With In-Person Events on the Horizon, Here’s How to Prepare

Trade show season and retail activities are returning to a new normal, which means it’s a perfect time to talk about how to optimize your trade show experience – whether it’s virtual or in person.

Below is a list of trade show tips and tricks to help you through your next show. Most of these tips apply to all areas of our industry.

  1. Prep is key

Meeting times are limited and can be short. Doing your homework ahead of time can pay off in the long run. Most show organizers send out a version of contact info that includes a website and main show contact. Do your research ahead of time and utilize that information to determine if a manufacturer is a good fit for you to meet with, and how you prioritize them in your schedule. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the manufacturer or show coordinator for any information you may need. Companies are usually happy to send over information prior to the show to help you out. Going into a meeting with a catalog can be a lot easier than trying to exchange information virtually or in person. This gives you time to review the material at your leisure.

  1. Stay on track with an online schedule

Use Google Docs or on your phone’s calendar. Once you get to the show, it can get hectic, and last-minute meetings pile on. Having a quick way to check your schedule is important and making one of these types of online schedules ahead of time means you can’t lose your paperwork. I go to so many shows, and inevitably people always lose the paper that had their schedule, and they are lost. Google Docs is free online, and you can utilize your schedule from your phone, anywhere you are.

  1. Make yourself and your team care packages to kick off the show

I used to have a manager build care packages for trade shows, Black Friday, or other big retail events. I always looked forward to them, they created great momentum and the treats always came in handy. Some ideas for treats to put in the care packages include: personal hand sanitizer, Chapstick, Emergen-C packets, lots of snacks for eating on the go, bottled water, a Visa gift card, extra pens and maybe a personalized item to make it feel extra special. The goal is to give your team the tools to be their best when things get hectic.

  1. Get yourself a cross-body bag or fanny pack

Yes, I said it: a fanny pack. We have so many things to keep on us, and we need our hands. These aren’t meant to carry a lot, but to keep the little things you always need on hand. Utilize your cross-body bag to hold treats from your care bag (see tip #3). You also need somewhere to keep your business cards, hand sanitizer, tissues, Chapstick, pens, compass, etc. There is nothing worse than losing all your pens or running out of business cards when you need them most. Having a little bag that frees up hands for other things makes life a lot easier. Carrying a big purse isn’t realistic, and we can do fanny packs together!

  1. Keep an energy or protein drink on hand

Don’t rely on your hotel room to have coffee or assume that you’ll have enough time to find some before your first meetings. Having a 5-Hour Energy to start your day can be huge!

  1. Establish break times

Trust me, future you will thank me. Make sure you have some little pockets of time between meetings to use the restroom and refresh or go sit for a few minutes. Take several 15-minute breaks throughout the day to stay hydrated, fed and feeling like the best version of yourself. Mark the time off in your calendar, so you don’t overschedule or cut into your break time.

  1. Put your “out of office” notice on your email

This can help you keep from feeling distracted by emails during the day, and your customers will know to expect a delay in response time.

  1. Make sure to pack a back-up change of clothes

For an unexpected dinner, lunch spill or anything else that might require a change of clothes. It’s nice to know you are prepared for social events if they arise.

  1. Bring extra luggage for all of your samples

Catalogs and paperwork add up fast, and often there just isn’t room in regular luggage. Have a special suitcase just for your trade show items like samples and catalogs. This also helps to keep you organized when you get home and unpack. Everything is already sorted and ready to take to the office.

  1. Have fun!

So much time and money go into making these events possible, why not make the most of it? You may be tired at the end of the day but try to go and get social with your industry friends. We don’t get to see each other often — especially not recently — so maximize your time together. Enjoy your next show and I hope to see you there!

With In-Person Events on the Horizon, Here’s How to Prepare by Danielle Seerley originally appeared in XBIZ

How to Bolster Sales Year-Round With Retail Holidays

With Black Friday/ Cyber Monday coming up, it had me thinking about the different retail holidays that are generally celebrated and how they translate from mass to adult retail and vice versa. These holidays generate high-volume transactions that — aside from Halloween costumes — are typically impulse purchases of $20 or less.

Does anyone need a themed item for each holiday to be cool? Probably not, but it’s fun to celebrate and that proves these items do exactly what they are intended to do. Themed products give the consumer a tangible connection to a holiday, giving it visual and emotional representation. These items aren’t just for the consumer to enjoy; they make a statement about who we are — a voice in a silent audience.

