From Progressive Grocer, Feb. 9:
Merchandising, always crucial to driving incremental sales in the candy category, has become even more important as consumers shift their shopping patterns and retailers rely more heavily on self-checkouts.
“The way people shopped the category changed over the past year, and we’ve adapted our consumer engagement strategies in response,” says Mike Gilroy, vice president of trade development and sponsorship at Hackettstown, NJ-based Mars Wrigley Confectionery. “We’re working with retailers on new in-store merchandising opportunities, leveraging our beloved brands around new moments.”
While the Halloween, Easter, Valentine’s Day and winter holidays generate the majority of sales, according to the Washington, D.C.-based National Confectioners Association, there’s ample opportunity in smaller and self-invented holidays, particularly in summer. Sales during smaller holidays, such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, graduations, or Independence Day, can add up quickly.
To capitalize on this trend, Mars Wrigley has created a new 2021 Never Stop Summering cohesive portfolio summer program that Gilroy says “gives the company’s products an authentic role during the summer, and keeps shoppers engaged throughout the long promotional period, and drives basket building and conversion.”
As consumers shift to more at-home eating and entertainment, retailers are finding new merchandising opportunities. “We know that activities like s’mores and movie night have become even more popular, and snacks are an important part of those events,” notes Lynn Hemans, vp of consumer intelligence and strategy at the Hershey Co., in Hershey, PA, “The growth in streaming and in-home viewing creates a much larger family movie night occasion, where snacking companies like Hershey’s can provide solutions.”
Spring baking displays are another incremental growth area as families look for activities that can be done together at home.
Merchandising is particularly important in promoting new offerings and creating excitement for seasonal category sales. “This is particularly important during key seasons, and retailers are increasingly interested in using merchandising to create in-store theater,” says Phil DeConto, vp of category management and shopper insights at Parsippany, NJ-based Ferrero USA.
Display not only drives impulse purchase, it’s an important vehicle to help consumers learn about new products. “Off-shelf merchandising helps encourage consumers to think about using products in different ways,” observes Caitlin Servian, brand manager for Bethlehem, PA-based Just Born’s Peeps brand. “While people primarily purchase Peeps for consumption, almost one-third of fans purchase them for other reasons, such as using them in recipes, crafts dioramas and more. Merchandising the products outside of the seasonal candy section can be an effective way to prompt consumers to think about the countless ways they can use Peeps to add even more fun to their Easter celebrations.”
Additionally, large display events, such as NCAA March Madness, should offer a significant opportunity for retailers in 2021. “Since the tournament was cancelled in 2020, fans are hungrier than ever to see their favorite teams play, and it represents a huge growth opportunity,” advises Hemans.
Retailers can expect more in-store display support from manufacturers this year in regard to seasonal products, with the aim of creating excitement around holidays such as Easter and Halloween.