Hershey customer experienceDelivering that optimum customer experience has always been a huge component of success for The Hershey Company. Now, the iconic company, in partnership with Winn-Dixie and its parent company Bi-Lo Holdings, has unveiled a new and dramatically different ‘Candy Experience’ for its customers at Winn-Dixie’s newly renovated store in Baton Rouge, La.

The new candy section, best described as a “store within a store,” has shown in testing that it can lift confection category sales for retailers by strong double digits and deepen customer experience and engagement.

“We are excited about this new candy experience because it puts the consumer and shopper first,” Rick Price, Senior Manager of Center Store Evolution, The Hershey Company, said in a release. “A majority oshoppers find the candy category the hardest to shop and the least inspiring in the store resulting in many shoppers walking away without any confection in their basket. Our re-imagined candy aisle addresses these challenges and makes candy shopping more convenient and memorable.”

The candy aisle at Winn-Dixie’s Baton Rouge store is now a circular set of bold displays located in the highly trafficked front of the store next to customer service and the checkout lanes, a dramatic changefrom where candy aisles are traditionally located.

Hershey is the independent category adviser at many major U.S. retailers and took a full category approach in designing the section, which displays America’s most well-known confections, including competitors’ top brands. Shoppers will be enticed to shop by feature displays with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates shaped toppers, graphics of unwrapped candy, bright colors and convenient organization by usage occasion (candy dish, premium, movie & snack, grab & go).

Winn-Dixie’s Baton Rouge store has committed to using Hershey’s new candy aisle design for one year. Throughout the year, Hershey will invest in in-store shopper research as well as category merchandising plans.

Hershey’s transformative approach to candy aisle merchandising is a result of the company’s insights driven performance (IDP) model, its proprietary retail collaboration model to grow the category based on industry-leading consumer and shopper insights. Hershey’s IDP customers typically outperform their peers and Hershey’s merchandising experience and shopper insights team has been working to uncover ways to improve the center-of-the-store shopper experience and in-store conversion.

Winn Dixie is at the forefront of bringing a unique shopper experience to the consumer that will differentiate it from competitors and build brand loyalty.

“We have put comprehensive success metrics in place, and we are excited to see how the Hershey’s Candy Experience performs,” Frank Jimenez, Senior Director of Retail Evolution, The Hershey Company, added. “We anticipate it will be a game changer and we look forward to working with Winn-Dixie to roll it out at other stores and beginning to ignite a change in how candy is displayed and sold across the grocery channel.”

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