Making business decisions in 3D.
Hershey innovates management of in-store displays using 3D scenes built with Adobe Substance.
Improve efficiency for sales associates by eliminating reliance on static, paper guidelines
Help stakeholders better visualize displays and how they will be used in stores
Build skills in-house while minimizing time to deliver usable 3D content
Saves time associates spend updating displays, reduces need for assistance for fast seasonal or holiday changes
Accelerates decision making by allowing stakeholders to better understand displays and key metrics
90% of retailer key decision makers agree to use 3D models regularly in stores
Quickly creates high fidelity 3D scenes at scale without 3D graphics training
The Hershey Company is one of the world’s largest snack manufacturers, earning $10.4 billion in net sales annually selling popcorn, pretzels, candies, and of course, chocolates. Consumer- centric innovation has always been a big part of the brand, but the consumer-first focus doesn’t stop at products. It also means making sure that consumers have smooth shopping experiences when buying Hershey products from any supermarket, convenience store, or other retail partner.
“One of the best things about working at Hershey is how the brands are really a part of consumers’ lives,” says Andy Hunt, Manager of Applied Digital Innovation at The Hershey Company. “There are fans who argue about the best way to eat a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. People can’t imagine s’mores without a Hershey’s chocolate bar or a sundae without Hershey’s chocolate syrup. And, we continue to innovate to meet consumers’ evolving needs.”
One of the most recent innovations involves 3D imagery. 3D content opens new ways for content creators and marketers to engage customers with products using a streamlined creative process. They can easily rearrange content to create a wide variety of product shots. They can also reuse visuals across both digital and physical spaces, including video, social media posts, printed signs, and augmented reality. Using Adobe Substance 3D Stager, Hunt is bringing together 3D assets to create AR experiences in a fraction of the time.
“At Hershey, we must work with agility and speed to adapt to a changing retail landscape,” says Stephanie Berman, Vice President of the U.S. Retail Sales Organization at The Hershey Company. “The use of 3D and augmented reality has enormous potential to enable our sales team to further complement the strategic partnerships we have with our retailers. It also helps to optimize and improve in-store activation with both efficiency and speed.”
“One of the biggest benefits of Adobe Substance is how easy it is to use. All of the basic functions just make sense when you start using them.”
Manager, Applied Digital Innovation, The Hershey Company
Creating hundreds of scene variations
The Hershey retail team works closely with partners to set up eye-catching displays in stores so that consumers can find their favorite brands. The displays are stocked and changed for each season that optimize positioning to help consumers find the brands that they know and love.
Using 3D images, Hunt revolutionized how these displays are managed. He used Adobe Aero during the proof of concept to quickly materialize the idea and socialize at Hershey. With the concept approved, he first created and optimized hundreds of 3D assets, from products and packaging to merchandising materials. Many of the assets, such as designs for the side panels of the display, come from outside vendors. Hunt optimizes the high-fidelity visuals in Adobe Photoshop to create more lightweight textures and applies the materials to 3D panels to create realistic views of the four way displays. Using Stager, he adds 3D models of products to the shelves. Unlike flat renders, he can swap out products or textures in minutes to create new scenes.
“One of the biggest benefits of Adobe Substance is how easy it is to use,” says Hunt. “All of the basic functions just make sense when you start using them. We wanted to nurture the skills we needed in-house, rather than relying on outside resources, and Adobe Substance gave us the ability to do things ourselves, build those skills, and create usable output quickly.”
“People love the AR experience. It’s engaging, fun, and modern, but it also helps people understand displays and make decisions about them faster.”
Manager, Applied Digital Innovation, The Hershey Company
Bringing AR into retail stores
Hunt got the idea for the AR experience when working with the retail team to build and execute confection displays. He was surprised to see his colleagues still relying primarily on paper printouts. The AR experiences allows associates to use any mobile device to visualize four-way displays in stores. The 3D visuals are shown life size with a 360-degree view that allows users to see exactly how much room it will take up in the store, what the side panels will look like, and what products will be displayed. The AR experience can also display information about the products, such as key financial numbers and analytics that explain the metrics used to optimize the display.
For the sales representatives, having strong visuals and key data on a single interactive screen helps to educate buyers quickly on the value of the display or initiative. For the retail team, the ability to quickly visualize how the display will look in stores helps gain faster approvals from key decision makers such as department or store managers.
Store associates use a simple QR code to access the AR display on any mobile device. Setting up display, along with compliance becomes much easier as they simply compare the virtual design with the physical products. And with faster setup, store associates need less help rolling out time-sensitive updates such as special holiday displays and new plan-o-gram changes.
“Initial feedback is very positive. People love the AR experience,” says Hunt. “It’s engaging, fun, and modern, but it also helps people understand displays and make decisions about them faster. At one retailer, 90% of key decision makers confirmed that they plan to have personnel use the QR codes to view AR models for merchandise.”
“The use of 3D and augmented reality has enormous potential to enable our sales team to further complement the strategic partnerships we have with our retailers. It also helps to optimize and improve in-store activation with both efficiency and speed.”
Vice President of the U.S. Retail Sales Organization, The Hershey Company
Exploring the 3D world
Once a 3D model is created, Hunt can reuse the object, setting up cameras and lighting to create 2D visuals and video. Retail backgrounds from Adobe Stock can be brought in to create scenes for presentations. The objects are also used as part of training videos created using Adobe Premiere Pro and Media Encoder. Hunt looks forward to seeing what other innovations will come from these 3D models.
“We live in a 3D world, so it makes sense that people will enjoy interacting with things and consuming content in 3D,” says Hunt. “With Adobe Substance, the 3D possibilities are endless. As we evolve our use of 3D, we are excited to find new ways to keep engaging consumers and stay true to everything that has made Hershey a favorite brand for generations.”