Candy retailer Lolli and Pops is working to use analytics like a tech company.
While the chain of about 50 shops prides itself on experiential retail, it is incorporating data in order to improve upon and learn about customers’ in-store experience, according to Alex Chang, head of e-commerce at Lolli and Pops.
“As we think about how are we going to build a lasting global brand in sweets, we know in the tumultuous retail times we’re in today, that it has to leverage technology,” Chang said.
Using a service called Retail Next, Lolli and Pops tracks customer paths in the store for insight into what sweets are attracting and holding interest.
“One of the things we think about when we think about the future of retail is we have to compete with these e-commerce players who have all this data, who are constantly using data to optimize their conversion,” Chang said. “How do you translate that and get that leverage in the store experience?”
In one instance, the technology helped a Lolli and Pops location realize why a traditionally high-sales candy section was not achieving its normal revenues. “It turned out there was a table in front of it and people couldn’t get to it,” Chang said.
Technology also provides the business with the opportunity to ensure its sales clerks — who Lolli and Pops calls “magic makers” — are engaging with customers and offering to open candy for testing.
Offering a good store experience is paramount for the business, which has foregone a marketing department entirely in favor of letting store locations speak for themselves. “We’re not going to spend a lot of money on marketing,” Chang said. “The store is our flagship, the store is our marketing and we know we have traffic coming to the store and if we do a good job using data to get those customers to buy from us, that’s the best use of capital.”
For its new e-commerce operations, Lolli and Pops focuses mainly on gifting — but it uses the in-store information to determine what products should be sold as gifts.
“The store experience really solves two use cases,” Chang said. “There’s impulse buying and there’s gifting…We use the data around what products are gifted to be smart about what products are offered [on the site].”