How In-Store Demos Are Changing

Bringing back demos to the sales floor is essential for complex brands to gain market share. This is particularly important for health and wellness-based brands who have skyrocketing demand in the face of the pandemic, but are unable to effectively differentiate themselves in a limited eCommerce format.

Will they even still be called demos and how can we work safely to bring them back? Is there a way to make the “new” style of “demo” more successful than the old, table-based format?

Turns out the answer is 100% yes. Demos are turning into interactive, store-wide sampling initiatives.

Our customer Xlear had originally planned to pursue demo-related KPIs for their programs with ThirdChannel. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our teams are trying a much more mobile, non-location restricting “sampling system.” Sampling system you say? Tell me more!

Xlear requires education to consumers and associates to understand the power of its main ingredient, xylitol. We have been partnering with Xlear for about 2 years now, doing demos in the oversaturated supplements aisle. Xlear has had tremendous success through associate and consumer education, especially in small specialty stores that are aisles upon aisles of wellness brands. But where does that leave Xlear in light of COVID safety protocols?

Once teams were allowed back in stores, Xlear ditched the table and turned mobile - handing out these pre-packaged samples and engaging customers on a one-to-one basis. This works for two reasons:

  • Pre-packaged samples meet health and safety requirements and can be handed out in a way that easily meets 6-foot distancing requirements
  • No table means that customers do not congregate in one area

But what is most interesting is that Xlear is finding this type of demo to be MORE successful than a table-basis, static demo approach (think 5x more sales). Teams have more visibility, more interactions (and better) interactions in the allotted time and the competitive advantage of being able to market right in front of a competitor display that has no brand rep to vouch for them.

As an industry, health and nutrition has focused heavily on innovation these past few years within product offerings. In light of recent events, and in light of all the new innovative products available to consumers, brands should take a step in also providing innovative in-store solutions. A change in demos was something that industry has needed all along but has really been kickstarted with the COVID pandemic.

Let’s start focusing on creating a new mindset among consumers and ourselves. Demos are not for “free food”, demos are to help you the brand, bring a positive change through your products to a consumer. At ThirdChannel are noticing that with states that have been reopened for a while, consumers are very comfortable with approaching representatives to ask them about the brand on their t-shirt or to simply ask them for a coupon. Let’s make interactions like these the new priority - this is the new in-store demo.

Published by Amy Dampier, VP Customer Success July 24, 2020
Amy Dampier, VP Customer Success