Major Meltdown in the Checkout Line: How Halloween Can Save the Day

Chocolate is a $17.7 billion industry built largely on impulse buys. Many of these occasions take place in the checkout aisle, which is experiencing a melt down.

Consumers interact with their smartphone 150 times per day, especially when there’s a moment or two of free time, which perfectly describes the checkout line.

Add to it the growth of self-checkout aisles, free of tabloids, candy, soda, and other impulse items and the problem quickly grows.

If that wasn’t enough, the growth in online shopping, curbside pickup and consumers looking for healthier snack options has created a quantifiable change in behavior.

All of this has Frank Jimenez, Hershey’s senior director of retail evolution asking, “What happens if and when the checkout goes away?”

For years, candy companies benefited from “pay point” inefficiencies that caused people to stand in line, but as technology erases their time in line, where will these moments of impulse come from?

For starters, candy companies are starting to reimagine the candy aisle. Hershey’s is working on a “store within a store” concept that delights customers with grab and go treats.

The Power of the Great Pumpkin

Although under attack, America’s love affair with sweets is part of our DNA.

Take for example Halloween. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spend more than $2 billion on candy each year.

With these changes in behavior at the checkout line, Halloween creates a dynamic opportunity not only to move merchandise, but it also offers the chance to “subtly pivot shoppers towards a new behavior.” After all, predictable changes in a consumer’s routine are invaluable, especially if you can introduce a new habit.

Specifically, tapping into the “whimsy and fun of classic candy stores” can drive prolonged engagement and repeat occasions for many months. And if New Year’s Resolutions have people on their best behavior, Valentine’s is only 45 days away with another predictable opportunity for candy to again be top of mind with millions of consumers.

The passion that Americans have for Christmas music is embedded in our DNA as deeply as our sweet tooth. Whether your station changes to Christmas music or keeps its format, there are a variety of opportunities before, during and after Christmas to leverage this  opportunity.

In fact, we partnered with Nielsen to author a study about Christmas listening and how to best maximize the opportunity.

Change and disruption are constants, even for the candy business. Hershey’s sees Halloween not just as a holiday event, but as a chance to help consumers create new habits, especially as the tried and true checkout aisle continues to erode.

Radio’s fortunate to have a similar event with the upcoming spectacle of Christmas music. What’s your strategy to maximize the pending opportunity? Send us an email or post a comment.

Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween.

Andrew Curran, President and COO


One Response to Major Meltdown in the Checkout Line: How Halloween Can Save the Day

  1. […] Halloween, Hershey’s has a predictable event to impact consumer behavior similar to Christmas music for […]

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