In-store demonstrations are usually performed at large retail locations, such as supermarkets, department or discount stores, or in shopping malls.The products that are promoted at in-store demonstrations may be food and beverages, food preparation equipment, housekeeping products, personal care items, or occasionally other types of goods.
The samples that are distributed may either be in readymade packets preassembled for the demonstration, or are prepared on site by the demonstrator. Some demonstrations involve the distribution of prepared food, requiring the demonstrator to bring equipment such as a microwave oven or hot plate to the location.
Often, coupons for the product are distributed as part of the demonstration. Some demonstrations consist of coupon distribution only.
Demonstrators may be employees of the store where the demonstration is being performed, employees or the manufacturer of the product, or independent contractors who work for a temp agency. Most are not trained to seek out customers likely to buy the product.
In-store demonstrations allow potential customers to touch or taste a product before they buy.
By the mid1950s Ron Popeil states that I was working in the Woolworths store in Chicago selling the Chop-O-Matic, standing eight or 10 hours a day. I would do six demonstrations an hour. My vocal cords were so strained that I wouldnt want to talk to anybody when the day was over.
The concept of the in-store demonstration started to boom in the 1980s.