The power of demos: Our 2020 favourites
We can genuinely say our brand ambassadors love their work. They’ve built a community out of the warehouses they work in, and miss connecting with colleagues and customers, challenging themselves to promote great Costco products, and (of course) trying the samples for themselves.
We encouraged Regional Manager Saz James to wax lyrical about some of the most popular Costco products in her warehouses over the last six months, and the great work that went into promoting them to members.
“Members love free food”
“Cooking demos go down an absolute treat, as you can imagine,” says Saz.
“Members love free. Members love food. So free food is what it’s all about at Costco. It’s a very fun place to be, especially if you’ve got young children. Kids are often the first to come and grab the free samples (with their parent’s permission), which then helps us with sales uplift!”
As an example, Yoshida’s Gourmet Sauces only require simple demonstrations to show the versatility and quality of the product.
“Our brand ambassadors simply lightly stir-fry a round of chicken, add the sauce, and serve it on a cocktail stick on greaseproof paper,” says Saz. “Absolutely fantastic.”
“It’s probably one of the best we ever do. Most of the members that sample it buy it. It’s very much an ongoing product. It’s a very well-known product in Costco because of its taste and versatility. You can use it with anything and everything. You can brush it onto hamburgers, brush it over steak, or even put it with seafood. People do repeatedly buy it.”
“Everyone’s life is at 100%”
For Saz, it’s the versatility and ease of use of Costco products that make them so popular with members, and she ensures that her brand ambassadors highlight this. This is especially the case when it comes to noting the benefits of the huge range of frozen foods or grabbable deli products that Costco’s busy members rely on to keep families happy and well-fed.
“The frozen chicken breasts from a brand called Crown Foods are an absolute hit with every member that walks through the door. Again, we simply cook them, serve the chicken on a stick and let the customer experience it for themselves.”
“Our brand ambassadors are always giving tips to the members – suggesting they pop a simple chicken breast, or some nuggets from PP Food, in a wrap on busy days with some salsa from the Costco deli department or a particular sweet and sour sauce. It’s down to our brand ambassadors to make sure customers enjoy their visit and get the best food and leave with ideas and inspiration for the products that they buy as a result of sampling.”
Our brand ambassadors make sure to connect with members, and will get to know parents and children alike through the communicative nature of their work. Normally, they’ll be sure to highlight which products are particularly useful for time-strapped adults.
“For working mums coming home at night that maybe don’t have a lot of time to prepare meals for kids, the deli department is fantastic. Pop something the microwave and the kids can be quickly fed before you drop one off to football and the other off to dancing.”
“It’s amazing the difference a demo makes”
While Costco products speak for themselves once customers become aware of them, it’s down to brand ambassadors to highlight the benefits of something new, or a brilliant product that has yet to get the attention it deserves.
“The Dettol Flash Mop is the best product. I bought one myself,” Saz admits. “But had they simply been put of the shelves then they could have easily been missed.”
Instead, the teams in Saz’s warehouses made sure to allow members an up-close and personal look at the power of this now-popular product.
“When it’s out there and a brand ambassador is actively demonstrating the product and engaging with members letting customers feel and try the mop and see how well it works, it’s a done deal. It was a phenomenal demonstration.”
The popularity of StylPro makeup brush cleaners also surprised Saz.
“This is another product that I – and many members – might have walked right past. But I’ve got an eighteen-year-old daughter who has every makeup brush under the sun. It looks like a small plastic fish bowl with different attachments that suit any type of brush, all cleverly packaged and easy to store together. We just chose an attachment, put the dirty makeup brush on the end of it and then you would just dunk it into the water. The contraption would just swivel it about and, in seconds, the brush was clean – and also dry.”
This product flew off the shelves, especially since it was being demonstrated close to Christmas.
“Without demonstrating that product, we probably wouldn’t have sold a quarter of what we did because it’s just on a shelf and nobody takes any notice of it, Saz admits. “If people can visualise it, see it working, get a feel for it, sales end up being absolutely second to none.”
“It helps if you give brand ambassadors something they like,” says Saz. “I was the DSM in Glasgow, and I would never dream of putting someone on something they didn’t like. If they really like, say, fish? They’d promote that. But if they much prefer non-food demos, then that would be their area. You’ve got to keep it real and give people what they’re good at.”
The feedback from members? “They’re always saying to our team, ‘Oh, you’re so good, I have to take one of these off you.’”
Ultimately, the power of demonstrations is boosted by the skill and enthusiasm of our brand ambassadors.
Take a look at our blog for more information about our work during lockdown.