- Hershey created an online app to help shoppers find a favorite Easter treat: Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs. Users can enter their location in the app, which will show them nearby stores that have eggs available. They also can tag a location as having peanut butter eggs for sale.
- The finder can be used on any online-connected device, including smartphones and computers.
- Noelle Perez, Hershey's senior manager of global marketing and digital advancement, told Food Dive in an email the app was developed because Reese's is the #1 brand of Easter candy. "The ratio of ingredients and the pending feeling of springtime has led consumers to demand Reese’s Eggs so much so that Hershey’s developed a virtual egg hunt for egg-lovers to help them find their Reese’s Eggs, as well as help other fans locate eggs as soon as they hit shelves," she wrote.
For many chocolate lovers, the egg-shaped Reese's candy in the yellow wrapper is a must-have. Hershey, which owns the Reese's brand along with Milk Duds, Whoppers and its iconic bar and Kisses, has developed the digital infrastructure in hopes of ensuring that no Easter basket is without the peanut butter treat this year. Reese's has a 14.6% market share for Easter candy, Perez said.
As a seasonal treat, they're only on shelves for a relatively short amount of time. It's hard to say if shortages and sell-outs are common. Perez said fewer than 1% of sales for Hershey's branded Easter products comes through e-commerce, so the app will help the 99% who are looking at stores for their peanut butter egg fix.
However, a look at the app on Thursday showed rather sparse availability, meaning the chocolate eggs are either really hard to find, or there hasn't been much buy-in for the app. According to the app, only two locations in Washington, D.C., have the eggs — one being a Home Depot, which isn't traditionally known for its candy counter. In New York City, there are four places in Manhattan selling the eggs, and just one in Brooklyn. A single store in Dallas carries them.
While a great idea to help shoppers, this kind of app could be useful if it was leveraged by retailers and consumers alike. After all, this kind of app also can bring foot traffic into a store, which could help build new customer relationships in the long run.
Groceries should use displays, signage and promotions to encourage shoppers to make use of this kind of an app. Shoppers may not know that the app exists unless they learn about it while at the store to fill up Easter baskets. Groceries themselves could use the app to tag their supply.
While a grocery retailer might not know who is tagging its location on an app like this, it could encourage shoppers to go further. Social media contests on Twitter or Instagram could be employed. This adds a layer of excitement and promotion onto the buzz already created by the app, and leverages both the manufacturer's app and the store's presence on social media. The retailer also could offer special promotional deals on the eggs, allowing them to build on top of the app and social media to capture more Easter candy customers.