There has been so much buzz lately about the cool things our industry is doing. For example, our celebrity endorsements, product mentions in Forbes articles, and winning design and business awards (outside of adult) — most notably for the new wave of “sextech” products.
How does publicity help retailers of all sizes, and what can you do to make this “product hype” work for you?
Sextech is not just about Bluetooth connectivity or apps.
Any time a product receives mainstream attention, we all cross our fingers and hope it is our brand or a brand that we carry. As manufacturers, we hope our product placement has paid off, or one of the partnerships we work so hard on comes to fruition. As retailers, we hope we have the right products at the right time, and that the hard work of filling and maintaining a store with a curated inventory becomes both possible and profitable.
What I hear though is that stores are worried that they do not have said mainstream popular products and I am here to tell you, you do! Sextech is not just about Bluetooth connectivity or apps. It is about the types of motors being used, waterproofing, remote capabilities, product warranties, thrusting, gyrating, vibrating, etc. It is all the components you have in your everyday pleasure product and toolbox. Your manufacturers have taken care of the “tech” part. Do not feel as if your inventory is any less important because you do not carry higher price point items, or you do not have what you consider “fancy” product. You have everything you need to show your customer the technology our industry is infamous for now.
In turn, I also see stores spend way too much on what they think are “sextech” products, only to have them sit there because they stand out, and not in a good way. There is no perfect solution to what the perfect product assortment is. It is a constant method of trial and error, and getting comfortable isn’t an option when new products come out as fast as they do for us.
Testers are a key part of showing off the sextech you currently carry. Partner with your distributors and manufacturers to make tester sections a main priority in your store. Show your customer what these toys are capable of. Maybe it is a 28-speed wand they are looking for, or a 20-speed dual-stimulation suction toy. Perhaps a remote panty vibe with an insane range, or a warming stroker with extra features and benefits. This could be a new-to-you customer that really wants a product with above-average waterproofing features they can travel with. Easy! You have that in your stores, but probably do not think of it as a “sextech” product.
Incorporate magazine articles, award mentions, publicity promos, etc., into your displays. If you carry a product that was nominated for or won an XBIZ award, show it off! This type of reinforced buying knowledge builds credibility with your customers. They may not choose the item that receives the hype, but the fact you carry that caliber of product is what is most important. If you need help finding printed materials to use, ask your distributors and manufacturers. It is so easy to make something like this for a store, and when one person wants or needs it, it probably means others do too.
Put an “award” section in your store that is not just employee favorites. Curate it with signage and information that shows why these products stand out! Start a rewards program in your store and include specific items each month that help customers accrue points towards winning merchandise. This helps focus their attention outside of what they were looking for, and to buy into your store and its branding.
The technology advancement in our industry is part of what makes us what we are. We continually improve our products, regardless of how good our options become. We want more, we want better, and we want it faster. We spend so much time on educating each other and ourselves on the wonderful benefits of our brands and items. Let these everyday technologies work for you in the way they are intended — to seamlessly fit in and complement your other product inventory.
Customers continue to get savvier as their ability to access data and information on product grows. In turn, retailers are training and educating their customers at a much more elevated rate than ever before. What we need to remember is that these customers understand.
Danielle Seerley, aka “America’s Sex Toy Sweetheart,” is the senior sales executive for Shibari Wands and Voodoo Toys.