Together with MGM Studios (behind the newest rendition of The Addams Family), the candy and costume companies partnered directly with Amazon’s media and retail teams. The goal: “a more holistic shopping experience,” said Santanna, director of digital commerce sales at The Hershey Company.
This kind of collaborative landing page marks a first for Amazon, too.
Visitors to the landing page are greeted by an unabashedly Halloween vibe, with The Addams Family characters on the left and a bowl of Hershey’s candy on the right. Click on ‘Treats’ and quickly view a selection of Hershey’s Halloween offerings: a 36-pack of Reese’s pumpkin-shaped peanut butter cups; a 5lb variety pack of Hershey’s favorite chocolate candies; a 235-count bag of Jolly Ranchers and Twizzlers; an 18-count of milk and dark chocolate KitKats.
Using Amazon’s simple ‘Add to Cart’ button, candy lands in the consumer’s cart in just one click.
On the right of ‘Treats,’ visitors to this page can click ‘Tricks’ to glimpse costumes available from Rubie’s, such as a toddler’s Yoda (from Start Wars) costume or the all-black garb of Morticia, the Addams Family matriarch.
Scroll down and guests can add Hershey’s Kisses or Twizzlers to their carts in one click. This section focuses on ingredients for Halloween-themed crafts and features recipes for, say, a black Twizzler tree centerpiece, or a Reese’s peanut butter pumpkin ‘spider.’
Seasonal goes online, and data follows
Though many brick-and-mortar retailers have begun merchandising candy next to costumes, these two categories don’t sit side-by-side in the digital space. Plus, candy tends to be an impulse purchase, though Santanna confessed that Hershey – and confectioners more broadly – have no doubt “seen a lot of seasonal growth from physical and digital this year.”
Digital aside, seasonal “continues to be a really strong lever for Hershey’s,” he continued, but a partnership like this one “provides this really unique opportunity for us to think about it a little bit differently.”
Candy holds a 99% household penetration rate, according to Santanna. Hershey knew promotional displays work in traditional retail stores, but “we’re not seeing it [online] because we can’t demonstrate it in the same way…let’s take those learnings and apply them to the Amazon ecosystem.”
A bonus of working with Amazon is the metrics, which Santanna hopes Hershey can leverage in other categories. “You can target consumers in a different way,” he said, even down to ‘microseasons.’
At Mother’s Day, for instance, confectioners might spend four weeks of merchandising to support another single-day holiday, but having the data from online purchasing behavior can perhaps expand that promotional window.
“Unlike the traditional brick-and-mortar relationship, you’re really diving into analytics and financials. You’re seeing the data of where you want to go. That’s where you make some traction,” explained Santanna.
Hershey investing in ecommerce
Hershey formed the digital commerce team about four years ago; its concrete strategy really took off two years ago, Santanna said, as his circle learned to work with the technical, operational, and creative sides of the business.
“For as much as we all like to think we’re all connected, we’re working across different departments…we’re definitely at an interesting point.”
Click-and-collect is the fastest-growing fulfillment model, he added, underlining the importance of the brick-and-mortar team working with digital to “support direct business but also dot-coms.”
“Once you think about digital and physical in one ecosystem, you can see how they play off of one another,” continued Santanna.
And that seamlessness is ever-important, as 75% of pick-up consumers stop in-store. With the Amazon landing page, Hershey wanted to trigger that same impulse.
Loyalty in D2C ecommerce
ConfectioneryNews asked Santanna how Hershey approaches its business on Amazon and other online retailers, compared to its own direct-to-consumer business on Hershey.com.
The answer: loyalty and exclusives.
“If you’re really going to do something with you brands direct-to-consumer, what is it that I’m going to deliver to someone that’s really brand loyal?” he asked. “They’re not searching for chocolate and finding something they want: they’re looking to Hershey.”
To answer that call, Hershey sells, for instance, ‘fresh from the factory’ versions of many of its popular candies. The product is pulled from the line and delivered to the consumer’s home within two weeks.
“Those are the ways that when you have those really loyal consumers to deliver on brand equity,” said Santanna.