CHICAGO -- Larry Wilson has studied candy and its merchandising for several years now. And as vice president of customer relations for the National Confectioners Association, he’s learned a lot about what drives consumers to visit the candy aisle and, even better than that, to spend more than they intended to.
Speaking at the NCA’s Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago, Wilson explained his 5E Principals for Maximizing Everyday Candy Sales.
“If you can create an increase in dwell time—how long a customer spends in the candy aisle, and not because they can’t find what they’re looking for—you can increase the chance of purchase by 30%,” Wilson said.
To get there, Wilson offers these 5 E’s:
- Experience: Inspire shoppers and win future trips. “Play up the sensory experience,” Wilson said, urging retailers to appeal to all the senses, especially sight, touch and taste.
- Emotion: Capitalize on the strong emotional connection. “There’s an emotional connection between consumers and candy,” Wilson said, “especially during the holidays. Bring fun to the section with seasonal products and displays, sampling and frequent introductions of new items."
- Effectiveness: Give the shopper what they want. “Bring the color and excitement of the seasons to the candy aisle.”
- Efficiency: Provide operational excellence. “If you’re not open to new products, then you’re missing out,” Wilson said. “If you’re first to market with a product, consumers are more likely to come back [to your store] to purchase [that product] every time.”
- Environment: Embrace mega trends. “If the shopper can’t find what he wants, you’ve lost them,” Wilson said. “Instead, start a conversation and an experience with the brand.”
It’s all part of capturing your fair share of the $33.6-billion candy industry, which grew 2.5% in 2013, according to Wilson. The category is expected to grow another $6 billion over the next five years.