As 2018 comes to a close, c-store retailers continue to grapple with the challenge of being all things to all people at all times. What role will candy and snacks play in the c-store of the future, and what are the most important factors c-store owners and operators are considering when crafting their retail and merchandising strategies for 2019 and beyond? Here’s a few tips for remaining competitive and ensuring all your customers are satisfied.
Know your shopper
Convenience store shoppers are looking for convenient, on-the-go snacking options that meet their evolving snack preferences. Luckily, data from a variety of sources, including manufacturers, can help c-store owners paint an accurate picture of their shoppers’ unique needs. Armed with this knowledge, retailers can adapt their shopper engagement strategies and implement the very best category management practices throughout the store.
What’s one big takeaway that c-stores should keep top of mind going into 2019? Shoppers continue to buy indulgent treats. That insight alone poses plenty of opportunity for c-stores, where candy provides the highest gross margins across snack categories.[i] In fact, candy buyers make an average of 35 candy, mint and gum trips a year[ii]. And with a household penetration of 98.9%[iii], every c-store shopper is a potential candy, mint and gum shopper.
Customize the Planogram
Shoppers spend less than three minutes inside c-stores, so it’s more important than ever for owners and operators to conveniently arrange the most sought-after items so they are easy to find and purchase. Luckily, c-stores don’t have to adapt a “one-size-fits-all” approach to planogramming and merchandising. Hershey’s Category Insights Management Team has created an online resource called Hershey Solutions that provides customized resources for c-stores to optimize their candy aisles, no matter their size. With important information such as shelf count and aisle length, c-store retailers can download optimal planogram layouts and schematics with just a few clicks.
The checkout area of the c-store sees the most foot traffic and dwell time during a shopper’s visit. C-stores can leverage the power of confection as the leading unplanned category purchase by prominently displaying candy items at the checkout area. Candy, mints and gum generate the highest lift (119%) on display compared to other top categories[iv]. The Hershey Company encourages its c-store retail partners to incorporate on-counter, under-counter and queue line displays to optimize the power of confection to drive last-minute purchase.
As digital technology continues to play an integrated role in driving store visits and trips, c-stores are on the cusp of integrating digital experiences into the shopper’s journey more frequently. While some c-stores offer touchscreen ordering and the option to place a food order online and pick it up, others are just beginning to explore their digital options. But coupling shopper insights with existing consumer digital behavior could prove powerful in unlocking more in-store sales growth.
Category management is a year-round job. Luckily, c-store retailers don’t have to do it alone. Hershey Solutions is a one-stop resource for data, merchandising tools, and retailer rewards designed to help c-stores achieve category success. Visit HersheySolutions.com to discover the latest product releases, download optimized planograms and tap into channel insights.
[i] 2018 NACS State of the Industry
[ii] IRI Panel
This post is sponsored by The Hershey Company