Profile: Jason Wood, Director of Display Development, Mars Wrigley Confectionery
Jason Wood joined Mars in 2004 and has not looked back. Wood says he is fortunate to have held a variety of positions that have prepared him for his current role. After an initial stint in operations, Wood then moved to brand customer marketing, shopper marketing, sales and other varying roles that led him to become director of display development.
What are your current responsibilities?
WOOD: I am responsible for the in-store display strategy for Mars Wrigley Confectionery and the development of display tools that bring to life our products in-store. The tools we develop include pre-pack displays to support brands like M&M’s and Snickers, national consumer promotions, new item launches as well as custom pre-pack displays to meet customer-specific needs for both our seasonal and non-seasonal items. We also develop and manage a portfolio of semi-permanent displays and POS materials to enhance the consumer shopping experience and drive sales.
Describe the structure of your organization as it relates to merchandising, including how you interact with shopper marketing and with insights.
WOOD: I manage an amazing team of Mars Wrigley associates who specialize in different types of displays as well as some very talented vendor partners and agencies that help us create best-in-class displays. Data and insights are the first lens we use when creating anything, so we work closely with our insights team to make sure our solutions are meeting a specific category or consumer need. We also have a strong connection with our shopper team to make sure we incorporate both the national consumer promotions as well as specific shopper programs into our display plans. The relationship between display and shopper is critical in optimizing your in-store conditions.
How does your company define success for its in-store marketing programs?
WOOD: We believe our products create special moments and smiles for our consumers. Display is a fantastic vehicle to live into that belief by creating those points of interruption in-store to remind shoppers how fun and enjoyable our brands are. I would say a successful program is one that not only drives sales for Mars but also enables us to grow the category.
How has the emergence of the omnichannel shopper influenced your overall approach to merchandising?
WOOD: Display has become even more critical as we try to connect with consumers through meaningful and impactful consumer promotions. We know that confectionery is not always a planned purchase, so display is crucial in making that final connection at the point of purchase by being in the right place at the right time in a consumer’s shopping trip.
What role will the physical store play in the future?
WOOD: The physical store will always play a role in consumer shopping behavior. That being said, as shopping patterns change we need to help retailers make the most of consumer trips by helping to create incremental purchase opportunities. The store also creates an environment to learn about new product offerings, experience consumer promotions and the ability to touch and feel products.
WOOD: Confectionery is an important part of consumers’ seasonal traditions. We are lucky to have amazing brands to leverage and the personality of those brands comes to life through our POS displays. It’s exciting to see the creative and impactful displays our sales and retail teams build in stores. Not only do these displays create a fun and inviting shopping experience, but they have proven results and deliver significantly higher sales lift versus stores with no display.
WOOD: We recently created a custom wire endcap as a category solution for immediate consumption items. This display is visually appealing with an eye-catching LCD screen header and features top brands presented in high-visibility chutes. The results have been amazing, since we were able to drive a substantial increase in sales over the last year.