The Hershey Co., based in Hershey, Pennsylvania, shared a variety of insights and industry-leading capabilities to help retail partners unlock growth during the National Confectioners Association’s 2021 Sweets & Snacks Expo, June 23-25 in Indianapolis. Visitors to the company’s booth sampled new product offerings from Reese’s, Hershey’s and Kit Kat as well as heard directly from Hershey experts about how deeply understanding consumers is the key to capturing growth in a dynamic retail environment.
Digital commerce, multiple fulfillment and checkout options in-store are giving shoppers more options than ever before. These options, combined with heightened expectations for safety and convenience – accelerated by the pandemic – are forcing retailers to adapt faster than ever.
“What we found, even before the pandemic, was that shoppers expect a connected experience, no matter where they are purchasing their items,” said Dave Nolen, VP of category management and shopper insights with The Hershey Co. “Even as mission-driven trips and click-and-collect orders are increasing, we’re finding that 55-70 percent of shoppers purchase additional items, beyond their in-store pickup order. Whether people are shopping online or in-store, there’s a strong opportunity to get them to consider purchasing something that wasn’t on their initial shopping list.”
While retailers are addressing the needs for convenience and efficiency with reimagined front ends, Hershey sees continued growth opportunity for retailers in front-end redesign that include evolving pay points, queueing strategies and cashier-less checkout. Changes in these areas are important to meeting consumer expectations, while also helping create engagement and drive bigger baskets.
Research from Hershey, which will be released later this summer, found that three out of four consumers shop both online and offline, with one in three in-store purchases originating from something the shopper found online. Furthermore, one in four online purchases originate from an in-store visit.
“While the pandemic has certainly placed more emphasis on online shopping during the past year, it has also reinvigorated people’s excitement about purchasing items in-store,” said Nolen. “Although online shopping will continue to be a top way people shop moving forward and stores will continue to offer curbside orders, connected, consumer-facing platforms instore and online are the experiential game changer.”
While Hershey’s broad portfolio of brands were among the most popular treats during the lockdown phases of the pandemic, Hershey will continue to push into new areas of snacking to meet changing consumer interests in all-day snacking occasions and better-for-you options. Among the innovations on display at the Sweets & Snacks Expo are:
- Kit Kat Thins;
- Reese’s Snack Cakes;
- Reese’s Stuffed with Pretzels;
- Hershey’s better-for-you line and rebrand of its zero sugar offerings;
- Organic Hershey’s Bars and Organic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups; and
- Whozeewhatzit – the brand’s first bar in the past decade.
Spurred by the continuing at-home occasions like backyard s’mores making, baking and family movie nights, Hershey will continue to innovate through new pack types and seasonal offerings, as well as the continued development of its Hersheyland.com portal that offers inspiration, recipes and craft suggestions to support new occasions and celebrations.
For more information about Hershey’s commitment to partnering with retailers to unlock growth, visit thehersheycompany.com.