Every six to eight weeks, big-box retailers are rolling out new campaigns centered around upcoming holidays or events. These types of campaigns take a ton of resources, and that doesn’t equate to just money.

From a manufacturing standpoint, these holiday rollouts must be planned, executed and essentially completed by the time they are ready to begin. This takes resources away from essential everyday work. You are pulling people from product development, marketing, sales, planning, finance and shipping. Holiday merchandise and planning also carries a longer payoff time. You pay for all the up-front costs and wait 90-plus days longer to see revenue come in than a normal ROI schedule on a commonly produced item.

For once I think adult retailers have it a little easier. We can piggyback off the activity of major retailers to drive business into adult brick-and-mortar locations, feeding off “campaign energy” to catch a buzz with your audience. Below are some different ideas on how to participate in holiday campaigns on a variety of budgets.

Social Media. 

It costs nothing to make and maintain a social media account. There are apps or programs that allow you to re-post activity from your favorite brands onto your own page. This gives your social media a professional feel without spending a ton of money. It also keeps your branding uniform with the manufacturer making you a credible reseller. For a grassroots marketing approach, link up with a few other retailers or manufacturers to share databases. If you can offer a customer more valuable content for their viewing time, they will more likely retain the information you are trying to share.

In-store events. 

Creating themed displays are great ways to narrow down your product selection quickly for customers and give an organized and polished look to specific merchandise. Take it to the next level by creating an interactive customer experience. Can the customer see, touch, feel, create and experience the product and its product family outside of the packaging? Is it a solution-oriented display? Does the customer have a minimum level of engagement to receive free promo merchandise or materials? Store props don’t necessarily have to be expensive or high-end; they simply need to be a vessel in helping the customer create their own emotional connection with the product.

Community involvement. 

If you can’t bring people to your store or site, go to them! It’s not hard to find events, organizations, or charities that play host to your audience. Find an opening to volunteer or participate at an event. Let people know this event matters to your business and how they can join you.

Partner with your manufacturers, distributors or suppliers.

See if they have any gratis material or heavily discounted items you could pick up to help drive sales for the event.

Promotional material. 

It’s out there, in one form or another. Utilize what your above-mentioned partners have, in digital form or printed. If you have access to any digital library images, you can make your own social media or in-store promotional material.

Build the sale. 

You may not have any specifically-themed merchandise in your store or on your website. It may not make fiscal sense to carry fast fashion or impulse items of that nature. Find complementary items in your store that can be offered as an alternative or great add-on to something the customer may already own.

Which upcoming holidays and product categories will turn the biggest profit for you?

How to Bolster Sales Year-Round With Retail Holidays by Danielle Seerley originally appeared in XBIZ

Beso Flower Power Air Pulse Rose Vibe by Voodoo Toys

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Features:

  • Air pulse stimulator
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  • Simple One-button Operation
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  • 1 Year warranty provided by Voodoo Toys
  • Medical-grade Silicone

How Will the Delta Variant Potentially Affect Adult Retail?

No one is super thrilled about the rising surge in COVID cases and how it may potentially cause another major shift in business. This time, our industry has a chance to prepare for any major shutdowns and plan how to navigate potential closures. As of now there are no closure mandates going into effect, but what we are seeing is a surge in voluntary closures. Event cancellations (none that are industry-related) are starting to trickle in for me, and that means one thing — prepare.

The last time we went into closures and shoppers started locking down in their homes, it caused all of us to shift how we did business to be accommodating to what was happening in our world. This time, we have more knowledge about what we need to do to support shoppers who are starting to stay home and order online again due to mandated closures.

Here are some ideas on how to prepare for the Delta variant and how it may affect us:

Cleaning and sanitizing remain incredibly important

Keep up the good habits you developed when COVID first appeared. Extra traffic in stores means more germs, so keep those sanitizing wipes well stocked. Lysol and Microban are great products when it comes to disinfecting all contact surfaces after periods of heavy foot traffic. This may sound clinical, but it’s important to keep your store safe and customers feeling confident. If they see the actions you are taking to be safe, it reaffirms the decision to shop with you and spend money.

