Private investment firm Comvest Partners acquires the financially troubled e-retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.
By adding more personalization and better segmented e-mail campaigns, web sales at HersheysGifts.com will grow by about 25% in 2005, says Bill Stamey, marketing planning and business development manager.
Hershey’s Food Corp. expects its 2005 web sales to grow around 25% as a result of steps the consumer brand manufacturer is taking to increase customer segmentation and personalization.
Hershey, No. 240 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, has been selling online since 1996.
But in the last year, Hershey has taken several steps to drive more traffic and convert visitors to buyers at HersheysGifts.com. For instance, Hershey is now doing better segmentation across six to eight customer categories to deliver more targeted e-mail campaigns, says Bill Stamey, marketing planning and business development manager. “We’re looking at who is buying through the catalog, coming to the web site or responding to a particular promotion,” Stamey says. “We are getting a better handle on segmentation.”
Hershey has also spent time and effort in recent years making its e-commerce site more personal. Recent improvements in personalization features are a big part of the company’s business-to-consumer online retailing plan going forward, says Mark Potts, director of web marketing.
Hershey’s core online shoppers are gift buyers ages 25-54 with annual household income of about $50,000. They shop online at HersheyGifts.com for unique chocolate gifts as well as branded merchandise, Potts says.
The site, which offers about 100 products, has been updated with personalization tools that allow shoppers to customize merchandise such as candy products, molds and package wraps. HersheysGifts.com is primarily a business-to-consumer e-commerce site, but more personalization is also helping Hershey’s attract more corporate gift givers. “What we offer and the types of chocolate that customers can personalize make us unique,” Potts says.