Chicago — Living at the intersection of attitude and fun and seeing the world as candy is what Jeff Rubin said has gotten him success. The founder of It’Sugar candy stores advised retail buyers at the Shopper Solutions Theater at the Sweets & Snacks Expo on ways they can make their stores more inviting and welcoming for shoppers by sharing ideas he uses in his stores.
“We aren’t going to stray from who we are. We like to poke fun at society’s everlasting rules that get in the way of a good time,” Rubin said, when speaking on how he came up with the names for some of his candy bars including the “It’Sugar Bad for You Chocolate Bar.” He said he wanted to get away from the trend towards good-for-you snacks and candy and also the marketing towards little kids. He said that candy should be represented in a cool, hip way. That is why he developed “Bear Kegs” gummi bears in containers resembling kegs of beer and promoted for barbeques.
Rubin added that playing music, decorating with bright colors, displaying life-like manikins and putting candy in clear containers are all ways that It’Sugar attracts customers.
He offered five tips to retailers looking to develop shopper loyalty: Establish a special place beyond simply displaying products; invite customers to spend time in store with a visual merchandising journey; develop unique visual displays; remain fresh, new and innovative; and pursue brand affiliations for more reach and exposure. He also suggested that manufacturers of new brands reach out to other distributors and spend time in candy stores putting in the manual labor such as doing setups.