Before you read why you don’t get them, perhaps you want to know why you want them.
Supermarket Executives Love In Store Demos
Since you are reading this, it is relatively safe to assume that you already realize the value in store demos bring to your stores, but let me provide some numbers.
Smart grocers love demos because they draw foot traffic, sharply increase the sales of promoted products, and boost sales for an entire category of products. While Retail Industry research shows 150% boost in the same day product sales*, Food & Beverage product demos often report over 400% sales increase, and that makes it one of the most successful Grocery Store Marketing Strategies. Consider additional 90% - 120% residual boost in item sales over the quarter following demo event, all paid for by the vendors, and it becomes very easy to understand why smart grocers want more demos.
The lessons below are distilled by analyzing tens of thousands of demo reports conducted by dozens of CPG brands in thousands of US supermarkets over the last couple of years.
Why Is It So Difficult to Schedule In Store Demo?
Most supermarkets do not have dedicated demo coordinators whose prime responsibilities are to schedule and coordinate promotional events with vendors. More often than not, it is handled by a person who already have too many “hats” to wear, some with specific measurement of performance. So it is not surprising that her attention is not focused on a number or effectiveness of the vendor’s in store demos.
That leaves Vendors with a very unpleasant task of multiple calls to the same store, and pain in the neck holding the phone while waiting for a “right” person who can give them availability date for a demo event.
Since stores often use Wall Calendars and no workflows, they usually will give only one date/time slot per day for a request. They may use a Google calendar, or a generic scheduling software without workflow coordination, which won’t provide any remedial relief. The more difficult and unpleasant it is for a Vendor to setup the demos in your store, the more likely she will spend her budget funds at a store of your competitors. I do have hard data to support this statement**.
While it may not be economically attractive to add a full time, salaried employee to manage this process, specialized software for in store demo management automation is readily available for supermarkets at an affordable price. Use of such software eliminates the requirement for dedicated demo coordinator to manage scheduling process.
Sometimes the great ideas to increase sales in retail stores are fall flat facing execution challenges. Too often the problems start when a Brand Ambassador shows up in your store and reports to a manager on duty asking for a designated place for the demo table. The response “I don’t know anything about any demo today in my store” deflates the Brand Ambassador enthusiasm and undermines all preceding efforts by Vendor, product Brand Manager, Distributor and your Buyer to create a successful selling event. While the space for demo challenge can often be resolved with with tactful negotiations, the lack of product inventory on hand for a demo, is a soul crasher. At this point all is lost, the Vendor is stuck with the black hole in her demo budget and nothing to show for all the money and effort. It’s time to cut her losses and go with different, more cooperative stores.
Ask And You Shall Receive
Brand managers, who control promotional budgets, frequently have no idea what stores carry their products they would want to promote. Many products on supermarket shelves are sold to the buyers by brokers and distributors, who often do not have access to the brand’s marketing budgets.
Proactive request from the store management, communicated directly to a manufacturer or via your demo agency/partner, often brings surprising number of demos with very little effort. Most samples for in store demos are purchased in store by brand ambassadors at retail price, and reimbursed by the manufacturer. If you offer to charge wholesale price for the samples, a vendor may reciprocate with an offer of multi demo campaign.
Money, like water, flows where it meets the least resistance. The supermarkets that welcome demos in their stores, i.e. make it easy to set up and execute, receive far more promotional funding and get better profit margins than the stores that see demos as distraction and nuisance.
** Request the data. Please enter “I do have hard data to support this statement**” in a message field, and will email it to you.
One of the recurring complaints you would likely hear from Field Marketing Managers and Demo Coordinators is how unreliable are the Brand Ambassadors they have to deal with. In fact, if you ever experienced scheduling a few demos, you have probably endured a Brand Ambassador's last moment cancellation or "now show".
I would like to posit that the Brand Ambassadors' perceived lack of reliability is not necessarily caused by their mercurial personalities, but by the nature of their business and unavailability of appropriate time management tools. Consider the fact that most Brand Ambassadors are independent contractors who try to earn their living selling their personal skills in small time increments. After all, most in store demos only last 3-4 hours. As such, the Brand Ambassadors need to market their services to Demo Coordinators, Brand Managers, etc. as well as delivering these services in stores and events.
It is impossible to estimate how many hours a Brand Ambassador has to market their services to get a single demo for which she can earn $60-$140. This reality forces them to continuously work with multiple Brands, conflicting times and constantly changing dates.
