What’s sweeter than chocolate? Gifts of chocolate, of course. But the business of corporate gifting involves careful planning.

Even as shopping becomes an online-only activity, it’s a tedious process that takes time and consideration to purchase gifts every year.

To open a world of deliciousness to businesses everywhere, one chocolatier invested in the technology and made showing you care easier than ever.


year-over-year increase in business gifting


total gifting sales from self-service orders on website

The challenge

Hershey’s is one of the world’s largest chocolatiers, and customers everywhere recognize its candy by the distinctly branded packaging. Yet, many people don’t know about the abundance of specialty products Hershey’s offers in its corporate gifting selection.

To improve the corporate-gifting process, Hershey’s asked its commerce partner Merkle to help it differentiate from competitors and build a long-term strategy for adding gifting to its online commerce shop.

The approach

When Hershey’s and Merkle launched the direct-to-consumer commerce site shop.Hersheys.com in 2019, the brand’s sales team exclusively took business gifting orders over the phone and processed in an outdated portal. With the goal of adding the ability to purchase corporate gifts on the site while also reducing the time to fulfill an order, Merkle first assessed the business gifting competitive landscape. The agency reached out to Hershey’s gifting customers to learn what features they wanted in an online ordering experience. Once complete, Merkle developed a strategic roadmap for upgrading Hershey’s online shop customer experience, achieving the brand’s business goals, and easing the strain on Hershey’s employees.

Knowing Salesforce Commerce Cloud could adapt to include a business-gifting option, Merkle’s UX team sought to make the online order process as short and seamless as possible. Using Adobe XD, the team crafted several user flows detailing various corporate customer scenarios and the products they traditionally purchase.

With a goal of making the experience flexible, Merkle enabled multiple features to make it easier to purchase and ship multiple gifts to multiple recipients in a single order. The agency focused on lessening the customer-service interaction costs with each customer, providing customers with the functionality to split up their purchases, bulk import shipping addresses, and customize the number of shipments.

Within the checkout-process design, Merkle’s UX team nested the grouped items in a fashion for the customer to understand which gift they’re editing or adding shipment information to without altering another gift. The agency also included a gift-message option for sending a custom greeting to recipients and a callout to update the item quantity for all recipients.

After testing the checkout experience and adjusting any functionality that didn’t provide a seamless path to purchase, Merkle built out the full user flow on shop.Hersheys.com/gifts. Starting with a discovery page, customers can explore candy types, brands, and merchandise; navigate to gifts and sales pages; request the corporate gift guide; and gift deliciousness.

The final solution allowed customers to service themselves and send large quantities of gifts to multiple recipients, while also drastically reducing the time required for Hershey’s customer service representatives to complete customer orders.

The outcome

Hershey’s and Merkle launched online business gifting in early October 2020, just in time for end-of-year holiday shopping. While 2020 was an abnormal year as shopping and gifting became almost an exclusively online activity, Hershey’s saw an 84% year-over-year increase in business gifting with 35% of the total gifting sales coming from self-service orders on the brand’s commerce website.

Now offering customers specialty gifts at their fingertips, Hershey’s and Merkle are continuing to optimize the online shopping experience and add new features—including augmented reality experiences of the World’s Largest product line.

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