The pleasure products industry is chock-full of innovative, one-of-a-kind, niche products. While these items often fly off shelves, they don’t always live up to their sales potential. Why? Fetish items in particular can be difficult to talk about because of stigma, taboo and simple lack of understanding. At first glance, they might seem extreme, hard to operate, attract too narrow audience, or have limited uses. Unfortunately, you can’t sell what you don’t know how to discuss.
Unfamiliarity and discomfort with these kinds of products can cause extreme reactions from sales staff and customers alike. An item like the Auto Flogger Whip Attachment for Drills may evoke reactions ranging from laughter to confusion to those unfamiliar. So how do you pitch specialty items that seem too obscure, difficult to explain, or simply weird to the common person?
Niche customers spend top dollar for original specialty pieces and they are loyal to companies that understand their needs.
Niche fetish products are designed for a certain subset of the kink community and are usually used for specific BDSM techniques or fetishes. When the general audience is comprised of only a small portion of the population, some customers believe there’s less of a payoff to focus on specialized items, as though too few people are in the market for these ultra-obscure items. That assumption is not only wrong, but also dramatically limits sales potential.
Niche customers are fanatics about collecting tools, devices and accessories for their specific fetish. They’ll spend top dollar for original specialty pieces and they are loyal to companies that understand their needs. Harnessing loyal buyers of big-ticket items can boost your sales exponentially. For example, latex fetishists and sensation play pranksters love products like the Extreme Black Latex Vacuum Bed. It satisfies both the touch and feel of latex while giving one of the most unique sensations available for the sensation play enthusiasts.
So how do you sell these unique, unusual things?
Become familiar with the kinks, fetishes and advanced sexual techniques that end-users indulge in. This way you can advise them on specific materials, models and alternate features to suit their needs. You don’t have to be an expert of course — even basic beginner knowledge is better than nothing!
Try them yourself. This obviously isn’t possible with every product in your store, but if you have a sample item that you can try safely, give it a shot!
When applicable, assist in setting up floor models and displays. This provides hands-on familiarity with the product(s) and gives you valuable information that you can use when talking to shoppers. Assembling equipment like the Stockade with Chest Pad and Fucking Rod will help you help your customers.
For more obscure objects, you simply need to take the time to figure out how something works — even if you never use it. A great example of this is a hybrid trailer hitch/chastity cage like the Condemned Penetration Cage with Anal Insertion. A chastity cage is a device that you put around a flaccid penis to prevent erections. A trailer hitch is a combination anal ball and cock ring. People who enjoy teasing and arousing their chastised mate may be drawn to this type of toy.
Some items delve into areas only the courageous and truly curious (i.e. horny) will tread. Urethral sounding is definitely one of these. Sounding is the act of inserting a metal rod into the urethra. Urethral stretching is a step beyond that as seen in products like the Stainless Steel Urethral Spreader CT Chastity Cage. This item combines urethral stretching along with CT (Cock and Ball Torment) and chastity.
You may often come across items that offer a kinkier alternative to a traditional “regular” item. Most dildos are meant to thrust in and out; however, there are sex machines like the Power Spinner Portable Sex Machine that take a traditional dildo and spin it in circles using a drill motor. This spinning motion is a great alternative to the typical thrusting that other sex machines provide.
So now that you have a grasp of the basics of these items, here are a few techniques your sales staff can use:
First and foremost, offer to demonstrate products whenever possible. Showing an in-person demo, especially with something uncommon, will help sell itself.
To up sell these items, use your understanding of the product and then consider what items will accompany them. Think about everything from lube, cleaning and care products, sensation play accessories like nipple clamps and feathers, or even items like clothespins for extra pinky pain.
If possible, display these items with a variety of complementary items. For instance, put the Stainless Steel Urethral Spreader CT Chastity Cage next to a display of urethral sounds, sterile lube and moisture-absorbing disposable pads.
If the manufacturer has pamphlets, video displays, or any kind of demo products, use them all. They exist for a reason!
All of these techniques require at least a minimal understanding of the products and the kinks associated with them, so study up, do your research, and explore them on a personal level — as far as you’re comfortable with! Niche products are fun, unique and require a bit more education and effort on the part of sales staff — but this extra work will certainly be worth it when you see your sales increase.
Morgan Pacino is the wholesale supervisor for Redistribution, a full-service distributor with a comprehensive inventory catering to the unique needs of adult stores online and brick-and-mortar retailers.