What are our brand ambassadors missing most about in-store demos?

Jean Lowe, Deputy Demo Service Manager for WDS at Costco in Haydock

The social distancing measures introduced to combat the spread of Covid-19 have rendered in-store demos impossible. These demos are usually carried out by our brilliant brand ambassadors, who have stepped up to support Costco during this crisis alongside other members of WDS and Costco staff. 

While we appreciate their commitment and flexibility, we know that all our staff will be missing product sampling. We caught up with three of our brand ambassadors to discuss their favourite parts of the job and just what it is they can’t wait to get back to. 

“We’re missing each other”

“We’re missing each other more than anything”, says Amy Herbert, a brand ambassador for our Stevenage team. “Many of us are on furlough, like a lot of people throughout the country. So not having our usual team – or family, if you like – has been tough.” 

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“We’re all good at different types of demos, so it will be good to get back and refresh some of the ones we all love.” 

Wendy Ring, a brand ambassador for our Southampton team, misses her colleagues, their usual routine, and bouncing ideas off each other.

“I like to have a little banter with them all”, she says. “They’re such a lovely bunch of people, and it will just be great to get back to that.”

“I like my routine. You get on the demo, agree to maybe meet at lunchtime to chat about how things are going, and you’re off! It’s nice to have that conversation about how other people are getting on as well. If you’re struggling a bit, your colleagues who have worked for WDS for longer will give you a bit of advice.” 

“There’s a massive social part of this job”

“It will be nice for the members to be able to get back to normal too”, says Amy. 

“We have a lot of regulars at our warehouse – some older couples and families that come in often, and who we really enjoy talking to. We haven’t seen a lot of them recently due to the circumstances. It will be nice to connect with some of our regular customers in a sociable way again.” 

Claire Gregg, one of our brand ambassadors based in Sunbury, agrees. 

“In our warehouse, you see a lot of the same faces quite regularly”, she explains. “Some of our brand ambassadors have been there for four or five years. And they see the same members stop by every week. These people will always come and buy something, and stop and talk.

“There’s a massive social part of this job that a lot of us enjoy more than anything”, Amy adds. “You get to chat about the food we’re offering, what you can eat with it – even what we, the brand ambassadors, are having for dinner.”

“We love competition in our warehouse”

Recently promoted to assistant supervisor, Claire misses the responsibility that comes with her day-to-day role. 

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“I get there earlier in the morning, set up all the tables and things”, she says. “I miss doing that, checking out the products beforehand. I also miss giving people their briefs for the next day – watching them all get excited about what they are going to be demonstrating, seeing them go home to research everything, then coming back and selling this product so, so well. The team tends to be very passionate, and they share that excitement with other people.” 

“I just miss demos in general”, she says. “It’s always such a good feeling. Members are happy to get some free samples. It’s also a good way to get kids to try new things. I love it when parents come round and give something to their children, who might not have ever tried a vegetable before, for instance!” 

“People are looking at ways we can get started – safely – as soon as possible and we’re throwing ideas around as well. As are the Costco guys – throwing around ideas and saying they can’t wait to have us back.” 

“It will be nice to have some sales again as well. We love competition in our warehouse!”

“It felt like we were making a difference to the actual warehouse as well”, Claire adds. “You get an energising, motivational feeling when you see someone walking around with the item that you are selling in their trolley. You know the uplift on that product is going to be fantastic – it’s going to drive sales for Costco and vendors and people are going to enjoy the product.” 

This friendly sense of competition has made its way to Wendy and the Southampton team, too. 

“I like to get high scores,” she says. “You want to sell more than the previous person has. I love it.”

“I’m excited to try the samples again!”

Costco is committed to high-quality products, and we support them with strategic, well thought out demos that convince people – even our brand ambassadors – to give anything a go. Especially when it comes to food. 

“A lot of the food that I buy comes from Costco”, says Wendy. “If I hadn’t tried some of it in demos I would never have picked it up in the first place.” 

“Myself and my deputy manager are both particularly fussy eaters”, says Amy. “So I’ve tried a lot of things I would never have tried if I didn’t work in sampling. As supervisors and managers, we do have the opportunity to push the team more because I personally want to know everything about the product before I eat it.”

“I’m excited to try the samples again! That’s certainly a massive plus for the job.”

Thanks to Amy, Claire and Wendy for their time, plus all the WDS staff for their hard work and understanding during this difficult time. We look forward to getting our sampling services back up and running at Costco as soon as is safe for members and staff alike. 

Take a look at our blog for more information about our work during the lockdown.