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Successfully Executing Demo
        Programs at Retail
        Navigating the Retail Channel Series




        Premium Re...
It has become harder and harder to get a message across at retail with the
fragmentation of media and the proliferation of...
needed. Tile setting is a classic example of this type of demo in Home Improvement.

Demonstrations, when done well for th...
based and face-to-face training. The content needs to come from the
        manufacturer and built into a training program...
That includes information about numbers of customers engaged, associates
        trained and inventory levels. The best pa...
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Successfully Executing Demo Programs In Retail

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Successfully Executing Demo Programs In Retail

  1. 1. Successfully Executing Demo Programs at Retail Navigating the Retail Channel Series Premium Retail Sales & Services www.premiumretailsales.com 678-279-8252 September 2009 © copyright 2009 Premium Retail Sales, All rights reserved
  2. 2. It has become harder and harder to get a message across at retail with the fragmentation of media and the proliferation of brands and “me too” products. Even for companies with truly innovative products and unique selling features, it is hard to get that message across in today’s cluttered retail environment. And yet, studies from P&G and other top consumer goods manufacturers indicates that up to 70% of purchase decisions are made in the store. Demonstration programs are one of the most effective ways to turn store traffic into awareness, interest and purchase. Many manufacturers are intimidated by demos because they seem expensive and complicated to pull off but if done correctly they can drive significant long term sales. In this white paper we will provide the landscape of demo services, discuss best practices in choosing products to demo and executing demos and provide you with some tools to determine when demos might help and how to measure results. Types of demo work at retail Approaches to demos vary between retail channels and within retail channels. One approach is strictly focus on Product Demonstrations to sell unique products and show off features and benefits that consumers might overlook on the shelf. This type of work requires a person who is experienced and knowledgeable about the product category and outgoing with people. Product demonstrations work best with a product that has obvious features to show and can be used for eye catching demonstrations. Typical Consumer Product Demonstrations: The classics for Home Improvement would be pressure washers or power tools where the Associate can show how the product is used and highlight key features. But with proper props even less obviously demonstrable products can work. For instance, insulation does not particularly lend itself to a demo but in several stores that we have seen, a prop has been set up showing a mock up attic under a heat lamp with a thermometer in the mock up “house” below. One side has extra insulation and the other does not. The demo Associate can point out the difference in temperature on either side and walk a prospective customer through the expected cost savings and the steps to complete the project. Project Demonstrations: Demonstrations can also be used in Home Improvement to highlight how easy a particular job can be. Many new home owners and less handy folks will avoid certain projects because they assume it will be beyond their capability. A good product demo can create confidence by providing the steps and a list of tools and materials © copyright 2009 Premium Retail Sales, All rights reserved
  3. 3. needed. Tile setting is a classic example of this type of demo in Home Improvement. Demonstrations, when done well for the right kinds of products can lift sales anywhere for 30% to 500% and can create strong brand switching as well as an ongoing halo effect for sales for weeks as people who saw the demo but did not buy immediately come back to the store. Assisted Selling: Another approach is to combine product demonstrations with retail associate and managerial training. This type of selling requires Associates who are highly skilled with a background in retail sales and some expertise in the product category. Not only can they recite the featured products’ attributes but they can assist the customer in the category. Just as importantly, they can be an ambassador for the brand to the retail associates. Consumer based product demos alone can give a big boost to short term sales with several weeks of increased sales and can be enough on their own when word of mouth and general awareness kick in to sustain sales but assisted sales targets the retail sales associate and management just as strongly as the end user to provide a stronger long term lift. Assisted sales are ideal for new product / line launches, for brand and identity changeovers, surge selling seasons and share gain efforts. The lift can be similar to consumer based product demonstrations but typically has a larger and more long lasting halo effect on sales. Keys to success in retail demos In our experience there are 8 key steps to running a successful demo program regardless of the type.. Each element needs to be well thought out and executed to deliver maximum value. 1) Pick a product that works in a demo. Not all products were meant for demos or assisted sales. The approach works best for new products and/or products with demonstrable features and benefits that consumers are not likely to know. Demos are perfect for new product launches especially for new and innovative products. Generally it is best to stick with higher ticket items – over $100 baskets or products that are repurchased frequently. It is very hard to generate a return on investment for a product that is a $20, one-time purchase item. 2) Pick an effective partner. Your demo is only as good as the people in the store. If you skimp on talent your message will not come through. A few things to look for: Does your demo delivery partner have broad experience in demo work and specific experience with the channel in question? Do they do their work with W2 employees or is it contractors or sub-contracted out? Do they emphasize training? Do they have client references with ROI and sales lift results? How will they track results? A good partner should be able to answer all these questions. 3) Invest in training. A good partner will deliver great people but training needs to be a joint effort. A good delivery partner will have multiple ways of getting training to the field including phone, web © copyright 2009 Premium Retail Sales, All rights reserved
  4. 4. based and face-to-face training. The content needs to come from the manufacturer and built into a training program with the delivery partner. The actual training execution is best done by a combination of expert trainers from the delivery partner and the manufacturer. The field needs to hear the passion for the product that the manufacturer feels. The content experts need to be on the line to give confidence in the features and benefits and answer any technical questions. 4) Chose your timing and location in the store. The whole concept of demos is based on intercepting shopping customers and showing them a new solution. You need to start with identifying the target customer and when and where they shop. Your execution partner or the retailer should be able to provide this information. The next step is to plan your demo based on where you can greet customers, when they are most likely to have interest. You need to have some visibility to high traffic aisles but you want to avoid the very front of store, the cash register and the exit. In these areas consumers are very “task” oriented (on navigation, check out and going home respectively) and are not receptive to new ideas. Your best bet is high traffic, adjacent shopping areas. For instance, your blower demo might work best in outside garden on a weekend morning in spring. Or your contractor focused tool demo might work best near the contractor desk on Monday morning. 5) Make it fun and engaging. Demos are about theater. You need to capture and hold a shopper’s interest and turn awareness into purchase intent. A good script is essential but so are props and hands-on elements. Designing a demo is an opportunity to get creative and think about how to engage your prospective customers. Your delivery partner should have good ideas about what works best. 6) Don't forget to engage Associates. If your goal is longer term sales and not just a product introduction, then you have to factor associate training into your plan. Four to eight hours of demos on a weekend is only a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of hours that store associates are serving customers. Demos can effectively engage customers during peak hours but how do you keep the sales going? For assisted sales programs as much thought, training and tracking needs to go into associate engagement. 7) Require store level reporting. You need detailed information on each store. © copyright 2009 Premium Retail Sales, All rights reserved
  5. 5. That includes information about numbers of customers engaged, associates trained and inventory levels. The best partners will work with you to understand in-stock levels and dynamically adjust your demo calendar to put people where the product is. 8) Track Sales Lift and ROI. Your partner should be able to provide measures of short term and longer term sales lift along with return on investment. As shown above the proper way to do this is “pre vs post net of control”. It is critical to measure both short term and long term lift. The chart below shows that after a demo, more than half of eventual purchasers will purchase a week or more after the event. After each demo, your team along with the partner should conduct an “after action review” to understand what worked, what did not and what adjustments will be made in the future. While it is unrealistic to think that every Demo will produce a short term ROI, you can build a program with short term and long term positive ROI and with reviews and improvements and increasing rate of return. Selling your product through retail requires educating consumers and associates about the exciting and innovative aspects of your product offering at the point of sale. The best companies do this on an ongoing basis and use it as a point of differentiation from their competitors. © copyright 2009 Premium Retail Sales, All rights reserved

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