Demo scheduling is a very fluid process that requires a lot of flexibility from all participants, from Brand and Field Marketing Managers to store personnel, product distributor, to Brand Ambassadors. However, the last link of this chain, the Brand Ambassador, is the least equipped to deal with the demands of flexibility. The byproduct of a flexibility is uncertainty. In the case of Brand Ambassadors it is the uncertainty of being paid for their efforts, while everyone else is paid their hourly salaries. If the changes to dates and times create a conflict with their commitment to other brands they work with, they are the only link in the demo chain who is not getting paid.
Consider the fact that most Brand Ambassadors use a phone, email, Google Calendar and spreadsheets to manage their business commitments and activities, and you will see a picture of a juggler, desperately trying to keep all the "balls" in the air. It is only a matter of time and gravity before some of these "balls", i.e. demo commitments, come down crashing to the floor and cause the last moment cancellations or "no show".
Event Management Software
There are myriads of project/task/shift/etc management services available online today. However, all of them are designed for the owners of these business processes, who are in a position to control steps, tasks and communications. Not for the last link of the process chain, Brand Ambassador, who is on the receiving end of all that "flexibility". Besides, many Demo Coordinators do not use such services either because they do not offer enough specific help for the demo management process, and are not a good fit for other demo management tasks.
Use of the right tool for intelligent scheduling and coordination of ever changing demo requirements can go a very long way to reduce the frustration and "flakiness" of Brand Ambassadors. Additional benefits include:
- increased productivity of a Demo Coordinator who can manage 400-500 demos per month
- controlled automated communications with all involved parties
- greater availability of Brand Ambassador time to you because the use of such a tool reduces the uncertainty of Brand Ambassadors being paid for their time and efforts
- automated generation of BA invoices, payment statements and BA tax preparation documentation
- online demo reporting and data collection for subsequent analysis supporting Field Marketing ROI calculations.
Retail transactions done online afford customers, wholesalers, retailers and even the manufacturers, the luxury of conducting business anywhere at their own convenience. With speed and accuracy, operations can be carried out smoothly - one can therefore see the dilemma traditional independent grocers face. The concerns about falling traffic in your stores are very real as over 71% of consumers trust that they can find better prices online.
So how do you as a traditional retailer survive and most importantly thrive amidst the disruption and turbulence caused by ecommerce? Below are some ideas to increase sale in retail stores.
The first key to survival is to retain and increase foot traffic in your store - this is one of most important grocery store marketing strategies. The good news is that 94% of retail sales are still conducted in brick and mortar stores. Even with the ease of ecommerce, people still prefer a physical experience, a relationship, an interaction with the product or the retailer. This is what defines us as humans - our desire to interact.
The Major Keys to Survival in this Volatile Retail Environment
One of the best strategies to boost number of customer visits in your stores is to leverage this human desire to interact and to discover new experiences. Try to re-imagine your store as an event space which your customers see as being a fun place to visit - not just the place they need to go for weekly provisioning. Promoting limited time price discounts (TPR) on popular and well known products only leads to erosion of margin.
“If consumers come to expect price cuts as the rule rather than the exception, then price promotions lose their ability to boost sales and become unprofitable. “
Consequently, one of the major keys to survival in this volatile retail environment is the creation of exceptional customer experience in your stores. Retail leaders realize that customers now have a plethora of choices available to them. Surely, the store that provides the best experience is certainly where the customers will throng to. In essence, the traditional grocers have the advantage over ecommerce giants in providing quality customer experience through in store demo and other event based marketing strategies.
According to a survey of 1,786 US grocery shoppers conducted by Food Marketing Institute.
“Among all regular food shoppers, brick-and-mortar supermarkets continue to enjoy a clear edge over online grocery retail in perceived performance on key evaluation criteria, especially in providing fresher produce (a top store-selection driver) and better customer service,”
According To a Survey
With the ever dynamic nature of retail today, there is no way you can talk about improving customer experience without including in store demos. This refined tactic helps to draw customers, boost sales of demonstrated products and also improve the sales of other products in that category. To withstand the barrage of online competitors, you have to think of an in-store demo as a network of events rather than one elaborate show. Knowing the right product to demo, duration of each demo and location for the demo are very crucial to your stores survival. In order to measure the impact of in store demos on your stores’ Sales Per Customer Transaction, you have to consider
Understanding return on investment for these promotional strategies can go a long way in attracting the sponsors for them. Analysis of data, collected effortlessly by your POS, holds the key to leveraging vendor’s promotional budgets for increasing foot traffic in your stores. Any quality in store demo agency or vendor’s field marketing organization collects valuable data specific to the demo events they conduct. Cross referencing POS with demo data can produce empirical evidence, that would entice vendors to demos in your stores all day long, and that will lift:
In retrospect, arming yourself with the right information and tactics will give you sufficient leverage in the unstable 'waters' of retail. Reaching out to your customers, giving them the very best and improving on your operations are essential tips for relieving the pressure of online competitors.
