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    Expert Column: The Importance of In-store Nonfood Product Demos

    Events drive loyalty, encourage impulse purchases

    By Giovanni DeMeo, Interactions

    When it comes to engaging shoppers, everyone knows that food demonstrations drive significant sales, but what about nonfood items? When taste is out of the equation, retailers and manufacturers need to find ways to engage with consumers. In the latest "Retail Perceptions" trend report from San Diego-based Interactions Marketing, shoppers were asked their opinions on nonfood demonstrations, and their responses came back loud and clear.

    When shoppers are given a choice between two retailers and all other things are equal, a staggering 96 percent say they prefer to spend their money at retailers offering in-store product demos over ones that don't. And nearly half of all shoppers say that when presented with two similar but competing brands, they're willing to pay more for the brand that has taken the time to provide a product demonstration versus the brand that hasn't.

    The statistics are undeniable; the shoppers have spoken. Following are a few additional highlights from "Retail Insights: The Consumer Demand for Non-Food Demonstrations":

    1. Only One Thing Tops Online Research: Today's informed shoppers say the only thing better than online research is trying the product in-store. While most shoppers research a product online before purchasing it, 82 percent say that seeing a complete demo of a product in-store satisfies their research needs, and 86 percent say they'd prefer to see a product demonstrator explain a product's capabilities versus trying to figure it out on their own.
    2. Influence in Every Aisle: Shoppers would like to see more demos for cleaning products, health and beauty items, electronics, small appliances, technology, DIY products, and power tools. Additionally, according to sales-lift data from Interactions, product demos alone can lead to triple the sales for cleaning products and long-term brand loyalty.
    3. Holiday Opportunity and Impulse Buys: Nearly 95 percent of shoppers would like retailers to offer more nonfood product demos during the holidays. Throughout the year, 81 percent of shoppers have made impulse purchases following a product demo, but during the holidays, that number jumps to a whopping 90 percent. In addition, 87 percent of holiday shoppers say that product demos help when purchasing gifts in unfamiliar categories (think about a parent buying the latest gaming console).
    4. Creating Shopper Loyalty: From improving the overall retail experience to encouraging impulse purchases, shoppers say that demos are the tipping point leaving an item on a shelf or a product and becoming loyal to that new brand. Although product demos have significant day-of sales lifts, 37 percent of shoppers choose not to buy on the day of the event, instead to purchase the item at a later time. Of those shoppers, 86 percent will return to buy it at the same store where they saw the demo. Additionally, 47 percent of shoppers say that the trial of an item because of an in-store product demonstration resulted in a permanent switch to brand.

    The opportunities for retailers and manufacturers to engage with shoppers and drive sales span all categories, and shoppers say they'd open their wallets a little wider if retailers added events to the in-store experience.

    To learn more about the insights and opportunities revealed in the latest "Retail Perceptions" report, visit Interactions' website to download a complete copy.

    By Giovanni DeMeo, Interactions
    • About Giovanni DeMeo Giovanni DeMeo is VP of global marketing and analytics at San Diego-based Interactions, the largest provider of in-store product demonstrations and outdoor experience marketing programs for retailers and brands.

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