I think we can all agree that these days we are a little more leery of taking something a stranger hands us, right? So, how do you adjust for this at your demos? Do you use telepathy to tell your customers about your product? Do you yell to them from at least 6 feet away? These don’t really seem like they would have the desired effect on your target consumer. So, how can we pivot to ensure quality engagements?
It will be important to change some things in order to create an environment where your demo rep and target consumer feel comfortable, while still setting the stage for a successful and worthwhile demo.
Let’s start with the obvious –
1. Make sure your demo reps wear a mask. Most stores won’t allow you to sample without them, so you might as well! Better yet, own it. Brand the mask with something funny or cute if you can. Taking an extra measure to create warm and lasting engagements could be invaluable.
2. Create contactless educational materials. Instead of passing out leaflets/flyers, create something that’s easy to photograph. That way, customers are getting all of the information they need, but don’t have to physically take something from your demo rep. If your education material is double sided, make sure to have both sides featured on the table.
3. Put hand sanitizer on your table. Not only is this good practice where there are common, high-contact surfaces, it also creates a sense that you care about their health and safety (which you do of course!).
Now let’s move on to those organic cookies on the top shelf…
4. Don’t plan on serving food in an open container. Focus on anything you can sample that comes in single-serving containers. If that’s not an option, you’ll want to consider doing “dry demos” that focus on education/aisle support, merchandising, and brand awareness more than the actual samples.
5. Look at creating a physical shield between you and the customer. There are some fun options that can be customized, adding some vertical branding to your table. It will also create a feeling of safety that will allow for longer and more quality conversations between the demo rep and the target customer.
6. Is there an outdoor opportunity for sampling? One common theme we are hearing is that people feel more comfortable engaging with others in outdoor spaces. Maybe a pop-up tent in the parking lot? Maybe the grocery store has a small patio area? Check out what’s available to you!
7. Evaluate your talking points. Can you tweak them to be more relevant to today’s customer? Do you have an element of immune support? Maybe you make lunchtime easier for parents who are now working from home…with their kids? Something that’s easy for a picnic? Take a look to see if there’s anything that will speak to consumers today that might not have been a main selling point 6 months ago.
8. Are there off-site opportunities (not at the grocery store) in the community that involve smaller groups? Running groups? Camp Gladiator-type groups? Mom groups? These smaller groups are coming back sooner than large scale events or demo programs, so if time is of the essence, you’ll want to think about whether or not this makes sense.
Change can be hard, but it can also bring about new opportunities and ways to connect with customers. Plus, you don’t really have a choice…you’ve got to make some changes to stay in the game!
If you’d like help on creating a post-COVID demo strategy, shoot us a message!