Most people who buy candy from convenience stores eat it within the hour. And 30 percent of snack sales in c-stores are candy.
That’s according to information released by The Hershey Co., which unveiled its latest confectionery category leadership and shopper-driven merchandising solutions at the 2018 National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Show Expo Oct. 8-10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The candy maker offered specific tips for selling confectionery items in c-stores, including:
1. Use displays
Displays can help drive unplanned purchases such as candy, mint and gum. And sales can increase as much as 119 percent when these items are presented in a display.
2. Use the strike zone
The aisle accounts for 64 percent of candy purchases. By placing the most popular items in the strike zone — the eye-level area three and four shelves from the top — c-stores may see a 4 to 6 percent increase in sales.
3. Place the kings with the commoners
King and standard size bars each have a unique fan base. When they stacked together, it’s easier for shoppers to pick their preference.
4. Realign the front end
Realigning the way items are arranged with the front end offering items on the counter and under the counter in the rack could net a sales increase of 10-12 percent with the right items.
5. Place items under the counter
With under the counter merchandising shoppers are 36 percent more likely to make a purchase, and stores see an increase of 45 percent of items sold at the counter.
6. Queue them up
Queueing isn’t just good for sales. It’s good for shoppers. More than 80 percent of customers report they like the queue because it’s organized, fast and helps with navigation. 
Hershey takes it show on the road
Hershey also recently launched the Mobile Customer Insights Center (MCIC) and the Hershey Solutions online portal to expand access to its insights and category solutions within the convenience channel.
“The MCIC and Hershey Solutions represent the next generation of Hershey’s category leadership,” said Phil Stanley, chief sales officer, The Hershey Co. “Growth for ourselves and our partners will come from universal access to merchandising solutions and strategies in both physical and digital formats.”
Hershey’s MCIC is an expandable, 53-foot tractor trailer learning center that began traveling to retailers’ headquarters in September 2018.
It’s a mobile version of Hershey’s Global Customer Insights Center located in Hershey, Pa., and it provides direct access to Hershey’s category insights, while fostering conversations with a team of traveling convenience channel category experts.
Meanwhile, Hershey Solutions is an online portal created for c-store retailers. This resource aids them in their efforts to stay ahead of new product launches and trends, drive profits through rebate incentives from promotional programs, access expert merchandising strategies, and learn about shopper behavior insights—anytime, anywhere and from any device.
New products
At NACS, Hershey also sampled its latest chocolate innovations from the Hershey’s and Reese’s brands: Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar with Reese’s Pieces. The candy bar unites perfectly placed Reese’s Pieces candies with smooth Hershey’s milk chocolate.
Other products included Hershey’s Gold Caramelized Creme Peanuts & Pretzels, new bars that feature a rich caramelized creme combined with salty, crunchy bits of peanuts and pretzels, and Reese’s Outrageous! bar, complete with crunchy, Reese’s Pieces surrounding creamy peanut butter and covered in smooth milk chocolate.
Hershey also sampled products from its Ice Breakers brand, which accounts for 11 percent of total refreshment sales in c-store. Ice Breakers Ice Cubes are the fastest growing franchise within refreshment, and Ice Breakers is the No. 2 refreshment brand in the channel.