Would You Like Lube With That?

Tod Hunter

In San Diego, the F Street chain of adult stores has had a longstanding policy: “There is no sale of an adult product to which you cannot add lube.” Retailers who keep that in mind can increase their sales of lube by increasing the visibility of lube products and merchandising them as an add-on to other items.

Michelle A. Marcus, Sliquid Organics’ director of sales, marketing and public relations, suggests that retailers stock lube products in a central location and around the store as well.

Aggressive merchandising and promotion of lube products can pay off in sales and customer loyalty for the retailer who remembers: There is no sale of an adult product to which you cannot add lube.

“Ideally you want lubes to be displayed in one area to initially draw the consumer in to the category of products, however it is best if your lube has visibility throughout the store, pairing with toys or even just situated throughout the toy displays giving the customer ideas and also reminding them that lube is very important for intimate play,” Marcus told XBIZ.

“You always want to display lube where there is good lighting. Sliquid offers a very bright and bold array of colors in the Naturals packaging. In our Sliquid Organics category of products, with its more subdued, clean and spa-like appearance, this works very well to cross promote along with other more earthly types of products. The label and bottledesign really give off a very serene and calming vibe, so best not to cross promote this category of products with sex toys that scream flashing lights, loud noises and the like.”

Wet International Vice President of Marketing Jennifer Martsolf agrees that matching colors is a way to connect sales in customers’ minds.

“You can take a pink vibrator and put it together with Wet Pheromone, which is pink, and merchandise it that way so it’s visually appealing,” Martsolf told XBIZ.

Andrew Kim, marketing specialist at ID Lubricants parent company Westridge Laboratories, recommends that retailers keep up on new lube products, mentioning the company’s Stimulating Gel For Her and the new Frutopia line of flavored lubes.

“The Stim Gel comes in two varieties, Mild and Wild. The Mild one is for beginners, for people who haven’t used a stimulating gel before. The Wild is a little more intense and lasts longer. The Frutopia line is water-based, latex-friendly and includes cherry, strawberry, banana and watermelon. It has 100 percent all-natural flavors with no sugar in a 100 ml pump bottle. It’s naturally sweetened and I think it tastes better than any lube on the market.”

Specialized lubes benefit from use-specific store placement, Richie Harris, CEO of pjur USA, told XBIZ.

“One of our products is designed for anal, with jojoba, a natural herbal relaxing agent, in it,” Harris said. “I try to convince retailers to put that product in their novelties with the prostate toys, so people can connect the dots more easily rather than swimming through a sea of lubricants. That’s a great example of a cross-merchandising, where you have a specific end-use for a lubricant and a specific end-use for a novelty and you pair those together. We have another lubricant that’s for toys, it’s thick and the tag line is ‘stays where you put it.’ I think lubricants should be placed all over stores because it’s easier for customers to connect the dots.”

David Mazer, owner of B. Cumming Company, makers of Elbow Grease, suggests stocking Elbow Grease in the gay-video section of the store.

“The masturbation creams would be good there, right by the video rentals,” Mazer said. “Also, the leather and fetish sections — anybody who likes those types of products would like the cream lubricants for that kind of play. Also for the anal beads, anything for anal play — all of our creams and gels are made for that. They’re oil-based, so they only are safe with polyurethane condoms, though.”

Lube can also be effectively merchandised at the register for last-minute add-on purchases.

“Even just having one or two SKUs at the cash wrap is an important reminder for people ringing up the sale to upsell, because it’s sitting right in front of them,” Harris said. “Out of sight, out of mind. It also helps the clerks remember what they’ve been taught, and what they’ve been told.”

B. Cumming, ID, pjur USA, Sliquid and Wet all offer point-of-sale promo displays ranging from small display racks that can be placed at the cash wrap or on slat-wall displays up to freestanding display racks and large slat-wall displays that highlight entire lines. They also offer product packaged in small foil envelopes, pillow packs and small tubes that can be sold or given away as samplers.

Retail expert Kim Airs points out that samplers of lube can build customer loyalty.

“I would put six samplers in a bag and sell them for $3. I’d tell them, ‘Keep track of what you’re using, so you don’t have six empty pillows of lube and you don’t know which is which.’ Or I’d just give them a sampler: ‘Here, take this and tell me what you think.’ They’ll come back and tell you.”

Aggressive merchandising and promotion of lube products can pay off in sales and customer loyalty for the retailer who remembers: “There is no sale of an adult product to which you cannot add lube.”

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