Hershey, PA — The Hershey Co. has built on its partnership with Rubie’s Costume and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc.’s (MGM) Addams Family franchise by bringing Amazon, Inc. into the fold, and combining the candymaker and online retailer’s data sets to unlock powerful opportunities for the category.
“Working back through our internal promotion integration and brand teams, we started thinking about online and offline dynamics. One thing we know is costumes are one of those items often found in basket during the season,” says Brad Santanna, director of digital commerce sales for Hershey. “As we shared insights with Amazon, we discovered that the costume category had five to eight times more online traffic when compared with confections. Then we started thinking how we could leverage each other’s insights and shared traffic to drive sales for both categories.”
To make the most of this finding, the candymaker mingled its partnerships along with insights from Amazon to launch Hershey’s Halloween Headquarters on the ecommerce giant’s platform.
Halloween Headquarters is a subsite on Amazon featuring the candymaker’s branding and products alongside graphics for the new The Addams Family animated feature. In addition to candy, the site also promotes Addams Family outfits from Rubie’s Costumes and links to other merchandise related to the film and TV franchise.
“We started to share this plan to drive year-on-year sales and Amazon challenged us on what would be different in regard to media spend to driving this,” Santanna tells Candy & Snack TODAY. “Showing them some of the ‘unlocks’ we can do and traffic driving tactics, they got really excited.”
He explains the initial sales projections the company put forth, which Amazon thought were aggressive, have increased about 50 percent as early results from the program showed considerable promise.
“In 2018, we drove candy sales on Amazon up more than 70 percent, and we plan to exceed that,” he says, adding the company projects triple digit gains on the ecommerce platform.
When choosing items to include in the program, Hershey sought out products that were the most appropriate in terms of pack size, according to Santanna, who adds: “When you have shipping and fulfillment costs, you need relevant sizes that make the financials work and are also desired by consumers.”
The company also chose products that had strong reviews within the Amazon ecosystem, he explained.
In addition to the online portion, Hershey products bearing Addams Family graphics are available in brick-and-mortar locations. Part of the offline work includes joint merchandising efforts through the Rubie’s Costumes partnership.
“We know that one in every three in-store purchase starts online, so we have just as much a responsibility in digital to sell through Amazon as we do to drive in-store sales,” he says.
With this in mind, Hershey’s ecommerce seasonal offerings don’t differ from what the company has distributed at physical retail, according to Santanna.
“Our goal is to make sure through content and product display pages that we are informing consumers about the products, whether they decide to buy in a store or on Amazon,” he explains. “It is all about driving conversion.”
Hershey is looking at the Halloween program with a much longer view, Santanna says, telling Candy & Snack TODAY: “If we can drive the flywheel on products through seasonal peaks, they tend to work harder for us throughout the rest of the year. Our intent is to learn more from Amazon, which typically doesn’t share a lot of data.”