Look at your tester policy

A lot of stores have put testers back out. I’m not saying you should not put them back out on display, but I would advise looking at how they are being sanitized to make sure customers feel confident in utilizing them. Testers are such a key part of our business; it’s an extra challenge to operate without them. Instead of taking them off the floor, put in place a strict sanitizing policy for anything that might be touched by multiple people on the sales floor throughout the day. Let customers see you taking safety seriously and they will be more likely to do so as well.

Promote online shopping if you can

A lot of retailers were able to implement online shopping as an option when COVID started. Send an e-blast to customers and offer them a discount if they shop online to help with their safety. If you already operate an online store, try directing more traffic to it. This gives you an excuse to reach out and promote your business, while also showing that you are working to keep your community safe. If you feel your conversion rates are low in trying to get people to shop online, now is a perfect time to experiment with different promotions or reward systems to see what your customers gravitate towards. Retail forces us to experiment frequently to find out what works for our stores and teams.

Online shopping isn’t just a website; it can also be done via social media. If you haven’t explored how to set up shopping options utilizing social media, it is a great way to drive sales, promote products, sell things online, and educate customers. It’s not just for fancy pictures, but a tool to make money. Share pics of new products, do small training videos, highlight promotions or deals that customers can take advantage of. Let customers know that items can be shipped for a small fee and set up drop shipping from your store. Lingerie is a great example of something to post on social media to get people’s interest without sharing a hardcore sex toy image, in case you are worried about going against the guidelines on social media platforms. Want to share something on the more daring side? Find a program that lets you blur or pixelate the more realistic-looking items.

Utilize online trainings to include as many team members as possible

I’m hearing different concerns about people in stores being vaccinated or not being vaccinated — remove the barrier and focus on online trainings again. I know it can feel redundant to sit in front of the computer for trainings but implement small prizes for those who attend. A $5 Starbucks card or a similar small gift can be a great way to reward those who engage, and also encourage more people to participate. It’s a little thing, but it goes a long way in making things feel new and fresh.

Tune into your CLIENTELING

Remember what customers shopped for with you during the last time that the pandemic altered retail. Offer them specials for being a VIP customer, even if it is in the form of a discount code. This is also a good time to check in on your social media followers. Are you following your top customers back when they follow you? It’s a small relationship-building tool, but it can be so effective when it comes to personalizing someone’s experience with you and your store.

While I hope that we don’t find ourselves back in states of lockdown, we have the opportunity this time to be prepared and help preserve business as we know it during strange times. New can be scary, but it can also be good. Being forced to step outside our comfort zones can show us new ways to make money and drive sales in our businesses. I hope this article doesn’t cause fear but highlights some small steps we can do to keep business flowing.

How Will the Delta Variant Potentially Affect Adult Retail? by Danielle Seerley originally appeared in XBIZ

How to Excel at Clienteling in Your Retail Store

One of the most valuable things I learned in my past retail life at Nike was “the art of clienteling,” or how to keep client books to drive incremental sales dollars. Retail foot traffic is impossible to predict and relying solely on it for revenue can be stressful and create inconsistencies store-wide.

Clienteling is just a fancy way of describing the collection of data on good customers. It is a program that can easily be implemented and customized to fit your store and associates. Handing a salesperson a customer notebook and asking them to start clienteling right away is a bit unrealistic. The steps below will help outline a strategy for implementing a strong program in your store, one that can help sustain sales dollars and increase event revenue.

Where to start?

One of the goals is to create a program that sales associates want to use. Depending on your store budget, you could order client books that come with all the important sections: contact info, customer notes, calendar, sales goal sheets, and possibly monthly sales totals. You could also create client binders from common office supplies.

Some people may prefer a digital version, but handwritten has always been my favorite. Why? Because not everyone has access to store computers. Plus, you must invest in the cost of programs to manage your data, and it just does not have the same feel as a self-created client book.

Supplies checklist

To get a great program going in your store, you’ll want : Binders or tabbed notebooks, Sharpies, multi-color pens, stickers, colored Post-It notes, multi-color highlighters, and any other fun office supplies you can find that will help associates feel good and encourage them to customize their books. Amazon, Etsy and Pinterest all have client book supplies that are very affordable, and you can pick and choose what inserts and forms work the best for you.

My biggest tip that I can pass on is: Work with your team members to create a book that works for them. Mandating forms to use can be self-defeating and destructive to the program before it begins. Have fun with it and make it colorful and unique. Most of all, set a good example as store leadership and make sure you also create your own client book. You may not be on the sales floor as much, but you need to set the example on how clienteling works and utilize the clients you do have as a manager or store leader.

