Execs of 2015: Retail Industry Leaders Report Tech Advancements

XBIZ Premiere

XBIZ Premiere is pleased to present “Execs of 2015: The Year in Review.”

Each of the executives we spoke to below has one thing in common — they are among the finalist nominees for the online industry edition of the 2016 XBIZ Exec Awards.

Our business in the last year cannot be attributed to a single technological advancement. Rather, the aggregation of technological advancements has resulted in an environment in which the product we create and services we provide are possible. -Toon Timmermans, Kiiroo

XBIZ captures the thoughts of these influential and motivational leaders as we sought their take of the year 2015.

The following question about the year in review was asked to those running for the Tech Leadership Award:

XBIZ: What tech advancements/trends were most valuable to business this year?

Brian Dunham
Founder, OhMiBod

“I would say that the most important tech advancement this year would be the processing power of the devices that connect us. There are many important applications that our industry will benefit from that depend largely on processing capabilities of the devices we use in our daily lives. Let’s take virtual reality or even augmented reality, for example. This technology is a bona fide game changer in terms of how people will experience content and someday, one another. I had a chance to demo some beta units at a recent trade show, and although still in its infancy, the potential of the technology to change the way humans interact was incredible. Personally and professionally, I’m fascinated by all the potential of this technology and excited to see how it develops into a real product category.”

Robin Elenga
CEO, Revel Body

“3D printing and design tools is one of the most valuable technologies of the year because of the many benefits that it enables for both product designers and consumers. As product designers, we have used several generations of machines running 24/7, each with dramatically improved capabilities, material properties, speed, ease of use and costs. The technology has rapidly advanced from where parts were useful only for visualization to where they are now useful to print products, which are functionally usable. This technology is rapidly improving to the point where it will soon enable production of high-quality, low-cost products, not just prototypes. This will enable the ability to produce mass-customized products for specific consumer needs — the holy grail of product manufacturing. The emerging field 4D, or kinematics, will also enable self-assembled products which require little physical labor to assemble.”

Brian Sloan
Founder, Autoblow

“From my perspective in the sex toy industry, e-commerce and Internet marketing-related technologies continue to be the driving forces behind my company’s expansion. Although some degree of manufacturing technology goes into my flagship product, the Autoblow 2, the market still responds strongly to no-tech and low-tech toys and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. There was no silver bullet in 2015, technology-wise. But stable management and growth, using existing e-commerce technology, is the driving force behind my business now and for the foreseeable future. Cloud hosting for quick page loading times, frequent A/B testing to increase conversion rates, and opening web shops in languages other than English was what I spent my 2015 doing. Additionally, the important trend of more and more page views both for e-commerce sex toy shopping and porn viewing coming from mobile devices will help those companies who are prepared for the shift and hurt those who are not.”

Adam Lewis
CEO, Hot Octopuss

“The biggest technological advancement to our business this year was the development of PuslePlate technology. Rather than conventional low-amplitude vibrations, PulsePlate technology delivers oscillations which provide the user with much higher amplitude vibrations and therefore, a deeper, more powerful sensation.”

Tom Mercer
Director of Technology, CNV, Inc.

“This was an exciting year for our company from a technology standpoint. We recognized several trends that we believed would influence buyer experience, including split testing, analytics-driven merchandising, and the use of algorithms or machine learning to make more intuitive product recommendations. We were also aware that mobile retail would soon reach a tipping point, so we focused heavily on improving the buyer experience by launching a completely responsive e-commerce marketing platform,, that adapts to any device. Staying on top of these trends has paid off, as we’re adding new partners and building relationships with reputable manufacturers at a faster pace than ever before. We’re confident that next year will be even bigger for us.”

Ti Chang
Co-Founder and Vice President of Design, Crave

“We have always viewed technology in the context of design and as a way to support the overall user experience. We don’t view technology as the single driver of our business; however, it is certainly important in a supporting role. The idea of sex-tech is becoming socially accepted as fin-tech, ed-tech or health-tech, and we see more companies embracing technology to create new sexual experiences — which helps to overall modernize the industry and drive consumer awareness and accessibility of adult products.”

Toon Timmermans
CEO, Kiiroo

“Our business in the last year cannot be attributed to a single technological advancement. Rather, the aggregation of technological advancements has resulted in an environment in which the product we create and services we provide are possible. One of the main factors that has made our business possible has been the dramatic increase in the availability and speed of mobile networks. This allows users of Kiiroo products to experience one another in real-time. Other factors have been the decrease in the price of capacitive sensors, the widespread use of Bluetooth in mobile devices, and the development of virtual reality headsets that are affordable for consumers. Furthermore, the demand for interactive content has created an ideal place for Kiiroo in the marketplace. We are able to offer individuals a way to have more fulfilling online experiences. This interactive content, including real-time chat with webcam models, tactile VR porn, and sex-simulation games, is possible because of the aforementioned technological advancements.”

Erik Van Riper
Director of Technology, Honey’s Place

“Honey’s Place has undergone a great deal of technical improvements this year, from streamlining our ordering process to improvements in our accounting department. Customers are pleased with the speed we can fulfill an order, giving them more and more visibility into the status of their order and where it is in our warehouse. Giving our API customers near-real-time inventory updates and order reservations has proven to help them sell their product without worrying about fulfillment issues like back orders. They can feel very comfortable knowing that if the system states the item is in stock, then they will get it shipped. We are very excited with what we will be unveiling in 2016. It will give our customers a second-to-none experience for online order processing.”