OPINION: How to boost PC sales using in-store demonstrations

Katie Robertson from channel support firm Retail Profiling: "The time to demonstrate is now"
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Katie Robertson from channel support firm Retail Profiling talks about increasing in-store sales this Christmas: "The time to demonstrate is now".

The most competitive quarter of the retail calendar is upon us - competition is quickly heating up on the shop floors of tech and PC retailers. With brands fighting for customer attention through competitive promotions, prominent POS and bulk stock displays it’s no wonder the customer gets side-tracked and confused as to where to look and even to remember why they came to store in the first place.

It can be tough being one of the many brands in the category range for the customer to choose from. The end consumers' purchasing decisions are being made simply on the brand that has the 4p’s (product, price, place and promotion) most correct. However if every brand in the category gets this right, what else can vendors be doing to add value in store? And most importantly - how do they avoid the customer browsing the displays, but then going home and purchasing online a cheaper competitor product that may not even be suitable?

To break away from the category range and into a customer’s basket, a product must stand out. It needs to be enticing to pick up; the sale will follow when the customer understands why they need it, how it will help them and when they have got to grips with how it works to then leave the store feeling like an expert on the product they have just happily purchased. So how can you ensure this happens on your products in store?

‘Experienced Product Demonstrators,’ that’s how. With research showing customers are over 80 per cent more likely to purchase in store following a hands-on product demonstration, interactive demonstration is the key to driving more sales, and providing retail satisfaction.

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Product demonstrators with smart customer interaction knowhow and in-depth product knowledge will ensure the customer will always walk away with the correct product for their lifestyle needs. Leading to better customer satisfaction and customer service meaning a win for the retailer too. Experienced product demonstrators will stop traffic in store, engage with customers, establish their needs and advise them on the correct technology to fulfil those needs.

Once needs are established, the key benefits of the product can then be highlighted followed by hands on interactive product demonstration. By engaging with customers a products benefits are fully understood, leaving them feeling confident to make the purchase there and then. Sale closed.

An example of this is our current work with My Cloud. Most customers in stores look for a way to back up their data through an external drive. We discuss the challenges of secure and easy accessibility to their family data and media, and establish their needs. They may have never even been aware of this leading technology without interactive demonstration.

Previous campaign examples include deploying our sales developers for product demonstration activity across 20 top retail stores over two days, resulting in 296 positive interactions with customers leading to 178 direct sales and customer satisfaction.

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Store management are delighted to see incremental sales and satisfied customers, who will also be likely to purchase associated products whilst in store, once the first buying decision has been made.

Product demonstration also enhances your retail partnerships through providing additional dedicated resource that are able to contribute to sales in stores and understand store operations. Of course all stores and customers profiles are different; this is where an experienced individual can easily adapt to the retail environment and the customers they are interacting with.

Supporting your brand further in retail through proactive individuals with broader yet in-depth product knowledge around the category with the ability to identify the customers’ needs are key to driving sales further in technology categories over peak times.

About the author

Katie Robertson is from Retail Profiling, which drives sales optimisation collaboratively across the channel in retail, DMR, and SMB through product training, retail field marketing and reseller development.

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