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.
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 store demos are used in department stores and grocery supermarkets in order to introduce customers to products and by doing this, increase their chances of purchasing the product. A retail in store brand ambassador showcases products and give potential customers the opportunity to experience, sample or taste the product. Demos can be effective in increasing sales if handled properly. As a retailer, you must be aware of your customers’ needs and make necessary provisions for these needs. One of the features of demos that can increase the chances of attracting potential customers is the cleanliness of the demo table and surrounding space. When planning an in store demo, put in mind the size of the store and create enough space between aisles and keep walkways free of merchandise. As much as a demo is meant to increase the probability of a customer buying a product, it can also reduce sales if there are cramped spaces in the store due to a product demo and it can turn off potential customers. Below are some of the important tips for a great in store demo:
Engage Your Consumer
In order to have a great in store demo that will add value to sales, you must be willing to engage your consumers. Speak with them and know more about their needs. The more people get to know you, the more they trust you and the more they are likely to buy your product. Most consumers make buying decisions based on their emotions and the more you connect with your potential consumers during in store demos, the higher their chances of buying your product and there is a likelihood that they might become loyal customers.
Have a Great Story
During an in store demo, a product demonstrator must be able to inject anecdotes and funny stories instead of making the potential customers feel like they have been sucked into a sales pitch. For example, if the product is about kids and your potential customers have their kids with them, you can tell a story about how much your kids love the different flavors of the product you are demonstrating. This will make your demonstration more like a friendly conversation and it can make your customers stick around if you can find a way to relate to them and this in turn will increase their likelihood of purchasing the product.
Have a Great Brand Ambassador
One of the key features that can improve in store demo sales in any retail center is the in store demonstrator. An in store demonstrator is the one who introduces a customer to a product and helps them try it as well. The importance of a great in store demonstrator cannot be overemphasized. Customers will most likely prefer to listen to a friendly and knowledgeable sales person than an aloof and overly professional one. Having an air of friendliness and professionalism can improve customers’ willingness to buy a product.
Pick Items that You and Other Staff Members Really Like
During an in store demo, your display of enthusiasm towards a product can increase the likelihood of a purchase. When you like a product and you have full knowledge about it and how it works, you will be very enthusiastic to introduce it to potential customers and your enthusiasm can be infectious thereby, prompting consumers to purchase the item. The next time you want to do an in store demo, choose a product that you like and watch your sales increase as a result of your enthusiasm.
Have the Product Nearby
Another important point to note during an in store demo is the ready availability of the product. Consumers are more likely to buy a product if they can grab it right away than when they have to walk down the aisle to find the product. In case of the latter, there is a probability that they might forget about it by the time they get there.
Have Adequate Knowledge About the Product
Customers like to ask questions about a product and as an in store demonstrator, you must have adequate knowledge about the product as this will give customers the assurance that they are in good hands. When customers ask questions and they are not satisfied with the answers, this can decrease the probability of them purchasing the item.
Question 1: Do In Store Demo Work?
Yes, if carried out effectively. In store demos are a great way to bring customers in touch with products and if done in the right way, it increases sales and can also promote customers’ loyalty to a brand. Most consumers get stuck in the routine of buying the same products over time but in store demos is a great way to showcase new products to consumers and give them a taste of something different from their regular routine and this in turn might increase their likelihood to purchase a product thereby, increasing sales.
Question 2: Who is a Brand Ambassador?
A Brand Ambassador or a product demonstrator is a person who shows consumers how to use or sample a product and helps them try it. Often, a product demonstrator is a store employee and an expert on the product at hand. There is nothing more powerful than a great product demonstration. When done correctly, it allows the customers to see and feel how things will be better if they buy a product and it takes the skill of an experienced and skilled demo person to sway the emotion of potential consumers. A product demonstrator does not have to be necessarily expensive to afford instead, any member of the staff who has adequate knowledge about the product and has an aura of friendliness and professionalism can be a good demo person. The person must be enthusiastic, outgoing, well spoken and quick to learn. The person must possess good communication skills and must be able to draw from personal experience during a product demonstration.
In recent years, retail has evolved into a business where proficiency, versatility and creativity are all needed to become very successful. Brands no longer market products just to make profit alone. You might be wondering where I am going with this, but humor me a bit. Brands now strive to appeal to the customers emotions. They want them to feel attached to the brand or product or even the store. This spurs the people to get the product at any cost. There are various techniques through which brands make this happen and one of those strategies is a successful in store demo. The best way to get to your audience is by capturing their attention and what better way to go about that than giving the people a feel of your amazing product.
