Midwestern convenience chain named first retailer in Mars Wrigley incubator program

By Kristine Sherred contact

- Last updated on GMT

Mars Wrigley chose Kum & Go, based in Des Moines, Iowa, for its loyal customer following and 'fearlessness.' Pic: Getty Images/Bloomberg/Matthew Staver
Mars Wrigley chose Kum & Go, based in Des Moines, Iowa, for its loyal customer following and 'fearlessness.' Pic: Getty Images/Bloomberg/Matthew Staver

Related tags: Mars incorporated, incubator, Innovation, Retailing, convenience channel, Convenience stores, Candy, Data, shelf space, Future

Kum & Go’s 400 stores will test metric-driven merchandising solutions based on the confectioner’s research.

As the first player, Kum & Go, will try its hand at various solutions ‘rooted in Mars Wrigley’s deep research on shopping behavior globally and understanding of the current retail landscape,’ according to a release. The changes should drive sales and ‘seamlessly improve’ shelves – especially as products and trends continue to blur across category lines.

“After reviewing each applicant, we knew Kum & Go was the best choice to develop trailblazing solutions because of their fearlessness to test first-of-its-kind recommendations and loyal customer following,” ​said Shaf Lalani, Mars Wrigley’s VP of customer experience.

The Des Moines, Iowa-based convenience chain – which operates 400 stores in 11 states – has a strong working relationship with the M&M’s maker, according to Stephanie Poitry, the senior category manager of center store.

“With this opportunity, we’ll be able to create a better retail experience and get ahead of the changing marketplace with innovative solutions stemming from this customized test,” ​she said.

The two parties have already started planning, with initial changes implemented in the second half of 2019, according to the release. Pending evaluation, they might update the setup ‘to drive sales’ in 2020.

Prepping for the future

Through its Innovative Merchandising Incubator, Mars Wrigley called on retailers to open their shelves to new ideas. Applications were accepted through April and May, whittled down based on the strength of the chain’s presence and willingness to implement the confectioner’s recommendations.

At the time, Mars Wrigley said consumers shopping habits have shifted, and ‘understanding consumers now and in the future’ is imperative to long-term success.

“Many retailers are now looking to evolve their shopping experience, and collaboration is at the heart of what we do at Mars Wrigley,”​ said Lalani. “We are committed to working with retailers, national and regional, to understand their business and implement insights and recommendations that propel the category.”

Based on the success of the rollout with Kum & Go, Mars Wrigley will toy with running the program in coming years.

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