Retail is one business that entails a lot of effort to succeed; you can't just wake up one morning, cook up a marketing strategy and expect to flourish. Some retailers currently find themselves in a bit of a fix when it comes to marketing. There are strategies involved in making your product stand out from the rest of the pack, especially if you sell products that can be experienced by the shoppers, you will need something more than just some ads to impress. In store sampling is one of the most effective tools for that purpose.
Brand activation is the art of of driving consumer action through campaigns, brand interaction and experiences. As an upcoming or certified grocery store, in store demo offers are the most effective marketing strategies that help to promote a product. In retrospect, a successful in store sampling or product demo makes, for a strong brand activation.
Product demonstration literally allows the shopper experience every bit of the product and what better way of knowing the quality than tasting it. A bit of a statistics to water your taste buds - in store sampling is known to increase sales by as much as 2,000 percent. Invariably, majority of those shoppers that experience the product go on to make purchase - the very essence of business.
Therefore, it is not a function of how many ads you run - though still a viable marketing strategy, but the combination of in store demos would guarantee notable brand activation in the store, ultimately yielding to a spike in the store's revenue. Consequently, many retailers have adopted this form of field marketing and we will see why "one taste sells better than a 1000 ads".
In-store Demos Offers
These offers have a plethora of benefits to the retailer and the store. Not only does it help promote the product but an in store demo fosters connection. In store demo offers allow you to connect directly to the customer. Furthermore, interaction that spans within and outside the store can also emanate just from in store sampling. Consequently, with the relationship established with the shoppers, you can convert them into loyal customers, hence, the need for experienced brand ambassadors that will help push the right traffic for your product. In fact, the customer could even go about telling people about your product based on the rapport and experience at the product demonstration. The more your connection, the higher your sales. Also, in store demo offers afford customers the luxury of trying different varieties of your product. For example, if it is yoghurt you are trying to promote, you can bring different flavors some people have not heard, and let them try them.
In Store Sampling Survey
This survey is yet another reason to hop on the in store demo bandwagon. Let's check some facts. According to a study, more than a third of customers who tried samples said they bought the product during the same shopping trip. Put simply, more than three out of ten people bought the product after the product demonstration. Now imagine the numbers at the close of the store. You still want to get stuck on the numerous ad campaigns you ran before? In store demo offers also have the glittering reputation of not only increasing an item's sales but also boosting sales for all products in the line by as much as 177 percent on the day of the demonstration. This was according to a 2009 study, “Report on In-store Sampling Effectiveness”.
Brand Ambassadors Charges
Running numerous ads for your products can be time consuming and costly. In store demos are relatively low. Most brands pay $20-$35 per hour to Brand Ambassadors for promoting their products in the stores. Furthermore, there could be some additional charges to the fee if the influencer (brand ambassador) travels from a distance to the store. However, if this is becoming too hectic, you can have a fixed cost demo company as a partner. This will erase hassles that come with planning for a successful in store demo. Interestingly, you can get the attention of prospects through some field marketing techniques like coupons which go for less than a dollar. You might probably be thinking of how much you have spent on advertising online, but not to worry, it is not too late to add another weapon into your retail arsenal.
Retail is a volatile business. Without the right techniques to guide you through, it may be a disastrous journey. In order to swim comfortably and avoid the treacherous waves of retail, you will need to carefully plan your in store demo. No one says that advertising does not work, but with in store demo offers, you have an extra lift above your competitors. This is particularly needed for retailers in the food industry which is highly competitive. It is either you do things creatively or watch others dominate the market. The affordability, ease and luxury in store demos provide the retailers and the shoppers makes it clear to see why "one taste is better than 1000 ads"©. Brands understand this standpoint, hence, the reason they appeal to the emotions of customers all around. Notwithstanding, there are still many intricate details to make the product demonstration a success. Some of which are getting quality brand ambassadors, the right location and having the right product.
Finally, there is something that happens when you come in physical contact to the product or store. The experience cannot be compared to just watching on the TV or listening to the radio. So, we know why retailers and shoppers enjoy In store demo offers.
WHAT IS PRODUCT DEMONSTRATION?
A product demonstration is one of your best sales tools if you have a high-quality product. It is a marketing strategy that allows shoppers see what your product is really about. Here, there are no cameras, just the brand for people to see, feel, hear or taste depending on the type of product on display. Product demonstrations provide visual support to enhance the quality of your sales presentation. Prospects who are more visual or hands-on learners often need to see your product in action to fully grasp its value and potential. Product demonstration also supports what the brand ambassadors say or what the shoppers might have heard before they try the product.