Create a “Customer Info” page that can include shoppers’ contact info if they are willing to give it, as well as their shopping preferences. Maybe the customer really likes pink wands. That is an excellent note to keep in their Customer Information sheet for when you inevitably get that pink wand in. This could also help create a special-order situation and generate extra revenue. Also include a monthly calendar to help track work shifts, store events, brand promos or spiffs, etc. — anything to help organize everything that is going on in the store for the month.

So, how do these client books work?

They are a safe space for documenting all your customer info once you get to know good customers or have specific customer requests. This hopefully will include their email and address, to which you can send thank you notes for larger purchases. It should also include notes you learn about the customer as you get to know them. Birthdays, color preferences, toy types, how or when they like to be contacted, anniversaries and any other dates they may mention during their shopping experience. Do not be afraid to let them know you would love to add them to your client book to keep in touch, to say thank you and also to keep them updated on upcoming store events they may be interested in. I also like to save a copy of each customer receipt in their customer notes section so I can look back over their purchases. When you have events, these client books can drive so many sales by ensuring your top and VIP clients attend. Making a call or sending a handwritten invitation is a great way to make your store stand out.

These client books can also be great for setting goals. It could be monthly sales goals, event goals, shift goals, spiffs, or sales awards. This is a great way to stay organized on how you are doing on each of these activities. Seeing the results captured in your own personal client book can be rewarding, and it’s also fun to decorate and use for documenting your progress. Keep track of spiff dollars you are winning to help stay motivated and on track!

Store leadership, create fun store boards to help track the progress of your team members in driving business through their client books. Set up sales contests around client book revenue, and work with your distributors and manufacturers for prizes. Finally, create a space in your store for everyone to store their books, one that makes them easily accessible for each transaction.

A store’s client program is exactly what you make of it — what you put in, you get out. I have seen small stores create a lot of business through clienteling, I have seen stores in the middle of construction save themselves through client books, and I have seen booming stores keep their status due to VIP customers continually spending money. Let your client books work for you and drive sales in our already booming post-pandemic economy. Now is the time to capture all that client info!

 How to Excel at Clienteling in Your Retail Store by Danielle Seerley originally appeared in XBIZ

How Retailers Can Leverage Distributor, Manufacturer Partnerships

One of the things I love most about my job is the interaction I get to have with our retailers and store partners. I especially love doing store visits and meeting you all in person and seeing your stores and wellness spaces. It reminds me why I love what I do, and most of that is based on the relationships cultivated within the industry.

I feel like there is more we can do to close the gap between what I see as the three beacons of our industry: manufacturer, distributor and retailer. Without all beacons being lit, there is serious missed opportunity within these partnerships. So, how do we leverage and utilize these relationships better from both a fiscal standpoint and a relationship perspective?

Manufacturers create a plethora of marketing support for their brands and items, especially new-release items or collections. Do not be afraid to ask what is available. I speak to so many store owners who wish they had more signage or want artwork with custom specs to create an impactful display. As a manufacturer, we love that! Please partner with your distributor in reaching out to us and asking for the printed marketing materials you want to have on hand.

I also work with a lot of stores that like to do their own printing for example at FedEx because they want to customize the signage. Let us customize some cool digital art for you, and you can print as many sizes or images as you want. It can be a challenge to get printed material from print source to the retailer. Ask your distributors to put you in contact with a rep that can help assist you with digital images that you can use in your stores for branding purposes. The quality of imagery and paper materials has improved significantly over the past five years — update your stores with all the newness you can get your hands on. Walking into a store that has faded posters from the ’80s makes shopping less appealing compared to walking into a store that has freshly printed materials. Keep in mind, there usually is not any cost to getting this signage; it is a matter of voicing your needs.

Social media is becoming a critical part of stores’ interaction with their customer base. Have you checked out your manufacturers’ websites to see what digital assets they have available? Manufacturers can easily create social media content for stores; usually we just need someone to ask us. We spend so much time and money on photo shoots and marketing materials — we want you to ask us for them. In fairness, distributors cannot manage all marketing aspects plus all product info for everyone. Lean on manufacturers’ assets in partnership with your distributor to get the maximum impact you can on social media. We cannot leave out one of the beacons or the partnership loses its harmony and balance.

