent needs that drive unplanned purchases to be added to a basket, delighting the shopper and building the basket “beyond the list” for the retailer.

This post is sponsored by The Hershey Company

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