Introduces ‘Path to Purchase’ approach.
C-store shoppers today are looking for a holistic shopping experience and especially in c-stores, gum and confections categories consistently contribute to shoppers putting more items in their basket, according to Mars Wrigley Confectionery. Therefore, it’s increasingly more important to evolve thinking around where and how confectionery is purchased in the convenience channel.
Mars Wrigley Confectionery’s Path to Purchase approach takes into account the full c-store shopping journey and outlines key areas of opportunity, inside and outside the store, to help retailers provide a seamless, integrated experience that ultimately results in more sales.
Mars Wrigley Confectionery’s recommendations were developed after a multi-month research journey to understand the truths of today’s c-store confectionery shopping experience. Research was conducted across four different markets, including paring qualitative shopper stories with a quantitative understanding of confectionery shopping trips.
Coming out of this research, it was clear confectionery has unique benefits that can be maximized to drive category growth in c-stores. Specifically, Mars Wrigley found that confectionery is:
- LARGE – Confectionery is a top five ranked category in the convenience channel, generating over $6B in annual sales.
- IMPULSIVE – Over half of all confectionery purchases are decided in-store, showing the importance of having optimal merchandising and assortment to drive shopper conversion.
- PROFITABLE – Among the top 10 categories in the convenience channel, confectionery is the most profitable.
- A BASKET BUILDER – Confectionery is not a reason shoppers go to the store, but it does result in more sales per basket when it’s added.
- EXPANDABLE – Confectionery has expandable consumption, meaning that when consumers have more of it on hand, they consume it faster than any other category and thereby repurchase it quicker.
Considering these findings, there’s a huge opportunity to increase incremental confectionery purchases and convert more c-store shoppers. In response, Mars Wrigley Confectionery has created recommendations on:
o Merchandising and assortment recommendations.
o Strategic mix of innovative products and packaging.
o Promotion – in stores and out.
Recommendations and Examples:
- Merchandising and Assortment Recommendations
o By leveraging shelving tools such as Mars Wrigley Confectionery’s Best-in-Class planogram and the new Purchase Decision Tree, retailers can make shopping for candy intuitive. These solutions incorporate insights based on how c-store shoppers shop the shelf and puts the category first. This results in all category products selling better, not just Mars Wrigley Confectionery offerings.
o Key insights from these tools that allow retailers to maximize confectionery sales include:
o Carry a balanced assortment across gum, mints, fruity confectionery and chocolate to meet shoppers’ needs and maximize profit, but lead with the largest and most broadly-appealing segments to get shoppers down the aisle.
o This would be chocolate and gum because they are the largest segments based on dollar sales with the highest household penetration.
o Recognizing the different purchase drivers across confectionery categories. For example, pack type is the top purchase driver for fruity confections while brand is the top purchase driver for chocolate.
o Chocolate is more likely to be a “for me” purchase and consumed by the same person. Shoppers are more likely to switch across pack types within their favorite brand based on their needs.
o Contrary to chocolate, fruity confections is more likely to be purchased “for others” and because of this offering share-sizes are key.
o For gum products specifically: Feature bulk and bottled pack types when stocking gum products because when consumers have more on hand, they use it and repurpose it faster, resulting in opportunities for more sales.
o For chocolate products specifically: Merchandise chocolate power brands together in vertical blocks because impulsive shoppers look for their favorite brands (e.g. Reese’s, Snickers and M&M’s) and it helps them easily navigate the shelf. Within these blocks, shelve share-size packs over singles to offer consumers easy opportunities to trade up to a larger size.
- Strategic Mix of Innovative Products and Packaging
o C-store shoppers are drawn to unique products and packing, and retailers should ensure that a mix of new products are being offered to encourage confectionery purchases.
o It’s also important to display additional variants and pack sizes as well to offer shoppers different choices to meet their needs in the aisle.
- Promotion – In Store and Out
o Shoppers move through the store and make buying decisions quickly, so by having second, third and fourth interruption points, retailers can potentially increase candy and snack purchases in high-traffic locations. Mars Wrigley Confectionery recommends several promotional options to drive sales outside of the candy aisle, including:
- Displays on pathways to and from coolers.
- Navigational signage on both sides of the candy aisle.
- Perimeter placements near destination categories.
- Cross-promotion by food service items to encourage reward or refreshment confections purchases.
- Power Brands advertised on the lot during key holidays.
- Pump toppers and gas TV ads for high-margin basket builder categories.
On average, gum is the most profitable segment within confectionery followed by mints, fruity confections and chocolate. (Sources: CSX; Mars Wrigley Confectionery Internal Analysis)
“Mars Wrigley Confectionery has been working with retailers to develop customized recommendations to ensure they have strategic product placements where shoppers are already seeking out confections, gum and mints. Specifically created for c-stores, we’ve been leveraging our best-in-class planogram, which provides a road map for shelving products based on how shoppers think of a category. Using this tool can help shoppers more easily find what they’re looking for, ultimately creating a better in-store experience,” said Jim Dodge, vice president of convenience at Mars Wrigley Confectionery.
Stats Tell the Story
Of the 30% of shoppers who enter the confectionery aisle, only 14.5% convert to purchase. (Source: Mars Wrigley Confectionery, C-Store Foundational Research 2017; Percent of confectionery aisle visitors who enter the aisle from each side purchase confectionery products)
The time to drive conversion at shelf is quick as shoppers spend only 14 seconds shopping for confectionery items. (Source: Videomining Mars CSI Shopper Behavior and Display Report 2016).
While confectionery is not a primary reason shoppers go into c-stores, it does result in more items and dollars per basket. In fact, total basket ring is 70% higher when Confectionery is in the basket. (Source: Videomining Mars CSI Shopper Behavior and Display Report 2016 and C-Store Foundational Research 2017)
Millennials were more likely to purchase confectionery, with 8% of c-store shoppers under 35 adding confectionery to their baskets. (Source: C-Store Foundational Research 2017)
Some 30% of shoppers that enter the Confectionery aisle simply on their path to beverage coolers. (Source: C-Store Foundational Research 2017; Observation Data)
Mars Wrigley Confectionery’s new 2017 products generated 34% of all confectionery innovation c-store sales. (Source: Nielsen Scan Data Total C-Store YTD Ending 12/9/2017)
“As the category leader, with the largest confectionery share at c-store, Mars Wrigley Confectionery is leveraging the power of more than a decade of combined global research and insights to introduce solutions that achieve exciting results for partners. As we look to the future, we’ll continue partnering with c-store retailers to offer more customer-centric service and category solutions in the next year,” said Tiffany Menyhart, vice president of U.S. category leadership at Mars Wrigley Confectionery.