How to get great results from your in-store demonstration

Firstly, make sure your objectives are clear and realistic and you know what success will look like. The most common reasons for running in-store demonstration campaigns are to drive sales, shape consumer behaviour and build store confidence in a product’s ability to sell. A successful campaign will deliver strong sales during the demonstrations and a sustained increase in sales after the campaign is finished.

To achieve this is no mean feat, since it depends on getting many aspects of your campaign absolutely right. At The IN Group, we run thousands of in-store demonstrations a year with close to a million interactions. We have found that the most successful campaigns tend to have a number of factors in common. Here are some of the key ones:

Lots and lots of stock.

We work closely with our clients’ account managers to get as much stock as possible on to the shelves in plenty of time for the demonstrations. If you run out of stock to sell during a demonstration it is a lost opportunity. 

Strong sales staff.

Make sure the brand ambassadors you are using are experienced and know how to operate in a store environment. Make sure they understand your brand and what they need to do. I just can’t emphasise enough how important it is that the brand ambassadors know how to sell (not just give out free stuff ) and are well-trained on your brand! After stock, this is the biggest influencer on sales on the day. 

A great deal.

Shoppers expect a deal when they approach a demonstrator, so try to tie in your demonstrations to a price promotion, or at least a coupon. You will definitely see higher sales when you do this. 

Stock close at hand.

If your demonstrators have a stand, have them sell the product directly from the stand and position themselves near a product display if possible. If they don’t have a stand, they need to be in a busy foot traffic area close to the product. In our experience, you will see at least 30 percent more sales if the demonstrator can hand the product to the shopper rather than directing them to the aisle. 

Powerful branding.

Think of your stand, tray, uniform, brand ambassador etc. as a live billboard. You must capture shopper interest and convey brand and key messages in a glance. Once you have hooked a shopper’s interest it is far easier to get them to engage and buy. Nestle’s strong Kit Kat branding (pictured) undoubtedly contributed to their in-store campaign success in 2017. 

The right stores.

In most cases, the stores that you want to target are those that have good foot traffic, high reach to your target demographic and show support for your product. Keep in mind that small or remote stores don’t always deliver a good ROI. 

The right days and times.

Don’t presume that Saturdays and Sundays are always the best days for demonstrations. We have found that foot traffic and purchase behaviour patterns have changed a lot over the last few years. 

Details, details, details.

Make sure your agency (if you are using one) can consistently replicate your requirements en masse. If your product requires cooking or food preparation, this is especially important. We run many large cooking demonstration campaigns for Countdown’s shopper programmes and have found testing, piloting and quality control are critical to achieve strong results. 

Analysing and refining.

Finally, make sure you continuously measure, analyse and refine your campaign while in progress to ensure your results keep improving. Assess and critique on completion and incorporate findings into future campaigns.

Get these factors right and you can’t help but get great results! 

  • This article was written by Chris Coffey, Managing Director, The IN Group.  Contact: [email protected] wwwtheingroup.co.nz  +64 21 552 390
  • The IN Group specialises in consumer brand experiences, from in-store demonstrations to experiential activities, events and mass sampling. 

This story is part of a content partnership with The IN Group.

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