Growth, Expansion and Renewal With Four Top Retailers
With a new year upon us — and the possibilities and challenges that come with it — it’s always instructive to hear what leading companies and key brands have up their sleeve for the initial weeks and months of the year. Is expansion and aggressive marketing in the cards for the first quarter of 2014, or are companies scaling back and seeking stability more than growth?
XBIZ touched base with a number of respected companies to see what their plans are for Q1 of 2014, and while some preferred to keep their cards close to their vest and declined to share their first quarter strategies and impending product launches, representatives of Good Vibes, Adam & Eve, CNV.com and Eldorado Trading Company generously lifted the veil to give us a look at their respective visions for the months ahead.
Joel Kaminsky, owner of adult retailer Good Vibrations, told XBIZ that 2014 will start with a significant expansion in the company’s brick-and-mortar operations, with the opening of a new store in a very high-profile location.
“As of this writing, we are completing construction on our eighth store, which is opening between the financial district and Union Square in San Francisco,” Kaminsky said. “It comes on the heels of our seventh store which just celebrated its grand opening before Thanksgiving. So, in essence the first quarter of the year will be devoted to continual developing and marketing of those stores. Additionally, we will be spending a significant marketing effort toward Valentine’s Day as it is one of our most lucrative holidays of the year.”
Crucial to the company’s strategy, Kaminsky added, will be the use of frequent — if not constant — special offers directed at consumers, a marketing aspect that has reached the point of being obligatory in the modern adult consumer market.
“The first quarter will be marked with more offers for our customer base, coupons for future purchases, and other discount opportunities,” Kaminsky said. “The reality is that customers expect that now. It used to be they looked forward to a random sale; now they demand and expect it — always.”
Another obligation imposed by the modern market is the “need for more robust software to provide more metrics and analytics that we can use for measuring customer experience,” Kaminsky said.
While the addition of a new store is a positive development, Kaminsky tempers that optimism with realism, noting that he’s “not overly optimistic about dramatic rise in sales.”
“I think the coupon mentality and expectation of discount will have an impact on revenue stream, hence the need to open stores,” Kaminsky added. “It is a matter of economy of scale.”
Adam & Eve
Easily one of the most recognized and high profile adult entertainment brands, Adam & Eve enjoyed a strong 2013, and expects more of the same from the new year, according to GM Bob Christian.
“Q1 is typically our busiest sales period, and we anticipate setting new records again,” Christian told XBIZ. “Most of our growth has come from pleasure product sales on the website adamandeve.com, and we expect that pattern to continue.”
The company’s expansion plans are significant, and span the online and brick-andmortar environments, as well as new pleasure product launches.
“Four new Adam & Eve retail stores will be opening in the first quarter, in Charlotte, N.C., Salem, Ore., Houston, and in Billings, Mont.,” Christian said. “All but one will be open in time for the Valentine’s Day busy times, and our Stores division is excited to be introducing a program for converting existing retail stores into Adam & Eve Stores, at the January XBIZ 360 and the AEE shows.”
The additions to the Adam & Eve Pleasure Product line come primarily in the company’s collection of premium vibrators, including the Wave, Goddess, and L’Arque lines.
The company’s video division will not be idle, either; Christian said new couples-oriented and “romance style” movies are slated for release including “Secret Crushes” from director Jay Allan, as well as “Lustful Threesomes” and “Couple Swap,” titles that Christian said bring out the “more risqué side of Valentine’s Fun.”
CNV.com, perhaps better known by its subordinate brands and properties like SexToy.com and MyFreeWebsite.com, is gearing up for a busy start to 2014, as well, including major overhauls to some of its core web properties and aggressive pursuit of restoring its position in key Google search responses.
“Our affiliate program MyFreeWebSite.com has been around since 1996 and has had three major upgrades since then,” noted CNV CEO Dave Levine. “2014 will be the year of our fourth major affiliate program overhaul.”
Levine added that e-commerce support for physical, third-party retail stores has been a growth area for the company and that he expects CNV to “grow more aggressively into that space in 2014.”
Another major focus for CNV is to reestablish its presence at the top of the Google SERPs for competitive key words and phrases like “sex toys” — a need that arises from time to time as a result of Google’s frequent algorithmic changes.
“We went from No. 1 in Google for ‘sex toys’ to almost zero in 2012,” Levine revealed. “Our rankings bottomed out May 2013 and have been climbing since, but in 2014 we expect to get SexToy.com back up to the top of Google’s rankings again. Sextoy.com has moved from the top to the bottom in the search engines several times since 1995.”
To support CNV’s expanding operations, the company plans to “continue to hire for customer service, programming, and other [areas] to keep up with growth and the fast changing e-commerce market,” Levine said, adding that “24/7 live chat support will become a reality in 2014.”
Eldorado Trading Company
One of the major points of focus for adult product distributor Eldorado Trading Company in the early weeks of 2014 will be rolling out a new campaign called “Fresh Approach to Marketing Pleasure,” which is slated for a major push at the upcoming ANME Founders show in Burbank. The campaign will be detailed and explained by the company’s “two Brians” — Senior Marketing Specialists Brian Sofer and Brian Howlett — who are part of a large and active marketing staff that’s central to Eldorado’s success.
“We’ve got a highly competent and sophisticated marketing team, seven people strong — Eldorado really is the only distributor that can offer our partners all the best in marketing,” Sofer told XBIZ. “Rather than just sticking with the same old, tired, stale, traditional catalog ad sales, the team will be working with vendors of all sizes and budgets to develop a promotional and advertising package that will span the calendar year. That includes all of Eldorado’s promotional channels — web, social media, co-op advertising, catalog advertising, video, etc.”
Howlett added that starting the detailed planning for 2014 well in advance of the New Year is part of a proactive approach to getting out ahead of the calendar — and the competition.
“Locking up the year ahead of time makes the most sense,” Howlett said. “We will be able to concentrate on long-term planning for our vendor partners to make promotions as effective as possible, and it gives the vendor an opportunity to keep their brand fresh throughout the year.”
Patrick Lyons, marketing manager for Eldorado, said the company has turned its attention to establishing “more effective and coordinated product launches,” as well.
“Our purchasing department is bringing in unique and innovative products from around the world,” Lyons said. “We want vendors to know that when they partner with Eldorado, our team is fully equipped to give their brand the launch and exposure it deserves. We look forward to working with Revel Body, Jimmyjane and Svakom on their Eldorado launch campaigns in early 2014.”