Last week, I did my first store demo in over a year. Yes, I know I should be doing more of them to get the word out about my mustard. And I am. I have two more demos scheduled over the next two months at one of our newest retailers.
Demos take a lot of time. You want to make sure you’re at least going to get a return on them. Whether it’s moving units on the shelf, getting recipe ideas, or seeing what people object to.
Let me tell you about my last demo…..
It was at Healthy Living Market for 4 hours over lunch time on Friday. The demo ended up kind of slow. I met several awesome employees, engaged with family friends (the demo was super local), and got great recipe tips from some customers who have been supporting Green Mountain Mustard already. But, it also gave me time to think about what it takes for a store demo to be successful. And I’m passing the tips on to you:
1. Come early to setup
This may be mandated by the store demo coordinator. If it isn’t get there at least 30 minutes early. Why? You have to meet with the demo coordinator to show you the space, bring everything from your car, set it up, and take a deep breath. Now, you’re ready for customers.
2. Use what the store provides (and then some)
I brought a simple display to Healthy Living. Rather than lug everything around, I thought I’d simplify because I knew the store would have some accessories for me to make the demo space beautiful. I used a stack of wooden cutting boards to display my product at staggering heights. Plus, I used some fresh flowers to bring color to my all-wood display. Use what you can find in the demo area to create a fun display.
3. Have every employee try your products
The big benefit of store demos is when the staff tries your product. Sure, they get an employee discount, but they also talk to a lot more customers than you do. For example, a customer might ask where the mustard is. The employee, having tried your mustard, walks the customer to the correct aisle and recommends your mustard. Win-win!
4. Bring flavors the store doesn’t carry
My distributor doesn’t quite get around to promoting new flavors, so I often have to do it. I took matters into my own hands and brought 2 flavors of mustard Healthy Living didn’t carry. I did that so the demo coordinator (and hopefully the buyer) could taste them and recommend to bring them into the store. They were enjoyed by all who tasted and hopefully they’ll be in the store soon!
5. Make or bring recipes with you
“How do you use this? Is it, like, just for sandwiches?” You probably get that question all the time. Sure, it gets annoying, but some people just haven’t experienced your products quite like you have. That means, you’ve got to give them the experience. Make a signature recipe with your sauce, dry rub, or condiment. Or, maybe a recipe sheet is best for your company. Either way, get your customers to imagine using your product and you’ve got yourself a sale!
6. Clean up, please
If you create a mess, don’t leave it for customer service or the demo coordinator. Clean up your space and leave it the way it was when you got there. Respect the opportunity you have to sample your products. This puts you on the retailers good side. And yes, it’s a great place to be.
7. Schedule your next demo
Lastly, just like following up with retailers, schedule your next demo at the end of your last one. That way, it’s on your calendar, you’re making another appearance in this particular store (even if the demo went poorly), and you’ll be sure to boost your sales at that store as more customers try your products.
I’m sure a lot of you have been doing store demos. Do you have any tips to bring people to the demo table and get them to buy?