Sure, there's a lot going on at Expo West, and this can make it super tricky for booths to stand out. So, how should you demo at your booth? Here are some tips to ensure you snare the right kind of attention.
1. If you have food, sample it
Food samples are an easy way to draw people to your booth and to get people to try your product. Descriptions and words have nothing on being able to try the real thing. This may seem like an obvious tact to take, but we have seen food companies show their product without sampling, and we think that’s a hard sell.
2. Make it easy
If your product is not an easy-to-manage peanut butter cup or cracker, make it easy for people to try it. We like what 88 acres has done in the past–it’s not easy to sample nut butters so they offer up little serving sticks to scoop out a taste of their nut butters. Try it solo or on a cracker. Offer napkins and easy places to dispose of cups or serving utensils.
3. A few at a time
Sampling is one thing, but don’t put out too many samples at once. The crowds are big at Expo, but they’re not going to charge at your booth all at once. Putting out a lot can look a bit intimidating, or like no one has come by your booth to take a sample. It can also mean that some of your samples will be sitting out for a long time. Thus, a few at a time is the best way to go.
4. Mind the hot beds
If you’re samples require a heat lamp or tray, be careful not to leave samples to dry out under the light. At the same time make sure your samples stay warm. (This goes back to not putting out too many at once). It will defeat your efforts to offer samples if you’re offering dried out samples, or cold samples that were once warm.
5. Not too cluttered, not too sparse
We know it can be hard to make a small space inviting. But the key it to highlight product without making things too busy, but at the same time you don’t want your booth to look too sparse. We heard a number of people comment on 4th & Heart’s booth at Expo East; they chose a vibrant color and design theme and the booth came across fun and lively. As a “ghee” company they offered up different ways to enjoy their chocolate and natural ghee spreads. If you don’t have a lot to display, bring a plant or extra accessories to add to the display or use as conversation starters.
6. Offer flavors
If you have different flavors, try to give people a choice of what to try. You don’t want to force coconut on someone if it’s not their thing and they really want the pomegranate or the cashew offering. And if you have unique flavors, people will be curious to know if they taste as good as they sound. We certainly wanted to know what SAP!’s strawberry jalapeño flavored tasted like at Expo East.
7. Try not to judge by the badge
Of course, everyone wants the retailers to stop by. But keep in mind that word of mouth and recommendations from friends and relatives are powerful. You never know if that speaker or other pass visitor to your booth has a sister-in-law who is a buyer, or a best friend who is a retailer.
8. Your booth can help you reinvent
Your booth doesn’t have to be big to impress. And don’t think you can’t reinvent yourselves with a new look or booth. Flora demo-ed their apple cider samplers at Expo East and we thought it was a new company until we focused in on that old familiar logo.
9. Samples don’t have to be food
Whether you’re a supplement company or personal care, you can still offer samples. Or provide testers at your booth for people to see if that lotion really does feel good, or if its scent is too strong or just right. Just like food, people want to try personal care. You can’t tell if a supplement works on just one try, but still people can see the size of a pill or if it’s a chewable or gummy they can at least taste it. Give people as much information as you can.
10. Have some fun
Okay, we know these are long days. It’s tiring talking all day unless you’re an ultra-extrovert. But you never know when that buyer might walk by. So join a morning yoga or meditation session, go for a walk to help you stay present during the day. Surround yourself with good people. Don’t go crazy trying other people’s samples or you might end up not feeling so great, too. But people want to be excited about your products, so help them do that by being excited about them too.