Most people have purchased candy from a C-store.
Most people have purchased candy from a C-store.

The candy aisle is certainly an attractive feature of any C-store, but it could be the driving sales force for consumers who shop inside. The CSNews 2017 Realities of the Aisle survey revealed that gum and candy purchases are popular, especially among women and children. In fact, 63.8 percent of participants said they had purchased sweets at a C-store. With that in mind, here’s a look at the sugary side of consumer interests and how you can make the most of them:

Who wants confections?
According to the survey’s results, women were more likely to buy sweets, as 68.8 percent said they’d bought candy from a C-store. For comparison, 60.2 percent of men said the same thing. Additionally, families with children were more likely to buy treats than those without them. The simple answer to who wants candy is most people, but as the data shows, women and kids are most likely to stop in for sugar.

Competing for candy sales
While the majority of survey participants purchased candy from C-stores, many also reported shopping for sugar elsewhere. Specifically, 58 percent bought treats at supermarkets while 61 percent sought them at supercenters. Only a mere 5 percent of respondents reserved their candy purchases for C-store visits.

With dessert being such a popular line item, how can C-stores create loyal shoppers when so many other venues offer the same products?

According to CSP Magazine, the answer may be in the candies themselves. The source noted that brands released new delights at the Convenience Distribution Association Marketplace, which occurred Feb. 13 -15, 2017, in Orlando, Florida. Among the new merchandise was a Hershey’s bar that features a cookie and updated flavors of candy favorites.

Getting your hands on unique and new products can certainly draw a curious crowd, but your competitors will soon carry the same goods.

Earning consumer loyalty
Growing that 5 percent candy loyalty requires thought, planning and embracing technology. Essentially, your C-store truly must be convenient to your most invested customers. When it comes to candy shoppers, there are a few approaches you can take to make them come to you for their favorite treat.

Targeted loyalty programs
Apps and loyalty programs are designed to entice buyers to stop at your C-store over others. Use this to your advantage by offering rewards that will appeal to candy shoppers or families. For instance, discounts on candy brands or a free sweet with other purchases are sure to attract customers looking for dessert. Or, announce through an app when you get a new candy in stock, particularly unique flavors and limited releases.

Product placement
The candy aisle should be easy to get to, as close to the entrance and checkout as possible. This caters to customers who come specifically for the treats and tempts those shopping for other items. Of course, also locate complementary items nearby. Keeping your coffee station near candy is perfect for consumers who like the combination of sweet and bitter and may get them to make an impulse purchase.

Keep candy stocked
Plan for new candy releases by ensuring you have enough of the product. Especially when it comes to novelty sweets, you could run out quickly and not be able to buy more. Track your candy sales and use data to plan how much you should have in stock and when you should order more merchandise.