Store Demonstrator

The Job and What's Involved

Store demonstrators work in department stores, supermarkets and other retail businesses, introducing products to customers to help increase sales. They may demonstrate a wide range of different products including:

- Food and drink
- Domestic appliances, such as vacuum and steam cleaners
- Kitchen gadgets
- Cleaning products
- Beauty products
- Do-it-yourself products and tools
- Home improvement products, such as double glazing
- Toys

Products may be new to the market or on special promotion. Job descriptions vary according to the venue and the type of product being demonstrated, but can include:

  • Setting up a counter or other area where demonstrations take place, and keeping it clean and tidy.
  • Arranging stock, posters and other publicity material to attract customers.
  • Using promotional material, such as DVD's
  • Talking to individual passers-by, or using a microphone to catch the attention of groups of people.
  • Inviting customers to taste samples of food and drink.
  • Demonstrating a product and showing how easy it is to use, e.g. by chopping vegetables or cleaning a surface.
  • Explaining the benefits of a product in a way that encourages people to buy.
  • Answering questions about the product.
  • Handing out leaflets, brochures, coupons and free samples.
  • Monitoring stock levels.
  • Keeping sales records.

Some store demonstrators sell products directly to customers, while others direct people to the area of the store where products are on sale. In the case of large purchases like home improvement items, they take the contact details of people who are interested and pass them on to the sales team.

Store demonstrators may work alone or as part of a team. They spend anything from one day to a week or more demonstrating in each venue, and then move on to another venue.

A full-time store demonstrator usually works between 37 and 40 hours a week. This is likely to include evening and weekend work to cover store opening hours. Many store demonstrators work part time, and some are self-employed and work on a freelance basis. There may be opportunities to work additional hours at busy times, such as the weeks before Christmas.

Store demonstrators work in shops, shopping centres and supermarkets that are warm, clean and bright. They may also work at other venues, such as exhibition and conference centres, during events like food fairs, ideal home exhibitions and trade shows. They spend most of their day standing, and may have to lift and carry boxes of products, samples and leaflets.

Making a good first impression on customers is important, so store demonstrators must be well groomed and smartly dressed. Some wear uniforms provided by their employer.

A car or van may be needed to travel between venues, so a driving licence is useful.

Store demonstrators starting out may earn between £10,000 and £11,500 a year. More experienced staff may earn around £14,500.

The highest salary for a store demonstrator may be around £18,500.

Some store demonstrators earn commission or productivity bonuses. There may be other benefits, such as free products, discounts and petrol allowances.

Demonstrators who are employed through an agency may be paid an hourly or daily rate.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

There are around 3,000 store demonstrators working in UK. Most of the opportunities are in cities, towns and out-of-town shopping centres.

Employers range from supermarkets to independent department stores, and the manufacturers and distributors of products. Many store demonstrators are self-employed and work on a freelance basis.

Vacancies are advertised in Jobcentre Plus offices, in local newspapers, on individual employers' web sites and jobs bulletins, and through recruitment agencies, some of which specialise in opportunities for store demonstrators.

Education and Training

It is possible to become a store demonstrator without formal qualifications, but employers look for evidence of literacy, numeracy and excellent communication skills. Some require a minimum of four GCSE's, including English and maths. Previous experience of working in retail, customer service and talking to groups of people may be required. Interviews may involve some practical tests.

For some types of demonstrating, it may be essential to have specific qualifications, For example, a demonstrator inviting customers to taste food must have an appropriate qualification in food handling, such as the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health's (CIEH) Level 1 Award in Food Safety Awareness for Retail.

Most people starting this career are adults. Candidates with retail or customer service experience may be welcomed. Some models and actors do this work because it can provide income between engagements.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

There is no formal training for this job, but good product knowledge is essential.

Store demonstrators usually attend briefing sessions and short courses to learn about the products they will be demonstrating.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A store demonstrator should:

  • Have excellent communication skills.
  • Be friendly and outgoing, even when under pressure.
  • Have good customer service skills.
  • Be able to talk to people of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Be comfortable talking to individuals or groups of people.
  • Have a clear speaking voice.
  • Be well groomed and smart.
  • Be able to talk enthusiastically about a wide range of products.
  • Be able to use products with confidence.
  • Be able to understand and absorb product information in order to answer customer queries.
  • Have energy and stamina.
  • Be creative in finding ways to boost sales.

Your Long Term Prospects

There is no formal promotion structure for store demonstrators. The experience gained in this role may be useful when applying for other jobs in retail, customer service, marketing or promotions.

Get Further Information

British Shops and Stores Association Ltd (BSSA),
Middleton House, 2 Main Road,
Middleton Cheney, Banbury,
Oxfordshire OX17 2TN
Tel: 01295 712277
Website: www.british-shops.co.uk

Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH),
Chadwick Court, 15 Hatfields,
London SE1 8DJ
020 7928 6006
Website: www.cieh.org

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