Hershey delivers newly revamped customer insights centres targeting retail growth

The US-based Hershey Company has confirmed delivery of its newly reimagined Hershey Insights Centres – advanced facilities and digital tools offering retail customers the chance to develop strategy based on its consumer research, reports Neill Barston.

As the business explained to Confectionery Production, its freshly re-imagined capabilities are anticipated to have a significant impact for the market, and come amid the major Christmas trading period, which remains among the most critical for the industry’s overall annual performance.

With its newly branded Hershey Insights Centres based in Hershey, PA, the company can offer three distinct capabilities that reflect the most current retail trends and technologies impacting on consumer packaged goods. environment. They stem from the firm’s thought leadership in shopper insights and category management.

“We’re very proud to build upon Hershey’s legacy of category leadership in a new and innovative way,” said Ryan Shaffer, Sr. Manager, Hershey Insights Centres. “Showcasing our capabilities in both in-store and digital executions in such as tangible way allows us to deepen customer relationships and explore strategies for growth through an unprecedented experience.”

Its resources include the Global Customer Insights Centre (GCIC), which stands as Hershey’s historic 19,000 square foot collaboration facility has undergone an extensive renovation to create a truly unique experience for retail partners that reflects the most current shopper insights, trends and technology.

Lab stations inside the GCIC include paypoints, seasonal solutions and in-aisle merchandising strategies with special environments dedicated to foodservice and global licensing capabilities. Each gallery offers highly interactive and customisable content for retail partners to see collaborative strategies brought to life.

Furthermore, the initiative also includes the company’s mobile customer collaboration centre known as the Mobile Customer Insights Center (MCIC). First launched in 2018, the 53-foot expandable tractor trailer includes 22- x 53-foot collaborative workspace that can seat up to 15 people. The MCIC was designed to offer customers who cannot travel to Hershey a similar experience to the

GCIC. After nearly two years of inactivity due to COVID restrictions, the MCIC will kick off a national schedule of customer visits to all channels starting in January 2022.

“The MCIC is a game-changer for some of our smaller or regional retail partners that cannot dedicate the time to travel to Hershey” said Shaffer. “We’re able to bring our industry-leading insights literally to their front door with a mobile experience that rivals our collaboration space in Hershey.”

The third capability of the new insight centre is the Hershey Insights Network, a virtual platform that allows Hershey to engage with its partners remotely. The HIN operates like a live television newsroom equipped with a multi-camera studio and green-screen capabilities to deliver solutions to retail partners who may be unable to travel. The HIN was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic but has quickly become a way to further the enhance customer collaboration sessions happening inside the GCIC.

“With the broadcast capabilities of the HIN, we’re able to bring not just the most senior executives into planning sessions, but a customer’s functional experts in everything from digital to media to operations,” Shaffer added. “These new ways to connect with our customers offer a new level of holistic planning and collaboration to unlock growth across the retail experience from the physical to the digital shelf.”

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