In store demos are ways brands and retailers engage with the shoppers directly, fostering human connection that will help them in experiencing the product. You may wonder whether in store sampling are necessary for all stores - well, they are, especially if the area of specialization is very competitive like food products in grocery stores and supermarkets. These demonstrations are cheap investments in making sure you stand out among the rest.
We can say to an extent that your performance as a grocery store lies in the success or failure of your marketing strategy. Thankfully, positivity is one of the tenets of retail and that's why we'll look at the essentials of having a memorable in store demo.
PROMOTE PRODUCTS ON THE STORE FLOOR
This is an essential tip for you to have a successful marketing strategy. However, this depends on the effectiveness of such promotion techniques - Let me explain. You are not just going to attack the customer or force him or her to try the product. NO! People like it when you approach them calmly and speak confidently about the product. Most likely, they might have heard of similar products but your job is to give them a feel of that they have never heard before. This will give them the impetus to want to try the product. Furthermore, successful in store demo programs are done with care and precision. They are well planned and coordinated because in the end it is your reputation and revenue that is at stake. You would not want to see one of your customers going to another store to get the product elsewhere. Brands promote products on the store floor because of the lower customer acquisition costs which is preferable to the conventional or digital advertising.
THE BEST BRAND AMBASSADOR
It is important to have an experienced brand ambassador in your corner as he or she is a major stakeholder when it comes to in store sampling. In addition to recruiting a certified influencer, you will need to find a profitable location where you know your products are going to thrive; a place where traffic is just right for you and your store. Let's look at these two extremes to get a clearer picture of why location is important to you and the brand ambassador. If your store is situated in a place with low traffic not even the best and most creative packaging will save the product demonstration there. On the other hand, if there is too much traffic, your brand ambassador might be swamped and end up giving out too many samples that do not turn into sales. Double bummer if you ask me. In essence, find your product niche and settle there.
SUCCESSFUL IN STORE DEMO
There are a lot of intricacies when planning for a successful in store demo. You have to be able to combine these steps to get positive results. First of all, you need to consider the shoppers demographics of the store. Make adequate research on the type of people that come into the store on a regular basis, know the age range, sex, religion, background of some of these people. In store sampling will be easier this way. You then have an idea of how to plan for subsequent demos with the information you already have. Plan a frequency with which you can schedule a series of demos in that store. You already have an edge with the information gathered from the research. What some smart brands do is to invest in a small number of stores instead of wasting money on many stores in a bid to cover the whole market.
LATEST RESEARCH TO MEASURE DEMO PROGRAM EFFECTIVENESS
All that has been said are all key elements in achieving a successful in store marketing strategy. However, without understanding how to measure the effectiveness of the program, you might get stuck. Let's look at some metrics that are apt in measuring in store demo effectiveness.
Traffic management: This explains the percentage of shoppers who stop to taste the product in the store.
Product engagement: It represents the amount of time the shopper spends at the demo table, which may include interacting during the product demonstration
Conversion rate: This is more like a combination of the previous metrics. It is the percentage of shoppers who tasted the product and went on to make a purchase.
NPS ( Net Promoter Score): It is a management tool used to gauge the loyalty of shoppers or customers relationships.
Conclusively, There are a few other tips that were not examined but are also essential for a successful in store demo. You need to come early for the setup preferably at least 30 minutes to meet with the demo coordinator . Also, have every employee or majority of the employees in the store try your product. This will help in promoting the product even more. Another tip is to bring flavors the store doesn't have.
It is very important to note that an in store demo program cannot happen without a quality product. Hence, before you think about all the elaborate marketing strategies to captivate the people, you need to make sure that you have the right product. Bearing that in mind, you need to understand that times have changed, customers have evolved and you need to join the wagon in improving your product and profit making strategies.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE A BRAND AMBASSADOR?
Some brand activation managers find it hard to get a quality brand ambassador for their product as this is a very crucial aspect of their business. Firstly, recruit a professional. Someone that is experienced and reliable; who would invest time in learning about your product. Secondly, take out some time to train the ambassador, provide him or her with the primary source of information about the product. Another point is to select an ambassador with the relevant personality, someone who can stand by his or her word. Finally, maintain strong relationships with the person, get to know each other and take it up from there.
HOW DO YOU PROMOTE A PRODUCT TO A CUSTOMER?
You can ask the employees of the store to try out the product. Surely, they will get employee discount but understand that this will work in your favor. The employees of the store will have better rapport with the customers and no matter how much research you do, the employees will know them better. Also, during product demonstration, you have to give the customers facts, especially things they haven't heard about. It is a good way of promoting a product to the customers.