Hershey’s goes all digital

Sep 8, 2018

In the past many believe things were simple, consumers would go to the grocery or convenience store, walk down aisles, pick up a Reese’s, Kit Kat or Krave Jerky at the checkout and impulse buy products they didn’t need. As consumers purchase more of their groceries online, it has forced food and beverage companies like Hershey to prioritize e-commerce and rethink how they go about getting shoppers to click, rather than grab, their product.

For Hershey, securing the top search result online is the equivalent of getting its candy prominently placed on shelves.

Despite the challenges of the new market, Hershey will become complete digital including in everything from their data analytics of online shoppers to whom they hire to work for Hershey. The company also restructured its departments earlier this year so that digital-focused employees could be integrated directly into the company’s sales and marketing sectors.

Online grocery sales are forecast to reach $100 billion by as early as 2022, and that 70 per cent of shoppers will at least occasionally shop for groceries online by that time, according to the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen.

From the growth of home delivery to click-and-collect, one downside to digital is that a quarter of shoppers have cut back on snack purchases because they are able to avoid checkout lines. But Hershey says they have a method to combat this change.

Hershey has started implementing more data-driven targeted advertising, which it plans to expand in the coming years. It has used pop-up ads to give suggestions to shoppers about candies or snacks they can add to their online cart, especially when consumers aren’t making the minimum for free shipping. Hershey also has given consumers an option to reload the cart with previously purchased items and show recipes that allow then to buy all the ingredients with one click.

When it comes to impulse purchases and prices online, Hershey executives said their average selling price and basket size has actually increased. In stores, people would buy a candy bar at the checkout, but online consumers purchase that same candy in bulk.

Hershey is also working to overcome other obstacles beyond just where its products are sold. Shipping products also can be difficult, especially with items like chocolate that can melt during the warmest months of the year.

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