With c-store customers accustomed to enjoying their favorite flavors year after year, seasonal candies are ready-made opportunities for strong sales.
The emotional connections between holidays and specific candies are so universal nearly everyone can name them. For instance, the cornucopia of fall candies for Halloween and Thanksgiving includes jellybeans, caramel apple lollipops, candy corn and nearly anything in bulk packages. Later in the year, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day mean candy canes, chocolate coins, hard candies, gummies and mints.
When the weather turns warm, springtime treats for holidays, baby showers and weddings include Easter candies like chocolate eggs, pastel-colored jellybeans, lollipop flowers and spring candy corn, as well as foil-wrapped chocolates for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. And in the summer, Americans favor cotton candies, lollipops, taffy and bubblegum.
Rule No. 1 is to never be out of perennial favorites like Skittles, Sour Patch Kids, Starburst, Airheads, Reese’s, Milky Way, Sweet Tarts, Jolly Ranchers and others. At the same time, private-label items can also play an important role.
Once the seasonal products are ordered, operators can dress the store to reflect the appropriate holiday, complete with window and pump signage, shelf talkers and freestanding displays for added emphasis. In-store sampling, where feasible, can also spur sales.
Often overlooked by convenience store retailers planning their seasonal offerings is the lull that runs from Easter to Halloween. Finding occasions to promote during this period means making the most of atypical candy opportunities presented by Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day and the back-to-school season.
Enterprising c-store retailers can also make the most of official — though lesser-known — holidays that pepper each season. For example, fall/winter promotional opportunities include International Chocolate Day, Sept. 13; National Chocolate Day, Oct. 28; National Candy Day, Nov. 4; National Hard Candy Day, Dec. 19; National Candy Cane Day, Dec. 26; and National Box of Chocolate Day, Dec. 28.