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Collaborating with retail partners to create a memorable customer experience is top of mind for The Hershey Company, according to Frank Jimenez, the company’s Senior Director, Insights Driven Performance and Retail Evolution.
“We are focused on collaborating with our retail partners on a convenient, engaging, and memorable experience for shoppers that grows retailers’ baskets,” Jimenez told Loyalty360. “For example, at the end of 2014 we announced a partnership with Winn Dixie, where we created a ‘Candy Experience’ that brought confection outside of the center store. We created a “store-within-a-store” concept just for confection that has made candy shopping more engaging and convenient. Testing shows that our Candy Experience can lift category sales for retailers by strong double digits.”
Jimenez said that there are multiple champions of the shopper/customer experience across the company from innovation and marketing to sales.
“My team, which sits in the global knowledge organization, is focused on being at the forefront of the evolution happening to the traditional shopping experience,” he explained. “We serve as Hershey’s retail evolution center of excellence, providing leadership on next generation retail environments. Our work and recommendations for the future are always grounded in the needs of the shopper.”
Hershey is a knowledge company focused on mining data and gleaning actionable insights that are then used to build our brands, retail solutions, and shopper marketing programs, Jimenez said.
“Because of our data focus, we diligently set success measures and evaluate the performance of our shopper initiatives,” he explained. “The success measures for each project are different, but our continuous improvement mindset remains consistent across projects. Everything we do is grounded in what the shopper tells us. Our research team spends a lot of time talking to and observing shoppers to uncover shopping behavior and unarticulated needs.”
There are near-term problems to solve for, Jimenez explained, but there are also longer-term trends that we have our eye on.
“An example of a short-term challenge was the rapid rise in the self-checkout,” he explained. “Retailers were unprepared for the widespread shopper adoption of self-checkout and, as a result, most self-checkouts do not have merchandising units around them featuring impulse categories, which are highly profitable for retailers. We are working with retailers on merchandising solutions that give consumers the options they want at checkout while building retailers’ baskets. At the same time, we also have our eye on what we’re calling the future of impulse where there will be all kinds of different pay points, some inside and some outside the store. We are thinking about how we are going to capture impulse purchases in new and different ways.”
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