15 Secrets for Successful Demo Programs

You likely already know that demo programs are a great way to reach new customers and build relationships with stores, but you may not be seeing the ROI you were expecting. Perhaps you’re struggling to drive people to your stations, connect with shoppers, make sales or maybe you don’t know how to measure success. Follow these tips to optimize your program:

1. Be Prepared To Answer Questions 
Training brand ambassadors to perform at their best is critical to the outcome of your event. Employees need to be ready to answer questions regarding your brand, product, nutrition facts, cooking directions, recipes and more. You can create a cheat sheet for ambassadors to take with them to events with common questions and answers.

2. Be Friendly
Brand ambassadors are at the front lines of your brand when it comes to your demo program. Often, they present the first impression of your product to consumers and these employees have the power to make or break a shopper’s perception of your brand. Smiling, friendly and outgoing workers can make all the difference.

3. Be Clean
From the employee’s appearance to crumbs on the table, everything about the presentation should be pristine. Ensure your ambassadors are trained to look clean and inviting. Providing clothing items with your brand logo is an easy way to regulate their appearance and provides extra brand recognition for shoppers.

A messy work station can be uninviting, unsanitary and/or make your product look complicated to prepare. Ensure your ambassadors are prepared with cleaning products in the event of spills for quick clean up. Extra ingredients, product packages, and other unnecessary items should be kept off the station. 

4. Work During Peak Traffic Times
Once you’ve picked the right locations, finding out when traffic is most favorable will help boost your reach and sales. Fortunately, Google has a great feature called ‘Popular Times,’ to show you when the store has the most traffic on any day of the week. 

Head over to maps.google.com, and search for your desired location. Google will show you ‘Popular Times’ in the left column. As shown in this graphic, a Saturday at Costco would be an ideal day for steady consumer traffic between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

5. Be Visually Attractive
An appealing presentation requires more than being clean. Having an eye-catching display can grab shoppers’ attention. Display colorful signage with your logo, lay out a nice tablecloth and use attractive utensils and trays. Think outside the box on this one and get creative. As a shopper, what would make you stop at a demo table?

6. Display Product Benefits Prominently Today’s consumer is interested in foods with benefits. Is your product appealing to people with special diets? Are there added health perks? Let shoppers know you are gluten-free, vegan, paleo, etc. Additionally, you should list out all of your ingredients to keep shoppers with food allergies away.

7. Have Signage
Shoppers can be distracted by their shopping lists. Vibrant signage that says “Free Samples” or mentions your product can attract shoppers. Be sure to include your logo and stick to your brand guidelines when designing your display.

8. Have Fun
Adding an element of fun like a trivia question, riddle or game can make customers stop in their tracks. Giving away prizes for answering a question correctly or spinning a wheel can improve the consumer’s experience with your brand, making your product memorable even after the demo event has ended.

9. Schedule Around Shoppers’ Moods and Holidays
Got a great Superbowl appetizer? Candy for Valentine’s day? Summer snack? Thanksgiving side dish? Stocking stuffer? Think about what else is going on in shoppers’ lives and schedule your demos around that. If you’re sampling wine and cheese, you may want to do that on a Friday afternoon/evening rather than Saturday morning. A bagel and cream cheese display would do well on a weekend morning rather than a mid-week afternoon.

10. Ask For Placement Near Your Product
Although not all stores will allow you to pick the location of your table, it makes sense for you to sample meat near meat, snacks near snacks, frozen foods near frozen foods. This allows you to grab the attention of shoppers who are already looking for products similar to yours.

11. Be Courteous to Store Employees
Hand out samples to as many employees as you can. Positive interactions with an employee can persuade him/her to send customers to your demo, increasing your foot traffic. A friendly conversation can also inspire a shelf stocker to take extra care when placing your items. Additionally, having a strong relationship with a store manager can help your in-store displays thrive long after your ambassador has left the store, and keep you coming back for future events.

12. Hand Out Recipe Cards
When customers discover a product for the first time, they may not understand how to use it, cook it or cook with it. You can encourage shoppers with a simple recipe or two that can be handed out at stores. To save money on printing, you can keep a QR code at your table that people can scan to bring up the recipe on the web. 

13. Create fun facts.
Give customers a talking point to take home with them. An example might be “did you know it takes 10 hours to boil the bones to make this bone broth?” or “did you know popcorn was created in 1885?” People remember fun facts and may share the knowledge with others–increasing your brand’s reach.

14. Let People Know Where the Product is After You Leave
Add a sign to your display that directs people toward your product during their next shopping trip. Grocery store aisles contain numerous items, making yours difficult to find. Point people in the right direction!

15. Measure Success with RepBetter
Whether you’re running just a few or over 100 demo events per month, RepBetter can help improve your retail execution. The user-friendly, customizable app is simple for your brand ambassadors to learn and a simple way for you to manage your events, perform retail audits, view analytics and more. 

With RepBetter, you can say goodbye to countless spreadsheets and emails for scheduling and recording demos. This app saves you time so you can focus on the thing that matters most–building your business! Get a free demo today.

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