Adult Retail Chain Execs Focus on How to Win Over Customers

LOS ANGELES — The blueprint for success for some of the top adult retail chains is to exceed customers' expectations before they walk out the door.

That was the recurring advice given by the chains' top executives at the “Best Practices: A Blueprint for Adult Retail Success” seminar, which kicked off XBIZ Retail Expo in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

The session, attended by a standing-room-only crowd, included advice from Castle Megastore’s Mark Franks, Hustler Hollywood’s Theresa Flynt, Good Vibrations’ Joel Kaminsky, Adam & Eve’s Bob Christian and Peekay’s Phyllis Heppenstall.

Sid Grief, an industry vet and board president of the Free Speech Coalition, moderated the seminar.

"Today you need more customer respect management," said Heppenstall, who noted customers are more knowledgeable about the products they sell, as well as price points.

"But they also need to be educated, and sometimes it's just the basic elementary things we forget about that turn customers off," Heppenstall said.

The Peekay founder noted she recently was at a company store where all the parking was used by the employees, leaving customers circling the block.

Christian of Adam & Eve said his company has a "GAME plan," using the initial caps of the following: "Our staff must greet people, ask questions, make recommendations and educate.

"This is relationship selling; not traditional selling," Christian said. "It's a subtle but huge difference. We try to exceed customer expectations."

"I've always hear that the second sale to a customer is the most important sale; that's the one where you captured their heart."

The seminar offered an added perk to some members who offered questions to the panel: they each received either a business motivational book or a hardcover edition of a book written by Adam & Eve founder Phil Harvey, "The Government vs. Erotica: The Seige of Adam & Eve."

XBIZ Retail Expo, which is in its second day, draws buyers for three days of world-class seminars, product debuts and showcases and unlimited business-networking opportunities inside the event’s intimate venue, the luxurious Sofitel Hotel across from the Beverly Center.

An expanded exhibiting hall will include suites on the hotel’s 10th floor featuring the industry’s leading manufacturers, which showcases their latest and greatest product releases.