WHAT IS THE DEMONSTRATION METHOD?
It is very easy to miss the mark when planning for an in store demo program. However, you should have some rules to guide you.
Understand that each customer is unique. So, customize your in store demo to suit the customers. One way you can easily understand unique characteristics is by conducting research and getting information from the employees.
Tell the customer's story. Let the customer feel attached to the product by providing information that links them to the product.
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
Test everything beforehand.
After the demo, close the deal.
In marketing, in store demo refers to the demonstration of products in large retail locations such as shopping malls or supermarkets in order to attract potential customers. In store demo is a means of introducing customers to products with the hope of getting them to purchase them.
One of the advantages of in store demo is that it gives customers the opportunity to taste or touch the products before they buy them. A product demo is one of the best sales tools that can be used when you have a high quality product for sale. A product demo is a very effective way to make potential customers know about your new products and the features. One of the important sales demonstration skills is to know your audience. The key is to put together what each customer cares about and make them available.
During in store demo, don’t just show your audience the products, engage them by allowing them touch, feel or hold the product. Also, don’t make a product demo like a sales pitch; spice it up by injecting anecdotes or telling funny stories. Avoid making turning an in store demo to a training session; stick to the basics.
Planned product demos are one of the best ways to introduce a consumer to your products. If well planned, it can get the attention of shoppers and passersby which will in turn increase the sale of your product.
The Objective of the Demonstration
The benefits of in store marketing cannot be overemphasized. It increases the sales rate of the brand because consumers who see the products in the middle of a shopping spree are most likely to buy the products. It also gives customers the opportunity to try something different from the brand that they are used to. Below is some of the key importance of in store demo
1. Creation of Desire
In store demo helps in creating desire of purchasing a product in passersby or shoppers. For instance, in a grocery store where cookies are offered to customers who wait to watch the product demo, the customers may like the product and they may decide to buy more quantities of the product. Or if it a coffee machine, you can invite customers to come up and try out how it works and this in turn may spike up their desire and can lead to an interest in purchasing a coffee machine.
Product demo provides visual aids which enhance the quality of your sales presentation. Some customers prefer to see a product in order to grasp its value and potential. The ability to feel, see or even smell a product can be more appealing than just listening to a sales pitch. In store demo provide potential customers the opportunity to see the features of a product and can strengthen their desire to purchase the product.
2. Brand Positioning
In store demo aids brand positioning which involves differentiating your brand from your competitors’ brand and this helps give a lasting impression on your target audience. A well defined brand position gives your brand several advantages which include providing a conceptual framework for your brand, marketing messages, services and pricing structure.
In store demo aims at communicating to your consumers the unique features of the product you want them to purchase. It gives producers the opportunity for direct communication with consumers about their product and its attributes and the benefits it provides. In store demo helps your brand stand out in competitive retail markets.
3. Consumer Education
In store demo offers potential customers the opportunity to closely inspect products during a product demonstration. Printed information can be given to customers to enable them get a better grasp of the demonstration. The demonstrator should take up the role of a teacher and educate the consumers about the way a product should be used. Consumer education helps improve day to day satisfaction with your product and increases their trust in your brand.
Customers’ satisfaction soars when they are properly educated in the way a product works or how it should be used. During in store demo, customers become engaged in a product demonstration and this in turn increases their likelihood to purchase your product. Increased engagement in a product leads to higher chances of renewal or repurchase of the product.
In sales demo when properly carried out can increase customers’ loyalty to the product as a result of proper customer education.
What is In Store Demo?
In store demo is a form of product demonstration that is usually performed at large retail locations such as shopping malls and supermarkets in order to introduce potential customers to a product. It is an effective way of making sales, if properly done.
In grocery stores, in store demo gives consumers the opportunity to taste a particular product and this in turn increases the likelihood of the consumer purchasing the product if he likes it. In store demo can help sway a consumers’ buying preference and help boost sales and increase brand loyalty.
In store demonstrators must be professionals who can connect with the consumers in a way that will increase their likelihood to purchase the product and they must be knowledgeable about the product and always ready to provide answers to customers’ questions.
Why is Product Demonstration Important?
The importance of product demonstration cannot be overemphasized. It helps boost brand awareness and increases product sales. When customers have a closer, out of the box look of the product that is on demonstration, it affords them the opportunity to touch or feel the product.
It also gives producers the opportunity to tell customers the features of their products and teach them how a product works. Product demonstration gives demonstrators the chance to show their knowledge skill and answer questions about the products. It boosts brand loyalty and helps in swaying the interest of consumers to the products and if they like it, increases the possibility of a repurchase.