How To Increase Sales with Baby Gear Test Drives!
Be it free samples, test drives or even money-back guarantees, the try-before-you-buy merchandising model is very much alive and well in many retail sectors. More and more, baby gear retailers are joining the ranks of beyond-the-store demonstration providers and seeing big benefits.
Offering parents real-life test-drives on your higher-end gear, especially those that are used in very personal ways, such as baby carriers and strollers, provides a lot of benefits to both the retailer and the customer.
Just like when we test drive a new car, taking the latest soft-structured carrier for a spin generates excitement, commitment and opportunities for fine-tuning before the sale, which can lead to great satisfaction and increased immediate and long-term (i.e. repeat) sales. Additionally, offering demo models to your potential customers gives you a greater opportunity to ensure their satisfaction, especially with products that can be a little tricky for some new moms, like attachments on a high-tech double stroller or the workings of a stretchy fabric baby wrap. Giving moms and dads a chance to try out products in real time before they buy gives them an opportunity to flush out questions, concerns, and frustrations before they buy. This creates a safer, more satisfactory experience for all.
Why Demo Programs Work
Top Five Benefits of Baby Gear Demo and Rental Programs
- Increased safety for parent and child
- Higher customer satisfaction with product
- Greater likelihood of first-time and repeat purchases
- Increased customer loyalty
- More word-of-mouth advertising
Whether you offer a free demo program, a paid rental program, or both, the benefits to you and your customer are high. Because the pressure to buy is removed, the time spent in choosing a demo model will increase time spent browsing high-cost items, and the increased contact time will build a better relationship between you and your customer. You will also have more of an opportunity to teach the customer how to use the product to its fullest potential, easily pointing out features and value-adds that will lead to higher sales. Customers who experience your generosity in this way will be more likely to make their purchase at your store, tell their friends about their great experience, and come back for other items in the future, often with higher loyalty to the demoed brand. Consider a parent’s willingness to contract with you for a free or paid home demo of your baby gear as a gateway sale.
Conversely, if a customer buys a product they find complicated to use without having full instruction and no or low-risk demo time, their frustrations at home may quickly turn into complaints with you, the product, and the brand, and you’ll have less chance to correct the problems; higher returns and lower repeat business will result. A customer’s lack of full understanding about a product may also put their children at risk.
Free Demo Programs
Three Key Features of Free Baby Gear Demo Programs
- Risk-Free Trial Period
- One-to-One Instruction
- Personalized Follow-Up
When offering a free demo program, you give your customer a no-risk trial with the higher value of one-to-one instruction. You also have a built-in opportunity to reach out to the customer for personalized follow-up during the demo, which generally average from three to ten days. Consider giving your customer a call at home to see how the demo is going and answer any questions they may have.
Paid Rental Programs
Three Key Features of Baby Gear Rental Programs
- Longer Demo Periods
- Low-Risk Trial Period
- Higher Perceived Value
Paid baby gear rental programs, while functioning much like a free demo program, offer customers a chance for longer term trials. Also, since they are paying for the opportunity, they may value it more and take greater advantage of your expertise, seeing your instruction as a paid service versus a favor. You may also add the incentive of discounting all or a portion of the rental price from the full purchase of the product as a way to make the rental fee more palatable.
Three In-Store Demo Ideas
- In-Store Demo Events and Classes Led by Product Experts
- In-Store Demonstration Video Screens
- Store Staff Demos
If you’re looking for other ways to offer demonstrations for your products that don’t involve customers taking them out of the store, start by making sure that each and every one of your retail floor staff knows the ins and outs of every product. Consider having them wear baby carriers in the store with realistic baby dolls as they work to help familiarize customers with the features they find most helpful while moving about. You may also find that many product retailers will be happy to send representatives of their products to host special events or classes for customers.
Lastly, take a good look at your return policy. A generous no-questions-asked return policy can often function as a low-risk demo option. Build in similar features to your return policy as you would a demo program, such as cleaning and damage fees, short and low-term return level options, personal follow-up and as much one-on-one in-store instruction as possible at time of purchase.
Whatever kind of demonstration you offer, it will increase your rate of first-time and repeat business. If you treat these potential customers well, educate and inspire their use of the product, and give them a special personal or financial incentive to come back, chances are very high that they’ll be coming to your store for this and many purchases to come.