Everything you ever needed to know about Super Demos
Are you looking to raise awareness of a new product or boost sales of a brand already listed by Costco? If so, consider a Super Demo.
Super Demos don’t just differ in size to other demo events, they’re designed to be extra special; to grab people’s interest, create a stir and get customers talking.
A Super Demo can last for a week or longer. It can be a single event or consist of a series of demos held simultaneously across multiple Costco warehouses. The defining characteristic is the scale of the event.
Over the years we’ve helped a hugely diverse range of brands organise Super Demos. It’s hard to choose which are our favourites, but we’ve narrowed down the choice and you can read about them here – ‘Our top three Super Demos – and why they did so well’.
It follows that in comparison to other types of demos, Super Demos require extensive planning, a larger budget and more staff to deliver the event. Yet, done well, these events pay fantastic dividends in terms of increased sales.
In this guide, we’ll explain how to approach a Super Demo and make the most of a great opportunity to launch your product or brand into the limelight.
Staging a Super Demo – the logistics
The success of any demo largely comes down to the amount of preparation that goes into it: the more thorough the planning process – the easier the execution. Here’s an overview of the very first steps in the process
- Agreeing the fundamentals – this covers things like concepts, locations, dates, design and point of sale elements such as demo units, uniforms, imagery and promotional items.
- Identifying KPIs – these lay down what you want to achieve from the Super Demos, such as the number of sales so that the whole team is clear on the objectives.
- Costing the event – taking the information agreed in steps 1 & 2, we provide you with a detailed quote. Once you’re satisfied with this, the demo can be booked, and detailed planning can start.
- Collaboration with Costco – we pass the visuals and additional details on to the Costco warehouse managers to review. Once these are signed off, they are passed on to our specialist onsite product demo team.
- Booking brand ambassadors and arranging training – we also arrange for point of sale and promotional materials to be produced. These, along with the product, are shipped to each location.
- Kick off – the Super Demo starts – the most exciting part with WDS looking after all the event logistics.
- Debriefing – at the end of the Super Demo, we collect information from each site and report back on your defined KPIs – number of visitors, conversion rate, sales…
Our article ‘How we run a Super Demo’ walks you through this process in further detail and explains how we’re here to help you at every stage.
What is the best time to hold a Super Demo?
A product demo can be held at any time of the year, but you’ll achieve better results if it’s aligned with peaks in your product’s use. People are unlikely to want to buy a hosepipe in winter, for instance.
It’s also important to take into consideration store footfall as it’s better to hold demos when warehouses are busy. This will vary for each store and we can advise you on this, but holidays like Christmas and the summer break are often busy times for stores. See how we created a perfectly timed Super Demo for Ferrero Rocher.
Timing your Super Demo with a major event can also boost visitor numbers and sales. Find out how we created a Wimbledon-themed Super Demo for Champagne brand Lanson.
Organising a Super Demo can take between six to eight weeks, so it’s important to build this lead-up time into your plan.
Key considerations for staging the perfect Super Demo
An essential part of a Super Demo is the brand ambassador team. They are the face of your brand and must be able to connect with the audience and build rapport quickly. They also have to be great communicators and be confident in addressing a crowd.
“An essential part of a Super Demo is the brand ambassador team”
As well as having a thorough recruitment process in place, we also provide in-depth training. This ensures that each of our brand ambassadors is equipped with the skills and tools to represent your brand the best they can.
We train our ambassadors in one of three ways:
1. Face-to-face training
With this option, training is provided by the brand themselves. This typically involves our brand ambassadors spending a day on-site for intensive training.
We feel this is the best form of training as the brand ambassadors get to handle the product and understand from you how it’s meant to be used. It’s also a great opportunity for you to talk about the history of your brand, what makes your product unique and why it’s better than your competitors.
2. In-house training
This is delivered through our acclaimed Fizz Academy programme. Brand owners are invited to attend our regional meetings, where they meet with our Demo Services Managers (DSMs) – the people responsible for the recruitment and management of the teams who demonstrate in the Costco warehouses.
Brand owners can explain directly to our DSMs what their goals are for the demo, as well as the key KPIs. This information is then passed on to the brand ambassadors either on-site or through our bespoke on-site training.
3. Online training video
An incredibly flexible option, our online training video is ideal for training a large group of brand ambassadors at once. The entire team can be briefed on what their role is and the main points you want to get across in the product demo, or sampling can be explained.
