3 Retailer Perspectives On Future Business Success: Hershey’s, Jo-Ann Stores, TechStyle

The onslaught of bankruptcies and acquisitions is motivating the smartest and most innovative retail businesses to find new ways to capture consumers’ attention, build brand loyalty and deliver on the omnichannel promise.

“I look at it as a time of disruption, not the end of the world,” said Brian Kavanagh, Senior Director, Insights Driven Performance and Retail Evolution, The Hershey Company. “It is waking up sleeping giants” — the traditional retailers and slow movers that have balked at innovation. “They are hard-to-move big battleships, but the jet skis are scooting by them.”

During Shop.org 2017 in Los Angeles, three companies with completely different retail perspectives shared the secrets of their strong business future:

Hershey’s Counteracts The Demise Of The Impulse Buy

Online grocery ordering has knocked Hershey a bit off its comfortable throne, where shoppers would grab their favorite candies while waiting in the long checkout queue. “We are now working with our retail partners to solve our click-and-collect dilemma,” said Kavanaugh. With $7.4 billion in annual revenue, Hershey’s relies on retail partners, and a handful of its own stores, to keep consumers’ sweet tooth satisfied.

So Hershey’s, along with Coca-Cola and other retail partners, recently conducted consumer research to find a new approach to grabbing the impulse buy. “We wanted to understand what shoppers like and dislike about ordering groceries online…and when is the new best time to remind them” about purchasing their favorite snacks, said Kavanagh. “We need to understand all the different places we need to be in the new shopping journey — during pickup, ordering or in the parking lot.”

Hershey’s also is discovering new potential for infusing innovation into the store experience. Previously, the candy company was able to test and implement new ideas into its handful of Hershey-owned brick-and-mortar stores, including digital technologies and unique experiences. But those innovations were not being embraced by the brand’s retail partners.

With the black cloud of store closures and bankruptcies hanging over the retail segment, traditional retailers are becoming more open to new ideas, Kavanagh noted: “They are looking for ways to differentiate themselves, and that’s giving us more of an ability to work with our retail partners.”

Jo-Ann Stores Incorporates Mobile And Digital Into Its Traditional Retail Model

It’s a tall order to re-invent a 74-year-old brick-and-mortar brand. But Jo-Ann Stores knew that real-time customer data…