Why Do Costco Roadshows? … and how to knock them out of the park 

If your products are in Costco, you know velocity matters. If you want to stay on the shelves, your product needs to move…fast. You’ve got to consistently outpace your competition or risk losing your coveted spot. So, how do you move your products? We recommend Costco roadshows. 

Why Do Costco Roadshows?   …and how to knock them out of the park  Costco roadshows combine the benefits of experiential marketing events and retail demos. You can usually secure a 10’x10’ footprint in the warehouse and, like an event, you can brand it with signage and even add an element of engagement. Photo op anyone? It’s a unique opportunity to take your product off the shelf and place it front and center in a branded, memorable experience.  

Most brands use their space for product sampling – everything from simple samples of their bars to fresh baked brownies to a warm tikka masala over rice. These culinary experiences help Costco members picture the usage occasions for your product – is it a snack, a dessert, or a dinner?  

After allowing members to taste the product and helping them understand where it fits into their schedule, you can now encourage members to make a purchase on-site, one of the key advantages of retail demos. But at Costco, these sales are supersized thanks to their wholesale model. In addition to selling larger quantities during the roadshow, as consumers work these products into their daily habits, you’re more likely to see repeat purchases than the purchase of a single-serve unit.  

Why Do Costco Roadshows?   …and how to knock them out of the park  In our Costco roadshow experience, our brands usually see 500+% lift the week of their roadshow, with a lasting lift after the initial week. We feel the numbers speak for themselves. But not every roadshow delivers the same results. In order to make the most of your roadshow investment, we recommend following the steps below! 

 1. Ensure sufficient product. 

When you book a roadshow, you may think the warehouses on the schedule would bring in enough product for you to sample and sell. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. We recommend working directly with the warehouses to ensure there’s enough product on-site for you to reach your sales goals. 

2. Create an experience. 

Stand out from the other standard product samples by making your space an experience. Test a new pillow by lying down on a bed (definitely an experience in a Costco setting!). Demonstrate your easy-to-make espresso machine by allowing members to make their own custom lattes. Getting the member involved in the activation will help them remember your brand. 

Why Do Costco Roadshows?   …and how to knock them out of the park  3. Brand effectively. 

Use your tent, table, and signage to identify your brand and point out the key differences between your brand and the competition. To avoid text overload, let the ambiance speak for you as well. If you’re a more sustainable option, incorporate some greenery into your space. Is your product made with fresh fruits and veggies? How about adding some fresh produce to your display? 

4. Book energetic staff. 

Your product may be amazing, but if your staff isn’t, you will be underwhelmed with your results. Your staff should energetically invite members to your space and work to connect with each of them individually. When they are sharing your key talking points, it should feel natural, not “salesy.” Be sure you have enough staff to allow your team meal breaks and moments to recharge. Your staff will be more energetic if they have a chance to sit down here and there.  

5. Note key learnings. 

Most customers commit to a series of Costco Roadshows. Your 10th roadshow should be better than your first. After each event, note what worked well and what didn’t. Do you need to precut servings to keep up with the traffic at peak times of day? Would adding lighting to your booth help it stand out? Should you sample more flavor options? By building on your key learnings, the members’ experiences with your brand, and your sales, will improve with each show.   

For most brands who have secured a spot in Costco, it’s a must-win retailer. Costco roadshows offer a unique opportunity for both brand building and immediate sales.  

Have you ever done a Costco roadshow? What key learnings can you share? 


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