Example scripts and scenarios can also be shared with the brand ambassadors. Plus, the video can provide information on how on the demo unit or stand should be setup and run, as well as other practical information.
In addition to the training video, a hard copy of the briefing is given to each brand ambassador so they can refer back to it if needed.
“Our online training video is ideal for training a large group of brand ambassadors at once”
Choosing which training process is right for your Super Demo depends on the product and the timescale available. ‘How to train and prep staff for a Super Demo’ gives examples of how brands have trained their brand ambassadors in preparation for their Super Demos.
Costco is committed to giving every shopper an exceptional in-store experience. They expect every vendor who wishes to host demos in their warehouses to hold the same belief.
At the start of the financial year (September for Costco), you’ll agree with Costco how many demos you’ll host. This number is dependent on the size of your business as well as the number of products involved.
Costco requires all vendors to work to its operational requirements for design, training, setup and schedules. You must adhere to a standard framework for health, safety and risk.
Our article, Working in line with Costco’ discusses further what you need to consider when putting on a Super Demo with Costco.
Evaluating your Super Demo
Super Demos are popular because they give consumers the opportunity to handle your product, see it in use and hear how their life will be better with your product in it.
Yet, hosting a Super Demo is a big commitment for any brand and involves a substantial monetary outlay. So, you’ll want to ensure that it’s going to be ‘worthwhile’ – but what does this mean?
Worthwhile means getting a return on your investment – getting more back than what you paid out. So, how is this measured?
Most brands measure this on sales – comparing sales made on the demo day to sales made on the same day the week before the demo.
“Super Demos give consumers the opportunity to handle your product, see it in use and hear how their life will be better with your product in it”
It’s important to point out that, depending on the product, the uplift in sales may not always happen. For low priced products you can expect people to either buy on the day or not at all.
A different approach is needed to determine if the Super Demo has increased sales for higher-priced products with a longer decision-making time. This type of product doesn’t tend to be an impulse buy. Instead, the demo piques the buyers’ interest and they may go home and research it further. Then the next time the demo happens, they’re in a better place to make a purchase.
In this case, you’ll need to identify key buying times and plan events to encourage sales throughout the year. You must track sales throughout the year and follow up with qualitative research to find out what influenced your customers’ buying decisions.
Going into a Super Demo, please remember that you may not see your sales jump immediately. But, be reassured that our research shows that Super Demos do have a positive impact on sales – even for higher-priced products that have a more complex decision-making process. Take a look at ‘How to measure your Super Demo success’ for ideas on how to evaluate your Super Demo.
Like most retailers, Costco only shares sales data from the demo days with us. For more detailed stats, you’ll need to speak with your Costco buyer. This means that while we can advise you on the operational aspects, you’ll have to set your own expectations for the Super Demo, based on your own sales figures and projections. Also, accurately measuring ROI from the Super Demo relies on you tracking sales in the mid to long term.
Who is WDS?
WDS stands for ‘Warehouse Demo Services’, a name we chose as it represents the work we do with Costco.
When we started, over thirty years ago, there were very few businesses that offered product demos or sampling. Our founders foresaw the huge potential these services could offer both retailers and brands and set about building the business.
As an established business in the UK market, we were approached by Costco to help them organise product demos for their first UK warehouse in Thurrock, Essex.
These demos were so successful that Costco invited us to be their preferred product demo supplier. There was one condition – we were asked to create a separate brand to solely focus on the work we did for Costco – this was the start of WDS.
Thirty years on and our relationship with Costco continues to blossom and we’ve become more than suppliers: we see ourselves as trusted partners. Each year we help deliver over 75,000 product sampling events and demonstrations to Costco warehouses across the UK. That’s an impressive figure and something we’re incredibly proud of. For the full story of our relationship with WDS, take a look at our blog post ‘Who are WDS and what is their relationship with Costco’.
Super Demos are designed to be high-impact, theatrical and attention-grabbing. They’re great at drawing consumers in and making them feel part of the experience, which makes them more open to purchasing on the day.
For people who aren’t quite ready to buy then and there, they’ll come away from the Super Demo with a piqued interest in the product – meaning they may be ready to buy some time in the future.
Brands we’ve worked with on Super Demos are frequently amazed by the results delivered for their business – take a look at the testimonial given by Ferrero. If you’re launching a new product, a well-executed Super Demo can help clinch success.
For even more detail about how to plan, implement and evaluate your Super Demo – download our e-book – Everything you ever needed to know about WDS Super Demos.