Mars Chocolate and Wrigley Spur Impulse Sales at Checkout

By Rose Anthony


Mars Chocolate North America and Wrigley continue to collaborate with retailers to drive impulse sales and increase shopper engagement at checkout. Since implementing their Transaction Zone Vision in stores in 2015, they have used research-driven insights to help retail partners boost sales through channel-specific recommendations.

Specifically, the marketers are making a fresh and unprecedented effort to collaborate with retailers to optimize merchandising in the traditional front-end impulse-purchasing areas of the store. They’re updating their merchandising recommendations to include macro trends such as the increase in snacking, the size and growth of the confectionary category, and new research around “shopper need states.”

To help their partners leverage the Transaction Zone Vision to its fullest, Wrigley and Mars Chocolate have developed proprietary tools to analyze retailers and build customized merchandising recommendations, intended to:

  • Satisfy the key Refresh, Reward and Remind Need States
  • Optimize category adjacencies
  • Maximize conversion of incremental, basket-building items.

“We know as industry leaders in front-end merchandising that we have to invest in insights that help our retail partners build their baskets and leave a lasting positive impression on their shoppers. By investing in the Transaction Zone Vision, we have provided our retailers a framework that guides them in how best to satisfy their shoppers’ needs by offering choices,” said Tiffany Menyhart, Director of U.S. Category Management at Wrigley. “These customized programs are helping our partners maximize sales across all categories at the front end.”

Over the past year, more than a dozen retailers across channels have begun working with Wrigley and Mars Chocolate to bring these insights to life and are seeing tangible results. For example, a national grocery retailer recently used the marketers’ recommendations to test a redesigned self-checkout and subsequently saw need-state items experience a 20 percent dollar sales lift. The test indicates strong growth in unit sales and household penetration, as well as basket size.

Overall, the two divisions of Mars Inc. are forging a joint vision of better meeting shoppers’ needs at all the places they check out. Their decades of impulse expertise and new global shopper insights are valuable when partnering with retailers to implement forward-thinking recommendations on merchandising, to improve the shopping experience and to drive growth.

Clearly, the front end by the checkouts remains critical as it is still the largest impulse area of the store. Retailers can capture more impulse purchases by merchandising to better satisfy the three key shopper mind sets, or “need states,” that Mars has identified:

  • Refresh: Shopping can be stressful and tiring, so shoppers look to refresh or recharge themselves once the job is done, the company said. Items fulfilling the “refresh” need state, Mars believes, including gum, mints, beverages and snacks, should occupy 51 percent of total space, according to its research that developed guidelines based on national averages across channels.
  • Reward: Shoppers often seek a treat or reward, such as chocolate and non-chocolate candy, after the “chore” of shopping is complete. Items addressing the “reward” mentality should occupy 39 percent of a retailer’s total space devoted to the category, Mars has concluded.
  • Remind: It is helpful for shoppers to find items they forgot to add to their lists, such as batteries and lip balm, in the transaction zone, in addition to confections and other snacks. These items should occupy about 10 percent of the total space, the company said.

With shopping environments and behavior continuously changing, Wrigley and Mars Chocolate continue to invest in global research to develop relevant insights retailers can apply across transaction zones. They look to release additional insights in 2017. Their next phase of global research, currently being tested within the U.S., will help retailers better understand shoppers’ behavior while in line, or “queuing,” and maximize conversion during that part of the shopping trip.

“Jewel/Osco is working with Wrigley to leverage their Transaction Zone Vision insights to understand shopper behavior in the queue and how to best merchandise impulse categories to create positive shopping experiences, drive conversion and generate incremental sales,” said Jeff Hancock, Assistant Sales Manager, Candy at Jewel/Osco. “When we partner with Wrigley, we know the program will be best-in-class and developed from both global and local insights that directly benefit our shoppers and total business.”

Shaf Lalani, VP, Customer Experience at Mars Chocolate North America, said, “We've found that as part of the Transaction Zone Vision, shopper need states continue to be essential to drive conversion, which impacts how retailers set up their front end. Our goal is to tie the shopper insights to the retailer’s specific strategy. It’s these types of insights we are continuously investing in for our partners. We look forward to launching additional findings as we move into 2017.

Mars Inc. recently announced its intent to combine the two segments to create Mars Wrigley Confectionery. The combination will aim to deliver greater value to customers, and enable the segment to address consumer trends and insights holistically in what is increasingly seen as one global confections category.

The checkout remains the main destination for confectionary brands. Mars aims to make sure that wherever the checkout is, its Mars and Wrigley brands are working with retailers to optimize their footprint in impulse purchases.


Additional reporting by Dale Buss.

                                                                              December 2016
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