Introducing the Digital Demo – 5 Ways It Can Improve On The Traditional In-store Model

Doug McMillon said at the 2015 Walmart Shareholders’ Meeting that we needed to stop thinking about digital and physical retail as two different things because the consumer didn’t think of them this way. This is a refrain that he continues to echo, and we are seeing them take steps to begin addressing this with various programs like pick-up and various new features inside the Walmart app.

We’ve been thinking about a different area: the demo.

Demos are a shopper marketing staple. More than a decade ago, when we were pioneering shopper marketing at ThompsonMurray and then Saatchi X, we were coming up with crazy ways to demo products. It was the retailtainment days, and we found that there were so many innovative ways to demo a wide range of products. Plus, the incremental exposure and display drove a lot of revenue.

So, how do we do this in the digital era? And what does digital offer the demo?

We think there are five ways that the Digital Demo can update the traditional in-store demo:

  1. Limited Time & Space

Now, we love walking through Walmart and Sam’s on a Saturday morning as much as anybody, but there’s only so much time and real estate that a store can offer to demos. So, while we think that many brands should continue their in-store demos, adding in a digital demo can extend your exposure beyond six hours on a Saturday to something people can engage in all week.

  1. Not Every Product Demos Well

With the much-needed standardization of demos over the past few years, there are now a number of brands who once conducted demos that now cannot. It’s just not possible to demo every product that could benefit from one, but you can in digital. In fact, you can demo digitally in ways that are impossible in-store. It’s almost limitless, and we’ve been pushing the boundaries of this for years now.

  1. Hard To Target

It’s just not an expectation that you’d target certain people in-store to engage. There’s enough work to do to get everything set-up, food needs to be prepped—and have you been in a Walmart on a Saturday morning? So, expecting that your demo operator is going to look for women 25-45 who have children in the home and a household income above $50K…yeah, it’s not possible. But it is with digital. In fact, if you want 26 year old, new mom’s in Topeka who shop at Walmart for baby formula, then that’s just not a problem.

  1. Don’t Know Who I Just Demo’d

As great as an engagement in-store might be; even if they love the product, and put it in their cart immediately; you still don’t know them. You don’t have any way to follow-up with them. They are completely unknown to you. This is not the case with digital. The beauty of a digital demo is that you get to know the person, and you can start to communicate with them about your products, your brand, your company, your category—really anything you want to. People today are hungry for great content, and we’ve not met a company yet that doesn’t have dozens of great stories to tell, embedded or hidden inside the organization. Digital Demos unlock this.

  1. Not Scalable

Sending samples and a person to a store is a fixed cost that does not have an economy of scale; not to say that the math doesn’t work out, just to say that the math doesn’t get any better the bigger you get. A demo is a demo. With a Digital Demo, you get economies of scale as you roll out across the country, you get data network effects as you learn more about your audience, and you get efficiencies as you optimize the program day after day, week after week, market after market.

We built Digital Demos to push the demo into the new omni-channel realities brands are facing at retail. We built it to thrive in the new measure-everything economy we live in. We built it to engage the millions of Millennials that are coming into the market in force each and every day.

We think there are solutions that bridge the digital-physical retail gap that Doug and others are talking about.

Let us know if you’d like to get an in-person demo of the Digital Demo.