Mars Wrigley looks to optimize the candy aisle

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Mars Wrigley looks to optimize the candy aisle

For retailers looking to get their candy’s worth, Mars Wrigley has some ideas on just how that could happen.

The company, which is parent to such brands as M&M’s, Snickers, Skittles and Twix among others, is sharing its thoughts on how retailers can provide a seamless experience for shopping seeking out candy that can result in more sales.

After receiving input from multiple countries and 40,000 respondents across 22 categories of consumables, the company has issued new recommendations on how products are organized on shelves, how to leverage shopper behavior and cognitive understanding, and how to prioritize candy as a treat instead of a snack.

“Grocery Stores are going through a moment of transformation, as shoppers have more choices for where to purchase the products they love. We’re working closely with retailers to educate consumers about the importance of treating candy as an indulgence, not a snack,” Shirley Ulrich, the VP of U.S. grocery sales at Mars Wrigley said. “We’re looking forward to exploring new ways to connect with and educate shoppers on how and when to use confections as well as providing them with more product and packaging choices to fit their needs.”

For starters, Mars Wrigley recommends using occasions to drive conversion. There are four reasons as to why consumers reach for treats and snacks and they include a being a way to refresh and recharge, a treat or reward for oneself or loves ones, connecting to enhance informal sharing occasions, and celebrating seasonal events and special moments, the company said.

In order to help shoppers, notice and find the aisle where an array of sweet treats is housed, the company recommends creating a more appealing shelf and aisle to reduce time spent searching for a particular item.

“Drug Stores present a great opportunity to remind consumers to purchase confections to reward or recharge. It’s also a great channel for us to insert better-for-you options for wellness-focused consumers on-the-go,” Shaf Lalani, the VP of customer experience at Mars Wrigley said. “As we continue to innovate around confections as a treat, not a snack, we’ll continue to leverage this channel and drive confections sales.”

When it comes to the aisle itself, its preferable to lead with the highest penetration segment, which just so happens to be chocolate, in order to lead the consumer down the aisle. To end the aisle, its best to put the most planned segment — gum — in this place.

Each shelf should also be remodeled with the merchandise placement flow being consistent with the time of day and why shoppers head to this aisle in the first place. There also should be a defined and vertical block of chocolate, organic and natural snacks, and fruit confections to create a brand of billboards for shoppers, the company said.

Circling back to treating candy as a treat instead of a snack, it’s recommended to include more options for share sizes and resealable packaging, as well as 100-calorie bars and packs, and low calorie gum choices.

Mars Wrigley also tested these examples with Jewel-Osco, which took place over 24 weeks in 8 stores, and resulted in a 5.4% growth, the company said.

“While digital transactions are on the rise, brick-and-mortar will always be a crucial component for shoppers and the candy aisle will continue to be a main source for purchases. Mars Wrigley Confectionery‘s new Path to Purchase strategy and best-in-class shelving were created to help retailers connect the products shelved in the aisle with the reasons and moments where candy is used,” Lalani said. “We’ve already seen great success testing our recommendations with retailers, like Jewel-Osco, and are excited to introduce this strategy to more retailers nationwide.”