What Makes a Perfect In-Store Demo?


Every company expects its in-store retail marketing strategy to be effective in engaging customers, getting their products into their hands, and generating sales at the point of sale. The ideal outcome is for those consumers to remain loyal customers forever. However, providing free samples isn’t enough to make an in-store demo successful. To maximize the impact on potential customers, it requires strategic planning, an engaging presentation, and effective interaction. Effective field marketing managers understand that promotions only impact sales when the following conditions are met:

Will the brand representative be able to connect with the consumer as well as the product?

Will there be enough people there on that day and at that time?

What other vendors are promoting their products in the store at the same time?

What common challenges face successful in-store demos? What are some helpful production tips for store sampling events? Can you produce highly effective in-store sampling events consistently without utilizing promotional event management software?

It’s critical to consider other vendors who might be promoting their brands at the same time in the store, in addition to knowing the day and time of the event. The most frequent issues that prevent in-store demonstrations from succeeding are poor visibility, uninteresting displays, and undertrained staff. A successful store sampling event depends on having table and product displays that catch people’s attention, staff who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the products, and engaging interactive elements.

When is the best time for in-store sampling?

It’s not intended for in-store sampling to transform into a feeding frenzy. It is a marketing event designed to engage customers who may require more sales effort to experience your products. Superior experience removes uncertainty from the customer’s mind and makes reciprocity possible. In-store sampling can become chaotic and turn into a mess hall for the starving masses, so the representative’s, demonstrator’s, or brand ambassador’s training is crucial, and excessive traffic should be avoided.

I witnessed an appetizer sampler brand ambassador manage a sizable crowd of ravenous customers while putting on what I would call a remarkable show. The busy woman hurriedly opened food boxes, heated them, and placed them on a tray, where they were quickly devoured without a “thank you.” There was never a time when the company representative and the customers had only minimal contact. I questioned whether the individuals grabbing the samples and tapping their feet impatiently were there to have lunch or to do grocery shopping . On the plus side, you could highlight the anticipation of the product’s high demand as something to buy right away. Unfortunately, there was no signage or other messaging to direct the customers to the point of sale and take advantage of their enthusiasm. ‍

A retailer is in charge of making sure that promotional events at their stores are carefully thought out, coordinated, and put together. While CPG companies and FMCG suppliers provide the funding, personnel, and materials for in-store demo events, the retailer’s brand and reputation are at risk if the event’s execution compromises the experience of their customers. The use of promotional event planning software helps to coordinate and inform product vendors, store personnel, and distributors to ensure that everybody is on the same page and the events deliver a flawless experience to the shoppers.

Five Ways Retailers Can Improve In-Store Marketing

  1. For the benefit of your vendors’ representatives working at your retail locations, establish and make public a formal code of conduct. Make them sign the code and abide by its guidelines when they participate in in-store sampling events. Require your store staff to evaluate the brand ambassadors’ performance after they have finished the in-store demo. Ban the vendors and/or brand ambassadors if they don’t adhere to the guidelines established by your stores. If they don’t value your customers’ experiences, you don’t want them in your stores.
  2. Recognize top-performing vendors, demo businesses, and brand ambassadors as valuable partners by rewarding them with preferential treatment. Make them feel welcome so they can plan and carry out their sampling activities with less hassle and time waste. Ask them to educate your sales staff on the advantages and differences of their products. After the in-store demo campaign is over, that will increase the average sales per square foot in your stores.
  3. Retail field marketing managers and CPG companies ask brand ambassadors to complete informative post-demo reports. Make sure your category managers, merchants, and buyers read these reports by requesting copies of them. They will gain valuable insight into how your customers view the goods you stock your shelves with. Your merchandisers will be able to turn over inventory more quickly using this information. Utilizing this data is essential if you want your product placement and marketing efforts to be tailored to the wants and preferences of your target market.
  4. Get more product demos from vendors of high-margin products to increase consumer demand  for them. The typical sales per visit KPI will significantly increase through these kinds of in-store demo events. Additionally, providing such product samples can boost client satisfaction and loyalty because clients will value the chance to try before they buy. In the end, this will likely result in repeat business and favorable word-of-mouth marketing referrals.
  5. Is it all worth the effort? Because they lack data analysis, retailers who view in-store demo marketing as a diversion are missing out on significant growth potential. When in-store sampling events are regularly used, they increase customer traffic in your stores by 47% more than print, radio, or television advertising. To establish a baseline of sales for the product being sampled, look at the POS data.

Face-to-face marketing in a retail setting by a skilled salesperson who exudes confidence, skill, and passion will always be a great way to make an impression and increase sales.


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