Hershey’s Leans on Data for Customer Connection

The company prepares for the needs of today’s new consumers through a prism of analytics.

February 05, 2021

HERSHEY, Pa.—To meet the changing needs of today’s consumer, The Hershey Company focuses on the data and analytics to forge a path going forward, Consumer Goods Technology reports.

One major change because of COVID-19 includes that more people would rather stay home than go out, especially millennials. “People are burnt out by the time the weekend comes around,” because of working more hours, “and thus that’s why they’re staying home more often,” said Nik Modi, managing director at RBC Capital Markets.

Fueling the at-home trend are digital engagement options, such as Netflix and Facebook, which make it super easy to stay connected with friends and family. Added to that are the numerous options for home delivery, from groceries to consumer goods to restaurant takeout.

For Hershey, the company has examined the data to figure out ways to reach these at-home consumers, according to Kristen Riggs, senior vice president and chief growth officer at The Hershey Company. For instance, Hershey kept its ear to the ground early in the pandemic, hearing consumers discuss their need for comfort along with a corresponding sales lift of its Hershey Milk six-packs. That allowed the company to quickly pivot to increase production and inventory of Hershey Milk six-packs in order to make the items more readily available.

The company also emphasized backyard events over block parties because of consumer family gatherings. “Really being able to read those consumer and retail sales quickly allowed us to take advantage of the opportunity,” said Riggs.

Hershey also took notice of the way people’s snacking changed, and the company now sees the pantry as a place for 35 occasions to meet instead of a few. “We really oriented our products and really took advantages of those emerging occasions,” said Riggs, “and communicated to consumers about ideas and simple solutions that we could play a role in entertaining both with things like Skinny Pop popcorn as well as with our candy products.”