Shopper Marketing

Are face-to-face product demonstrations still a powerful shopper marketing weapon?

Posted on 18th November, 20205 min read

Rightly, and even more so due to the global pandemic, brands are looking at a host of digital options to market their products to consumers and make connections. But don’t discount the power of people and importance of product demonstrations yet, just look at influencers!

Digital influencers are the equivalent of face-to-face product demonstrators or brand advocates. Whilst influencers own the digital space & have an abundance of followers ready to try out the latest widget, their limitations are lack of personalised interactions and that they speak to a very targeted audience. Often, that audience may not even need or benefit from a purchase.

Face-to-face product demonstration and experiential staff are trained in the art of qualification, identifying shopper needs via Customer Needs Analysis (CNA), and endeavour to match lifestyle profiles of the shopper to the features and benefits of the products. Campaigns deliver demonstrable return on investment (ROI) if they are activated correctly. Other benefits of product demonstration can include a lifetime of repeated brand purchases, word of mouth advocacy, and a level of customer satisfaction coveted from their competition.

Safety, cleanliness, and social awareness now play a huge part of these experiential campaigns. Most industry experts concur that nothing will be the same again. However, there’s an agreement that the future of demonstrations post-Covid-19 will depend even more heavily on the use of category insights and data when planning.  Face-to-face demonstrations are still relevant in the sales strategy for any supplier looking to convert shoppers at the point of purchase, and those using insights and technology will get ahead of their competition faster.

Make it personal, make it immersive, and leave a lasting impression via a share mechanic

A far cry from days of old where shopper engagement set designs were bland and you gave away a free premium (small branded gift) to your audience, today’s shopper needs a sharable moment; to be immersed in the feeling or moment. The demonstration needs to add value to their life via creating efficiencies or providing a solution to everyday challenges, and more importantly, personalise it so they will feel special.

For brands, key objectives are mostly centred around market share growth, market penetration for NPD, and as always revenue generation. Unique, by-store and activation location data and insights relating to in-store demonstrations and events show that there are three measurable outcomes that return value for brands who use this marketing method:


  1. Return on investment (ROI)

Depending on the product unit price, brands can generate anywhere from $4 for every $1 (4:1) they spend on a campaign for product groups in FMCG, up to $20 to $1 (20:1) for products in the consumer electronics sector like laptops, phones, personal audio, coffee machines, or domestic appliances.


  1. Sales & market share growth

Off the back of a nationally experiential & demonstration campaign we activated, store sales for retailers in & around the activation have shown a dramatic increase in sales thus leading to both increased revenue for the retailer, and market share growth for the supplier. An NPD activation for a new POD coffee machine saw market penetration of <10% average 3 months post launch and up to >28% average market share after 6 months following a national in-store demonstration & in-mall experiential campaign.


  1. Share of voice, share of shelf

Product demonstrations aren’t always just reserved for shoppers or consumers. Retailer staff training, coaching and demonstrations are also very effective in growing sales. Two separate programs we’ve run have returned a huge positive effect on our client’s sales via advocacy at the point of purchase and via increased ranging and facings in stores. The results show that within stores we’ve trained as compared to those not, trained staff are selling up to 6:1 more product and are increasing space in stores to hold more stock by >25% to meet shopper demand.


What does success look like?

It’s going to be different for brands and suppliers alike. Hopefully, the three measurable outcomes mentioned above are a good guide to go by, but these are more skewed towards sales and exciting the Sales Directors and National Sales Managers among us. Other objectives that will excite and have real meaning and relevance to CMOs and Marketing Directors will be things like:

  • Shared content or experiences to social channels
  • Conversations started
  • Brand affiliation & recall

Demonstrations deliver on all of these when activated correctly.

When we’re producing a campaign, we make sure we run the strategy through the lens of the shopper, the brand, and the retailer (in no particular order). Brand ambassadors need to know the shopper engagement strategies of the retailer and work side by side with the retailers own staff to pass on sales when in stores. We represent the brand and the retailer so relationships must be positive and beneficial. If we’re happy with the view from each group, we know we have a winning campaign.

Shoppers should never be pressured. We train our staff to be both informative and engaging making sure to first qualify the customer for the right product, then make sure that they are comfortable with how it adds value to their lives. Whilst campaigns work best when retailer, agency and brand work together, having an immersion/experience in store or offsite may not produce the sale right there and then. Many consumers not purchasing at the point of purchase result in the shopper “showrooming” the product then making the purchase online. If we don’t make a sale, our objective is that the shopper leaves the activation zone with a good experience & where possible, a call-to-action trigger.

Experiential marketing promotions and demonstration campaigns create a clear, deep and memorable connection with your key audience. It’s also a great platform to launch a broader marketing or promotional campaign using other channels.


Brendon Walker

Director, Business Development


Extravert is a creative shopper marketing, brand activation & experiential agency servicing the consumer electronics, FMCG, liquor and Hardware sectors. Operating for over 25-years, we’re part of Strikeforce, Australia’s largest retail services agency. Our award-winning team create, produce & activate sales, brand & marketing campaigns for any company wanting to connect their brand & products with their target customer in all retail channels across ANZ. We integrate consultative & activation services to ensure your investment converts to meaningful and measurable goals. We are 100% Australian owned and focused on support our people and creating jobs for Australians.