What do consumers want from a convenience store’s candy category?
That’s simple – everything.
They want the full gamut of choices, from chocolates to mints, chewing gum, bubble gum, hard candy, stick candy, taffies, lollipops, caramels, licorice, marshmallow and more.
They want their old favorites, the brands they grew up with — names they know and trust like M&M’s, Reese’s, Hershey, Snickers, Kit Kat, Twix, Twizzlers and Skittles — but at the same time, they always keep an eye open for exciting, innovative and trendy line extensions and new products.
National trends are important and must be factored in when assigning shelf space. For example, while chocolate candy and confection are trending upward among convenience store consumers, gum and mints appear to be losing traction. Yet at the same time, candy sections must be fine-tuned to local buying patterns, as well.
Consumers also want it to be easy to find their favorites, which in so crowded and complex a set means strong merchandising, well-maintained shelves and freestanding displays, and frequent replenishment. They also want to be tempted at the last moment — at the checkout — by candy they didn’t come into the store looking for, but are willing to impulse purchase as a permissible indulgence
They look for promotions, from two-fers to help them save money to tie-ins to movies, sporting events and holidays. Hand in hand with these offers must be clear and attention-grabbing communication — via signage, including outside at the pump, or suggestive selling at the register — to let shoppers know about the current deals and savings they can take advantage of.
Retailers need to offer chocolate candy in a variety of forms for different occasions: boxes, bags, bars, gift boxes and novelty. They must also consider price points, as premium candy items continue to rise in popularity.
Shoppers want to maintain the belief that although they are buying sweets, they are nonetheless looking after their health. This is accomplished by stocking items marketed as sugar-free, all-natural, low-sugar, non-GMO and/or containing no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners.
Last but not least, the overall store needs to be inviting — well-stocked with items people want and convenient to shop — since candy is seldom a destination product but relies largely on impulse. Getting people into the store is the best way to get candy into their hands.