How to run a super demo: working in line with Costco

How to run a super demo: working in line with Costco

Costco has high customer service standards, and commits to providing customers with positive and memorable experiences of its warehouses. It follows that Costco expects vendors to stage quality demos: third parties can’t let the side down.

So what exactly does Costco expect from vendors when it comes to demos? In this article, we’ll look at the general demands that Costco makes of its suppliers when it comes to staging a demo – whether a special demo or not. We’ll look at all the nitty-gritty details. For example: How many demos does Costco expect you to run, and in how many warehouses? And how do we work with brands to ensure they fulfil Costco’s demo requirements?

There’s a two-part answer to these questions. Firstly, there are general commitments to in-store marketing with Costco, which you’ll need to discuss and agree with your Costco buyer. Then come the demo-specific commitments: the special requirements in terms of logistics and standards that are vital to pulling off super demo success.


Your marketing commitments as a Costco partner

Costco’s fiscal year starts in September. Before the year starts, Costco will negotiate with each vendor (including you) to establish how and when to best promote their products. Demos are one part of a vendor’s commitment to support their products in partnership with Costco: the others include endcap displays (at the end of an aisle), freestanding quad (pallet) displays and warehouse offers like coupons and discounts.

While discussing this commitment you’ll also work out how many demos are required across the next twelve months. Costco measures its demo commitments as “rounds” – one “round” is a demo in each of Costco’s 29 stores, taking place on the same day.

The number of demos you need will depend on the size of your business and brand, as well as the number of products involved. A large brand might need to stage ten rounds in one year, whilst a smaller brand might only need one or two. What doesn’t change is the standard of demo required. All brands, big or small, have to abide by the same quality control, whether their demos are single, dual… or super.


Costco’s demo quality standards

All Costco demos need to fit in with an array of operational requirements for design, training, setup and warehouse delivery schedules. If you need a certain delivery for a demo, this needs to be booked and delivered at a certain time. The Costco warehouses are simply too busy to allow for delays or ad hoc arrangements.

Demos must adhere to a framework of standards for health, safety and risk too. Costco takes its Food Standards Agency status seriously, especially since the announcement of “Natasha’s Law” — the requirement for all potential allergens in a foodstuff to be disclosed to all potential customers. Natasha’s Law comes into force in summer 2021 and WDS is already changing its procedures to ensure we meet these new requirements regarding the sampling of foods containing allergens.

These requirements are a lot to take in. The good news is, you’re not alone. WDS have worked with Costco for over 25 years, ever since they launched in the UK. We’ve built up an in-depth understanding of the way in which Costco works so we understand how to meet and exceed its quality requirements. We can help you understand what Costco wants from you in terms of scheduling, logistics, safety and quality, and make sure your demo is doing everything it needs to and more.

We’re almost at the end of the super demo series — there’s one thing left to learn. When all’s said and done, what does a successful super demo look like? How do you tell — and prove — it’s performed?

What makes a WDS super demo so super?