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    Bring In-Store Demos Into The Sharing Age

    Creative tips for producing memorable in-store events

    By Bill Sussman , Collective Bias

    When one thinks of in-store demos, it’s easy to conjure up images of an uninspired, uniformed employee manning a booth with sample cups of food or drinks and not much else. However, demos can be a vital way to get your product tried and purchased when utilized in the right ways. In fact, according to a study by Arbitron, more than one-third of customers who tried samples during a demo said they bought the product during the same shopping trip.

    But how can you make your brand’s demos stand out from others? Here are some creative tips for producing a memorable demo and extending the life of it beyond store hours. 

    Employ social influencers to bridge the gap between on and offline experiences

    In an age where the lines between online and offline are being increasingly blurred, demos are a prime opportunity to bring social media into the mix. When influencers attend (and post about) your demo, it gives your brand major social exposure and also extends the life of the demo through content. A demonstrably successful starting point? Have bloggers purchase the item at the demo, take photos and live tweet the event, then take the product home and create something awesome to spin into blog and social posts.

    Even if your demo series is for a limited time, influencer-branded content will live online for years to come. Think of capturing demo content as the equivalent of an online review. Reviews are key to reaching influential demographics like Millennial moms. Ninety percent will not purchase a product without reading a review first, according to Maria Bailey’s book, Millennial Moms: 202 Facts To Help Drive Brands and Sales. Influencers can also give their followers the localized context your brand needs by tweeting out the who/when/where of your demo.

    Cash in on the rising power of video.

    According to Internet Retailer, 90 percent of Internet users say seeing a video about a product is helpful in the purchase decision process. How-to videos paint a perfect picture for consumers of exactly how they can fit a product into their lives. Influencers can snap a quick Instagram video of your demo and post it to their channel for all their followers to get a snackable piece of inspiration on how your product can be utilized.

    Make your demo feel like a brand-exclusive event.

    1. Have influencer-created recipe/usage occasion cards to hand out.
    2. Give the demo a relevant theme like tailgating or Halloween.
    3. Continue the chain of customer loyalty: have an iPad signup so customers can enter their email address to get coupons and additional recipes sent to them in the future.
    4. Make it Instagrammable as a great way to reach Millennials: giveaway props like chef hats with your brand printed on it or a face-in-hole photo prompt equip shoppers with an easy moment to snap a picture of and post to their social channels.

    Demos are the consummate time to take advantage of real time and social media marketing. With a dose of creativity and some help from social influencers, your demo will be remembered well after the store closes.

    By Bill Sussman , Collective Bias
    • About Bill Sussman Bill Sussman is president and CEO of Collective Bias, a shopper social media company that drives sales for brands and retailers by working with a community of expert bloggers who create social content consumers actively seek out and trust. Sussman has deep experience in digital marketing, retail and media industries, and has previously held leadership positions at Nickelodeon, Walmart, Triad Retail Media and Ringling Bros. [email protected]

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