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Do in store demonstrations and tastings work for new FMCG brands?

Chris Coffey, Managing Director, The IN Group

You have successfully managed to negotiate your new FMCG product onto the shelves of the key supermarket chains. This is quite an accomplishment!

However, your work (and investment) is only just starting. You now need to drive sales in the stores to keep your product there. Don’t delay, or you’ll be replaced with the next new product in line.

For a product that has taste as a key attribute, in store demonstrations, or tastings, can be an extremely effective way to drive sales – ideally as part of a broader advertising campaign.

For those without experience in this area, putting together a grocery demonstration campaign can be a daunting task. If not implemented well it can quickly go through your money without delivering results.

Here are a few questions I often get asked on this topic and my answers.   

Q. Will demonstrations work for my product?

A. If you have done your research and your product has a taste that appeals to your target consumer, and the price is right, then YES a demonstration campaign can drive your sales.

I say ‘can’, because there are many elements you need to get right to make it effective. For example, you need to select the right stores for your demonstrations and book the right time and day so you can get plenty of people to trial. You need to have a stand that attracts customers and have someone on the stand that knows your product and can sell.

Q. How many demonstrations do I need to do?

A. As many as you can afford.  If your budget is limited then start with your best stores. Your best stores are those that give you high access to the people most likely to buy your product (as you have found out in your research) and have agreed to have plenty of your product in a good position on their shelves. Once you are generating good sales in those stores you can start to broaden out to other stores.

Q How many sales can I expect from a demonstration?

This varies enormously by product, price and category. For a confectionary product being demonstrated in a busy store you might get 100 sales over a 3-4 hour period. For a beauty product you might only get 6 sales. Don’t forget that if the demonstrations are done well you will also get ongoing new sales following the demonstration. Make sure you analyse the long term results of the demonstrations carefully to make sure they are delivering the increase in sales you need.

Q. When do I do the demonstrations?

A. As soon as your product is on shelf.

Q. Can I do the demonstrations myself?

A. Yes, you can. You are likely to have great knowledge about your product and be very passionate about it making you an ideal sales person. However, keep in mind that there is a lot you will need to learn about the processes and rules you need to follow to run demonstrations in stores and they are time consuming, so you may prefer to delegate them out to an agency with expertise in this area. 

Q. How much does it cost?

A. If you use an agency you can expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $350 per demonstration depending on what is included in your demonstrations, how much food preparation is needed and how many demonstrations you do. See our white paper on this topic for more details. An agency can do all your artwork, uniforms, props and store liaison as well as provide sales staff.

Q. Does my table or stand need to be branded.

A. YES! Your demonstration set-up tells customers a lot about your brand and your company. Whether you brand is professional and successful. What makes your brand different. How to recognise the packaging. Who the product is suitable for. Remember, many people will see your stand but not come up to try the product. Don’t miss the opportunity for all these people to learn something about your brand. I liken having an unbranded stand to having a black and white plain type ad in a magazine – nobody notices it!

If you have more questions about in store demonstrations feel free to give me a call at The IN Group  - Chris Coffey, 021 552 390. 

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