Are product demonstrations effective? Providing samples and product demonstrations are a great way to interact with customers and build relationships. It also makes customers more comfortable with new products, increasing their willingness to buy.

Are product demonstrations effective?

Are product demonstrations effective? Studies say yes, they are. Not only do sales increase on the day of the sampling – as much as 177% on that day according to one study – but they keep rising by more than 50% as long as 20 weeks after the demonstration. But it takes more than throwing cheese cubes on a tray to realize dollars from demos. Here are some tips for ensuring profitable and impactful product demonstrations.

1. Engage the customer.

It’s important to build a connection between the customer and the product; help them relate to what is being sold. Seeing the product in action helps reinforce and validate the promises made about that product. Don’t just talk about the product, encourage two-way communication with the customer by asking them questions and involving them in the conversation. Allow customers to touch, hold, and use (taste) the product, engaging all the senses.

2. Find your angle.

What makes your product better than the competition? Really focus on those attributes in the demonstration to get the “wow” effect. Design a creative and fun way to demo an “ordinary” product in a new light.  

3. Know your audience and focus on them.

Address a problem or concern that drives the consumer to your product to catch their attention and make your product a need instead of a want. Product demonstrations are a great time to interact with customers and build relationships.  

4. Keep it short and simple.

Be concise with your presentation; use language everyone can understand and avoid jargon. Prepare a script ahead of time to make sure you stay on point and cover all the highlights of the product. This isn’t the time for a lengthy dissertation, but more an elevator speech that hits the high points of a product.

5. Practice, practice, practice.

Go over the demonstration multiple times until you know it backward and forward. This will make it easier to adapt on the fly (if necessary) and help you identify any weaknesses ahead of time. Test any equipment or materials that will be used to avoid any malfunctions that can distract from the demonstration.  

6. Review inventory levels.

Make sure that you have plenty of the demo product on hand. You don’t want to run out of a product that customers are excited to try.  

7. Hire outside help.

If your staff is already stretched thin, it’s unlikely they will have the time or energy to conduct product demonstrations effective enough to impact business. Bring in temporary help whose sole focus is demonstrating that product. They won’t be distracted by other duties and can be quickly trained on the product. If they are demonstrating a food item, make sure they know the ingredients and provide them with some recipe suggestions that can be shared with customers. Gather a list of frequently asked questions so they can be well informed.  

8. Schedule demonstrations during peak hours.

To get the most from the demo, you want to have the biggest audience possible. You’ll engage with more customers, get more feedback, and increase the likelihood of making sales.  

9. Tie in a promotion.

Offer a special promotion or coupon for the products you are demonstrating or sampling. This increases the chances that they will purchase the product, especially if the offer is for a limited time. Or consider a souvenir, like a brochure, magnet or bottle opener. The goal is for the customer to continue thinking about your product after the demonstration.

10. Be selective with the products.

Straightforward, simple items probably don’t need a product demonstration because they speak for themselves. Customers can easily figure out how to use them or in the case of food, have an idea of what they taste like. It makes more sense to demo food items with unique or unusual flavors and non-food products with technical or less obvious attributes. You can increase customers’ trust in a product and give them confidence to buy.   

No matter the product you are demonstrating or sampling, be sure to keep health and safety in mind for your staff and customers. The requirements will depend on the product and your area. Food may need to be pre-packaged, kept at a certain temperature, or distributed in a specific way (checking IDs for liquor). Be sure to know the rules at your location and for your product. 

Track the performance of your demonstration to gain insight into what worked or didn’t work. Take photos of the demonstration and keep track of how long it lasted, how many samples were distributed, along with sales before and after the demonstration.  

Product demonstrations are a great way to introduce a product to customers and increase sales. Now that you can answer the question, “are product demonstrations effective?” you can get started on planning your own. Following these guidelines will help you maximize your face-to-face showcase. If you need assistance with staffing your product demonstration, don’t hesitate to reach out to MarketStaff. We can provide all the employees you need – from the factory to the floor – to be successful.