How to Leverage Your Demo Program at Your Next Category Review Meeting

We are going to be (perhaps too) transparent. We’ve done thousands of demos all over the country. We’ve worked with health and fitness brands of all kinds – everything from crackers to protein powders to chicken-less chicken. Across every program, we have seen sales increase due to demos. But we have never seen a program consistently produce enough profit per demo to cover our demo fees.

How to Leverage Your Demo Program at Your Next Category Review Meeting Your question might be – then why do brands do demos at all? It’s because it’s about so much more than the day of the demo. In addition to getting a sustained lift from repeat customers, you can leverage your product sampling program to gain favor with your retailers. After all, retailers know product sampling increases sales. They all want you to do retail demos, so take this opportunity to create a win-win-win for your brand, your customers, and your retailer.

Whether you’re looking for increased exposure, shelf space, or distribution, these tips will help you make the most of your retail demo program investment!

1. Have a strong demo plan and discuss this with your buyer when selling in new products.

It’s hard to get new brands and line extensions on the shelf. The retailers have a limited amount of space in the planogram, and you have to make a strong case that your product(s) deserve a spot! In addition to your product’s key selling points, showcase your plan to support these products through product sampling to help seal the deal. The retailer wants to know you are committed to your product’s success.

How to Leverage Your Demo Program at Your Next Category Review Meeting 2. Ask for off-shelf space placements.

Are you a protein brand that many mix into smoothies? Ask for a cross-merchandising opportunity near the bananas. Are you a healthier-for-you cracker? How about a cheater shelf near the organic cheeses? Off -shelf placements can help customers who weren’t looking for your product to encounter it in other parts of the store.

How to Leverage Your Demo Program at Your Next Category Review Meeting 3. Ask for an additional facing of your best-selling product.

The more facings you have on the shelf, the more products you will sell. When committing to a demo program for a line extension, go ahead and sample your best-selling SKU as well, if it makes sense. That way, you can explain that while you are committed to the success of the new item, the budget for this launch can help lift your other SKUs as well. This gives you an opportunity to ask for the double facing of your best seller(s).

4. Create a custom event with the retailer and ask them to promote it on their social media.

This idea will be tough with major retail chains, such as Whole Foods Market and Sprouts, but it works well with smaller, regional chains and independent stores. If you level up your demo with a giveaway or a free breakfast, the store may be willing to promote your brand and event to their followers, introducing you to thousands of potential new customers.

Retail demo programs are a great way to gain new customers, but there’s more to gain than just the sales on the day of the demo. The tips above will help you boost sales before, during, and after your demo!

Not sure you’re ready to market your demo program? Let us help you formulate a plan!


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