Hershey looks out of the box for impulse sales
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Some shoppers order groceries from their desktop and have them delivered to the home. Others order online and then pick up groceries curbside at the store. Either method results in lost impulse sales that otherwise might have occurred inside the "box."
Chris Witham, senior manager, front end experience for Hershey, spoke about the challenge of lost impulse sales at an Executive Breakfast Briefing at the NRF Big Show. The event was sponsored by Wincor Nixdorf, a provider of retail IT solutions.
Impulse or unplanned purchases are picked up because of "experiential elements" in the shopping process that make the shopper feel recharged, charmed, spoiled, delighted, or indulged.
"The thing that overrides the discussion of impulse is dwell time," Mr. Witham said. "Anytime there is a pause in the shopping trip and shoppers take a look at some of the merchandising that is available, that is dwell time. It’s very important to understand what shoppers are doing with that dwell time. As they get to pay points, how much is a good amount of dwell time [going] to encourage impulse purchase, but not have a detrimental effect on the shopping trip as a whole?"
With self-checkout challenging impulse buys, Hershey is focusing on dwell time both inside and outside the store in relation to lost impulse sales. It is testing or planning to test three concepts this year:
Kiosks: "If you are in the car [at curbside to pick up groceries], you can purchase an impulse item before you finalize that order," said Mr. Witham.
Dispenser at Self-Checkout: Hershey is working with Wincor Nixdorf to develop a dispensing machine that could be set up next to the self-checkout unit in the store, or it could be the self-checkout unit itself. The concept will be tested in 2015.
Vending Machines: "Vending will be a big deal. This is a way to get to shoppers whenever they may not be in the store. We think there will be some dispensing opportunities around [gas] pumps," said Mr. Witham.
Likely to be driven by Millennials, consumers scanning products with their mobile phones and other devices while they shop also promises to reduce or eliminate dwell time at checkout.
"How will Millennials use mobile technology to come up with a good shopping experience for them," asked Mr. Witham. "What does that mean to retailers, and what does that mean to impulse sales? We want to drive general awareness around that topic."
Do you see dwell time opportunities that may encourage impulse purchase for grocery home delivery or pickup? Is mobile self-checkout necessarily a negative for impulse purchases?