Mars Wrigley has released updated C-store recommendations to help retailers drive confectionery sales.

“C-stores will always be a crucial component for shoppers and the candy aisle will continue to be a main source for purchases,” says Jim Dodge, VP of Convenience at Mars Wrigley. “Mars Wrigley Confectionery‘s new Path to Purchase strategy and best-in-class shelving were created to help retailers connect the right products and create an engaging environment for every shopper who enters the c-store. We’ve already seen great success testing our recommendations with retailers, including a large national c-store retailer, and are excited to introduce this strategy to more c-store retailers nationwide.”

Specifically, Mars Wrigley U.S. says that when customers do enter a c-store, the main aisle is the most common place shoppers pick up confections — 62 percent of shoppers make their confectionery purchase decision at shelf, which means most shoppers are still open to influence in-store. 

But, only 20 percent of shoppers entering the confectionery aisle actually browse and only 17 percent of those shoppers end up purchasing, leaving opportunity to convert 83 percent of shoppers who enter the confectionery aisle. 

The candy company's 3 updated recommendations include:

1. Using occasions for confections to drive conversion:

Mars Wrigley’s research shows there are four main reasons consumers reach for treats and snacks, including:

  • Recharge (refresh and renew now or for later)

  • Reward (treat or reward yourself or loved ones)

  • Connect (enhance informal sharing occasions)

  • Celebrate (celebrate seasonal events and special moments

2. Ways to help shoppers notice and find confectionery in-aisle:

Update candy merchandising flows: By creating a more intuitive and visually appealing shelf, search time can be reduced, and shopper satisfaction and sales will increase. A few opportunities to do this include:

At the shelf:

  • Remodel the merchandising flow based on the category vision growth drivers.
  • Clearly define and block chocolate, fruity confections, gum, and mint to create powerful “brand billboards” for shoppers.
  • Drive conversion through signage aligning with Recharge, Reward, Connect, Celebrate to trigger conversion. Results showed once in the aisle headers and shelf strips worked together to create a fun, bright and engaging environment that shoppers appreciated. 

Closer to the shelf:

  • Leverage power-brand, flavor profiles and share size over singles to entice shoppers to walk down the confectionery aisle.

3. Treating candy as a treat, not a snack:

Mars Wrigley knows through its research that consumers view candy as a treat and continue to enjoy it as part of a balanced lifestyle, especially Millennials. In response, it’s important retailers provide consumers with a range of formats, calories and price options to drive sales. A few examples include:

  • More options for share sizes and resealable packaging.
  • 100-calorie bars and packs, such as those available for Skittles, Starburst, Dove, Twix, and Snickers
  • Low calorie gum choices such as Extra and 5 gum.

The company also provided some date points, including: 

  • Only 20 percent of shoppers entering the confectionery aisle actually shop the aisle and only 17 percent of those shoppers actually end up purchasing confection. (Kantar Consulting, Grocery Observation, Aug/Sept 2018)
  • Nearly half of Millennials (47 percent) choose a treat to boost their mood, compared with 36 percent of Gen Xers and 28 percent of Baby Boomers. (Mars Wrigley Treat Report, February 2018)
  • 62 percent of shoppers make their confectionery purchase decision at shelf. (Mars Wrigley, Confectionery P2P Final Synthesis, 7/29/16)
  • If the average amount of time a shopper spent engaging at the shelf decreased by one second, the average basket ring would increase by $0.21. (Mars Wrigley, Confectionery P2P Final Synthesis, 7/29/16)
  • The main aisle accounts for two-thirds of confectionery sales. (Mars Wrigley, Confectionery P2P Final Synthesis, 7/29/16)
  • Shoppers rated the confectionery category nearly 100 percent more difficult to shop than other comparable categories. (Mars Wrigley, Confectionery P2P Final Synthesis, 7/29/16)
  • Shoppers spend nearly all of their 57 seconds in the confectionery aisle searching, instead of shopping. (Mars Wrigley, Confectionery P2P Final Synthesis, 7/29/16)
  • 70 percent of impulse purchases are driven by visibility or an in-moment craving. (Mars Wrigley, Confectionery P2P Final Synthesis, 7/29/16)

Mars Wrigley, with 100+ years of category leadership, is not only committed to success as a company, but also to the success of retailers and the industry. Through its research based 2019 Category Vision, the company is spearheading confectionery growth to drive profitable sales for retailers within the ever-evolving shopping landscape.

Mars Wrigley’s c-store Path to Purchase recommendations and best-in-class planogram were developed after a multi-month global research journey to understand the truths of today’s end-to-end confectionery shopping experience and what drives purchase decision. 

This research included:

  • Input from multiple countries and 40,000 respondents, across 22 categories of consumables.
  • Human stories from shoppers globally, and quantitative research and results across all channels and candy segments.
  • C-store retailers have a tremendous opportunity to create a more engaging shopping experience and Mars Wrigley has created recommendations on:
  • Organizing confectionery products on the shelf
  • Leveraging shopper behavior and cognitive understanding to increase shopability
  • Prioritizing candy as a treat, not a snack

Read more: Check out Mars Wrigley's 5 new transaction zone recommendations!