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CalExotics Retail Relations Expert Offers Merchandising Manual

Ariana Rodriguez

As the traveling retail relations expert for California Exotic Novelties, Austin Ferdinand has visited more than 2,000 store locations.

His expansive merchandising knowledge has made him the go-to person for many retailers nationwide.

Ferdinand is the creator of the Merchandising Manual, in which he uses mainstream examples and offers suggestions that can be translated in adult retail.

Natalie Wilson, president of Condoms to Go/Sara’s Secret, said, “Austin brings an unbiased opinion when he visits our stores as he’s an outsider to the company, but an insider to the industry. He makes suggestions on improving store appearance, offers merchandising tips, and ultimately gives insights that increase sales.”

Ferdinand offers suggestions not just about merchandising CalExotics’ products, but about all manufacturers’ products.

“The goal isn’t just to sell CalExotics, but to help our retail partners improve business overall,” he said. “If they’re successful, we’re successful, and that benefits everyone.”

Ferdinand is the creator of the Merchandising Manual, in which he uses mainstream examples and offers suggestions that can be translated in adult retail. His specific points include:

  • Organization and presentation — make it easy for the customer to find products.
  • Visual separation — draw attention to items by placing them on end caps or in plan-o-grams.
  • New releases section — place new products in an easy-to-find location so regular customers know what’s new.
  • Try me displays and testers — get products in the hands of the consumer to make the sale.
  • Multiple exposures of best sellers — by exposing the consumer to the same item multiple times they perceive it as something hot they don’t want to miss.
  • Product combinations — creating displays with different items that share a common theme allows the customer to consider purchasing those products together.
  • Cross Merchandising — placing items in different departments sparks interest and helps customers explore new areas of the store.
  • Luxury items — are one of the biggest growing sectors and devoting a section of a store to high end items means staying competitive.

“Austin is personable with management, sales staff, and customers and he goes the extra mile, bridging the gap between the store and the manufacturer,” said Theresa Flynt, executive vice president of FMG/Hustler.

Ferdinand has been with CalExotics for six years and trained under Jackie White, California Exotic Novelties’ vice president of sales, who taught him how to reset and merchandise stores.

“Jackie’s guidance taught me everything I know,” Ferdinand said. “She’s been an excellent mentor.”

CalExotics says merchandising information, as well as store visit requests, can be obtained by emailing jackiew@calexotics.com.

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