What You Need To Know About Your In-Store Demos

The Lempert Report
February 08, 2017

Demos are easy, right? Outsource or do it yourself – the results are dramatic.

Increase sales, add excitement to the store and you are set. Easy. But a column by Peter Ubel on Forbes.com discusses how one’s will power effects how quickly we respond to the taste of food – which just may change, and make more effective, the current ways we sample in store. 

Ubel writes that there is a trade-off we are often faced with when deciding what to eat. Some foods are bad for our health but happen to taste quite good. All of us have limited willpower, and when we are exhausted - those unhealthy foods become harder to resist. And how many shoppers are at their best when they are rushing up and down the aisles. 

In a study led by Nicolette Sullivan from Caltech, researchers placed consumers in front of computer screens and gave them pictures of two foods, asking them which one they would most like to eat. Instead of looking only at which food people eventually chose, they looked at the wandering of the cursor – an example given is how a participant might first start directing the cursor towards the donut before swerving it in the direction of the salad. That pattern would  suggest that the person’s early preferences were for the donut, but were later overridden by other considerations. 

On average, people respond to tastiness faster than healthiness – about 9% faster. Looks like tastiness has an unfair head start in influencing our choices.

The researchers state that when people are most in need of help in curbing their worst appetites, when they are in moments of weakness, tastiness holds an even more unfair advantage. 

Take a look at the results of the foods you sample – which do better? Tasty indulgence? Healthier offerings? If it’s the former, maybe the opportunity for CPG and retail to take a look at how we sample, and make sure that we are sampling in the in-store locations and times of the day when shoppers are more relaxed and not as hungry – and to make sure that the signage at the demo table is a lot more than just a dollar bill sized coupon.