- Hershey released its second annual grocery report titled “The Power of Search in a Shopper’s World,” highlighting the chocolate maker's moves to integrate its ecommerce strategy with personalized experiences at stores. According to the release, by creating a seamless transition between all its platforms, people spend six times more.
- After 76% of shoppers expressed frustration with the candy aisle clutter in center store, the report noted that Hershey debuted a redesign at 20 locations across three national retailers that boosted aisle visits and buys by four points while reducing product search time by 50%.
- Data from the report comes in part from insights gleaned from Medley, the company’s interactive, multi-tech experimental grocery store that Hershey Lab launched last year in its Global Innovation Center.
Hershey’s focus on search and mobile retail strategies that blend both traditional and online shopping underscore food markets’ continuous attempts to balance ecommerce growth with personalized experiences.
So what could that look like? Hershey sketched out potential scenarios that may eventually modernize how retailers interact with consumers, merging the brick-and-mortar experience with digital to offer consumer-demanded personalization and convenience.
Highlights include an app that allows consumers to tap a product image on a phone and immediately find the nearest store to buy it. It could also offer voice search to automatically add recipe ingredients to a shopping list, taking into account family allergies and preferred purchase method. And to add last-minute snacks to a preordered pick-up buy, the store is now rearranged to display snack items near the pick up area.
Even if these digital hypotheticals become a reality, grocers can’t shelve their in-store strategy. Hershey is just one food company taking a look at how to restructure store layouts. Retailers are always hoping to find new ways to cross-market merchandise and reorganize product offerings to appeal to shoppers amid declines in center-store sales.
Grocery stores like Aldi, Lidl and Kroger continue to invest heavily in digital, including launching delivery services and apps, but as Walmart saw recently when it dropped its Scan & Go checkout, not all tech is created equal in consumers’ eyes. With more than 96% of U.S. consumers still typically buying their groceries in person, according to Statista, retailers need to strategically choose which digital innovations complement — and not disrupt — their customers’ shopping experiences.