Founded in 1927, McKeesport Candy Co. is one of the oldest candy retailers in the nation. After a long, successful history of operating “brick and mortar” retail stores, the company realized the future was in ecommerce. In 1997, it launched its first website, McKandy.com, which was one of the first web-based candy stores. The online venture—which eventually changed its name to CandyFavorites.com—has gone on to become one of the Internet’s largest candy websites, offering more than 3,000 varieties of candy, ranging from bulk candy and themed candy bars to retro candy from different time periods.
Since its inception, McKeesport Candy Company has strived to provide customers with the highest quality candy, at reasonable prices, with exceptional customer care. A hallmark of its physical retail stores, customer service continues to be the top priority for its online business and the company slogan, “Candy is what we deliver, but service is what we sell,” rings as true today as it did 85 years ago.
When the company realized that identity theft was becoming a growing concern of its customers, the company knew it had to act.
“The McAfee SECURE trustmark may be tiny but it makes a huge difference. It’s one more step in our evolutionary process, one more way we stay as current technologically as an Internet company.”Jon H. Prince
President, CandyFavorites.com and McKeesport Candy Company
“We realized that a vital part of the customer service equation for our online customers was giving them peace of mind that their personal information is safe. If people don’t feel comfortable shopping on our site, not only will they not buy, they won’t associate our company with top customer service,” said Jon H. Prince, president of Candyfavorites.com.
As president of McKeesport Candy Company and CandyFavorites.com, Prince wears many hats—from outsourcing IT to scooping candy and designing web pages. To keep online customers safe and help assure them that their data will not be compromised, he turned to McAfee SECURE™ service.
“Why McAfee? Why Kleenex? The answer is simple; both products have amazing brand recognition. Savvy web users know that McAfee has long been the industry leader in security. Being associated with such a state of the art company enhances our online reputation and serves to further strengthen the customer experience,” said Prince.
McAfee SECURE service provides comprehensive, daily scanning that searches for more than 40,000 vulnerabilities. In addition to this daily hacker testing, sites that earn the McAfee SECURE trustmark also undergo a series of tests to uncover unintentional links to malicious websites, the hidden presence of browser exploit code, and the accidental sharing of customer email data. McAfee does this scanning and testing remotely, without any need for expensive or complicated hardware or software. Once certified to this high standard of security, McAfee SECURE service customers showcase their safety status by automatically displaying the McAfee SECURE trustmark, which is picked up by search engines annotated by McAfee® SiteAdvisor® software. Consumers who see the trustmark when browsing or searching Google, Microsoft Bing, and Yahoo! (as well as 19 other search engines), see sites certified by McAfee SECURE service as safer and more secure places to shop than sites that don’t undergo daily testing.
Prince asked a third-party programmer to implement McAfee SECURE service on the CandyFavorites.com website.
“Our programmers had the McAfee SECURE service up and running before I knew it,” he said. “Truth be told, installation was so seamless that I forgot all about it, which seldom occurs! No feedback from your programmer is a good thing.”
Results and ROI
When McAfee SECURE service was first installed, the company ran an A/B test for 20 days to measure the effectiveness of the McAfee SECURE trustmark when displayed on the CandyFavorites.com website. The test showed a sales conversion of 7.5 percent due to the prominent display of the McAfee SECURE trustmark.
“When online shoppers know that our site is being constantly vetted—when they see the McAfee SECURE trustmark at the top of the web page with ‘Tested’ and today’s date—they feel considerably more secure, which makes their shopping experience more positive and improves the likelihood of their purchasing something—and, more importantly, returning in the future.”Jon H. Prince
“A 7.5 percent additional sales conversion rate is impressive,” Prince stated. “Our site averages 150 to 200 sales per day. Over time, an extra 7.5 percent in orders adds up to a lot of revenue. It also means that 7.5 percent more of our site visitors experienced the feeling of exemplary customer service, which, for our company, is how we measure success.”
If the secret to this candy company’s success is customer service, the secret to its longevity is adaptability and a refusal to remain stagnant, especially in the area of technology. Prince compares his business experience to a quote by contemporary artist Jasper Johns: “Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it. Then do something else to it.”
After jumping feet first into the Internet Age, CandyFavorites.com has continued to make changes along the way to keep its customers happy and grow its business—including the addition in 2008 of McAfee SECURE service to improve security.
“We will continue to evolve and grow, but our plans for the future remain the same as the present: sell candy and provide the best possible customer experience. McAfee is sure to be a part of that experience,” says Prince.
Prince’s advice to competitive candy retailers: “Don’t use the McAfee SECURE service.” For all other online retailers, he has this to say from his 14 years of web-based retail experience: “Companies will spend a lot on infrastructure but skimp on things that really make a difference. It really is true that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ The money spent on the McAfee SECURE service is minimal compared with losing customers who feel insecure. There are other security seals out there but none has the cachet of the McAfee brand.”
America’s oldest wholesale candy company and one of the largest online candy retailers