Planning Costco’s 2020 festive demos

Planning Costco’s 2020 festive demos

Every year, without fail, we see incredible results from product demos at Christmas time. It’s a time of year when consumer spending is high, and when brands are looking for exciting ways to cut through the marketing noise. Getting their products directly into consumers’ hands is a great way of doing just that. 

Of course, this year is looking a little different to the norm. We have returned to product demos in Costco warehouses, much to the delight of vendors, of Costco members and, of course, of our own brand ambassadors. We’re keen to ensure that you, the vendors, make the most out of Costco demos during the festive period – so read on to find out what differences there will be, how we’re ensuring that everyone remains safe, and our top tips for making the most of Christmas sampling and demo campaigns. 


How are festive demos different? 

Costco warehouses look very different during the festive period. Shelves are laden with chocolates, alcohol and Italian Christmas biscuits. Demo stands are decked out with Christmas campaign-branded table wraps, our brand ambassadors will sometimes wear different uniforms that reflect both the season and the brand, point of sale material will change. 

“Our Christmas activity takes far more organisation.”

But it’s not just the look of the warehouses that’s different at this time of year – it’s the planning that goes into each campaign, too. While we tend to work week-by-week with our regular, day-to-day demos, our Christmas activity takes far more organisation. Already, in mid-October, we’re booking in particular brands because they need specific days for their products to be demonstrated. 

Having this amount of notice allows us to organise everything that needs to be done to support a Christmas demonstration. This includes things like finalising the demo brief with the vendors, arranging brand ambassador uniforms, and organising any specific training that is needed around new or different products.

Of course, many of these things will continue to happen during 2020’s festive demos. However, new COVID-19 protocols mean that many of the things we normally do – handing out leaflets, using heavily customised demo stands and more – simply can’t happen. Things will be different, that’s for sure – but we’re committed to making this year’s demos sparkle and wow customers in true Costco style. 


How will 2020 festive demos differ?

Throughout COVID-19, we’ve been in regular contact with both Costco and vendors to share our plans for this year’s demo activity. This includes the production of a guide for vendors detailing how Costco demos now work, as well as comms to update with the latest news. 

Christmas sampling campaigns – as our work with brands like Ferrero Rocher shows – can lead to an enormous uplift in sales units and revenue. They allow a huge number of Costco members to try a product for themselves, giving them a tangible, real experience of the product that helps significantly with conversion.

Ferrero Rocher WDS Costco

This year, with COVID-related changes in place (which obviously include changes to our stands, PPE for our brand ambassadors and increased measures around sanitisation), each campaign will see fewer people sampled. However, there are benefits to the 2020 approach. Vendors will have lower product costs for each campaign (but still increased in-store visibility), and our brand ambassadors will have the time to speak one-on-one with every member who approaches the stand, increasing the potential for conversion. 

For some vendors, we are also expecting the messaging of this year’s Christmas campaigns to change. Certain products are regular fixtures in the Christmas calendar – things like hair removal products and perfumes, which are often promoted by highlighting how great they are for the Christmas party season. 

While it’s unlikely that large-scale Christmas parties will be happening this year, that’s not to say these products can’t be promoted effectively. Instead, we’re expecting vendors to run with the fact that it has been a tough year for almost everyone, and these products can help boost members’ confidence, allow members to treat themselves and their families, and prepare them for the return of some kind of normality next year. 


Tis the season to be jolly

COVID-19 may have changed the way we have to run product demonstrations and sampling campaigns, but that doesn’t mean Christmas is cancelled – far from it. With our new protocols in place, demos are still going ahead, and we’re currently planning demo activity with a number of vendors in a variety of categories for November and December. Our brand ambassadors are incredibly adaptable and are great at reading members to tailor their approach: with the extra time that our demo procedures will allow with each member who approaches the demo stand, we’re expecting conversions to be incredibly high. 

To learn more about how our brand ambassadors are working right now, visit our blog.