Execs of 2018: Retail Sales Experts Recap Biggest Consumer Trends

Execs of 2018: Retail Sales Experts Recap Biggest Consumer Trends

XBIZ is pleased to present “Execs of 2018: The Year in Review” — a special showcase of the trends and strategies that drove success in 2018.

The industry's unsung heroes, account executives serve as the go-to of a company and play a key role in any business’ success.

Each of the professionals we spoke to is among the finalist nominees for the retail edition of the 2019 XBIZ Exec Awards. Representing a variety of the industry’s most respected brands, the Account Executive of the Year nominees share their take on the year’s biggest trends.

What trends were most valuable to business this year?

Loretta Goodling
Toy Buyer, Excitement Adult Stores

“This year, I noticed a rising trend in several areas in our stores. Of course, the popularity and upgrades in technology are always top on the list for us. Customers love the rechargeable wands and app-based products where they can connect and play via Bluetooth. Exciting, right? As expected, clitoral stimulation toys are on everyone’s wish list; the new air technology with suction is amazing. Some of Excitement’s top sellers this year are the Lush by Lovense, We-Vibe Sync, Shibari Mini Halo Wands, Womanizer, Satisfyer and the Le Wands. Body-safe materials also seemed to be on many customers’ minds, as silicone products were in high demand. Customers are taking more interest in their lubricants as well and paying more attention to the ingredients. I believe more people in general are being conscious of what they are putting into their bodies.”

Chad Jenny
National Business Consultant, Adam & Eve Franchising

“Recently, shoppers have become much savvier and brand-conscious. Utilizing the momentum that manufacturers are creating with mainstream and pop-culture marketing to create new customers has been invaluable. These efforts are driving people into our stores to check out these nifty new devices. This also creates a demand for a highly educated staff. By using technology like webinars and file-sharing software to train and provide info to our staff, we are able to meet the demands of our customers and provide an exceptional shopping experience.”

Kimberly Maty
Senior Sales/Buyer, Entrenue

“From massage oils and bath bombs to tinctures and stimulating gels, CBD was the hit of 2018 for Entrenue. We are especially honored to be exclusively representing several woman-owned CBD lines, all offering unique product selections and clever upscale packaging that really help each brand stand out. Our customers have fully embraced this trend, and it’s been fun to educate and offer suggestions on how to make an impact with CBD at store events. It’s even more rewarding to hear that the products are actually making a difference in people’s overall sexual health and wellness. 2019 will bring even more CBD items, and we could not be more excited.”

Abe Rojas
Sara's Secret, Condoms to Go

“The most valuable trend to Sara’s Secret and Condoms To Go’s is not a passing fancy; it’s a deep and abiding commitment to offering the highest quality intimate products to enhance the romantic experience. Although saying that is almost cliche, very few retailers commit the time, effort and money to invest in their employees’ product knowledge and training. Our entire sales force is intelligent, perceptive and engaged with our customers on a uniquely individual basis. This ‘trend’ translated to our company becoming the largest chain of romance boutiques in Texas. I am truly fortunate to work with Sara Lee and each of our vendors to create enduring and valuable partnerships by which we maintain our competitive advantage over other brick-and-mortar retailers and online sellers.”

Megan Swartz
General Manager and Buyer, Deja Vu Love Boutique

“We still feel that the upscaling trend in adult stores continues to be a prevailing factor for our group. Dead are the days of the dingy adult bookstores filled with creeps, white walls and an anti-female vibe. We continue to upscale our stores with bright colors, bright lights and female-friendly, eye-catching merchandising displays. We feel we have been trend-setters in this area as we continue to use platforms such as XBIZ magazine and all social media platforms to help offer ideas on how to dress up merchandise and displays to other retailers.”

Victor Tobar
National Director of Retail and Purchasing, The Pleasure Chest

“We’ve seen a lot of really strong trends this year that have had a positive impact on business. From a products perspective, the increase in entry-level price point silicone toys has really impacted the way our customers shop and expanded the range of options available to customers. There are a lot of younger brands that are leaving a very strong impression on our customers, from filling a void in the entry- to mid-price range to introducing new concepts and technologies to focusing marketing on a bolder, younger audience. The increasing move toward online shopping has also challenged us to expand our scope in e-commerce. We’ve been working tirelessly to build up our online presence and create a shopping experience online that mirrors the customer-centric shopping experience our brand is known for.”

Justin Vickers
Head of Global Trade Sales, ABS Holdings

“This year, we’ve seen a real need for newness. Customers are looking for fresh new products and brands that are even more exciting — and that pushes the boundaries of what is currently on offer. This has been beneficial to our business, as we’ve been able to expand our catalog to accommodate new brands and limited distribution brands. And that has really set ABS apart from other distributors.”

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