Your distributor and manufacturer partners are an excellent source for curating training materials and in-person trainings for stores. We want to give you the information on our brands that are the most impactful, but also need your feedback on what works best for your store. COVID forced us all to get comfortable with online trainings; just because we are exiting the pandemic does not mean that we have to leave what we learned behind. If online training works best, stick with it. We do not have to let geography dictate trainings as much as we did in the past. Small stores deserve just as much knowledge and time as big stores — do not let your store size hold you up. It takes time to grow a business; trainings are a great catalyst to increase sales. It is important to keep associates fresh and motivated, and training and store visits are one of the best ways to do that.

The important thing about having harmonious relationships is the trust and balance. The trust between distributors and manufacturers is so critically important. When both partners are working in tandem, it’s such a great experience for the customer. When distributors are close with their manufacturers, it creates the opportunity for everyone to work as a group. One component cannot be left out or we lose the potential for revenue and growing our businesses together.

While we are not in the clear with COVID yet, we are a lot closer to normal than we were several months ago. Let us make the new normal look different in our partnerships and in the way we leverage them to create success for everyone.

How Retailers Can Leverage Distributor, Manufacturer Partnerships by Danielle Seerley originally appeared in XBIZ

How to Heat Up Sales With Seasonal In-Store Events

Summertime can be an excellent time to take advantage of fun events to keep your store hopping and drive some extra sales at the same time. Seasonal events throughout summer tend to be themed and can be incredibly fun and playful compared to more traditional holidays throughout the year.

May and June nontraditional holidays to consider include Masturbation May, Women’s Health Month, No Pants Day, Mother’s Day (for spa and body treats), Scavenger Hunt Day, Wine Day, Chocolate Ice Cream Day, Best Friends Day, Loving Day, Ros Day, Martini Day, National Selfie Day, National Kissing Day, National Pink Day and National Bingo Day. These are just a few of the many opportunities you can use to your advantage and utilize as store promotions to drive traffic in.

May and June are also the key months for Pride, especially June, which is National Pride Month. There are so many ways to be involved with Pride, whether you host in-store events, raise funds, or volunteer at events. There are so many ways to show our support for this important community. Mid-April is a great time to start looking at Pride-themed merchandise for your store, or other products and novelties you may not carry throughout the rest of the year.

There are also general themed events you could look at promoting that cover longer periods of time, which may be easier for your store to manage. Think Masturbation May, Anal August, Pride season, “Hot Girl Summer,” “Suns Out’ Buns Out,” and “Summer of Love.”

Why do events matter?

Events keep the sales floor fresh and give you genuine reasons to reach out and connect with your customers without it feeling like they are being solicited, as well as keep your customers coming back to your store. Think about how fun it is to go to one of your favorite retailers and find out they are having a cool sale. You end up spending more money than you intended, and also gain loyalty towards the store.

You don’t need to break the bank

Themed events do not need to be expensive productions to be successful. We are all working with different budgets and constraints; hopefully this article inspires you to find ways to incorporate some incremental income. Ways to engage with your audience that are cost-free include: social media engagement, eblasts, and event phone calls. If you have extra budgets for signage in the store or external marketing — great, but do not feel dependent on these avenues to promote your event.

One of the greatest pieces of information that I have ever been given when it comes to sales is: it costs twice as much to get a new customer as it does to keep one. This can be an immensely powerful thought if you think about all the work you do to maintain relationships to help grow your business, plus all the time and money you put into getting new customers. The wheel does not need to be reinvented; it just needs to be looked after and given some proper maintenance. If you have not seen a previous customer in your store in a while, the above-mentioned events are fun and easy ways to reach out and reconnect.

Encourage engagement

The goal is to provide a warm and fun place for customers to enjoy themselves, get the product and information that they are looking for, and generate strong sales for the store. Having fun doing what you do can be infectious for customers, and people spend money when they are happy. Events are also a great time to bring in some new product that you may want to test, and let customers know you are looking for their specific feedback. Not only do they feel like VIPs for being at your party, but now you are looking for their direct feedback and that says you value their opinion as a customer.

These are just a few suggestions to get you started for summer. Now is the time to plan for these events and hopefully this guide gets you headed in the right direction. May we all have the “Hot Girl Summer” we have been waiting for.

How to Heat Up Sales With Seasonal In-Store Events by Danielle Seerley originally appeared in XBIZ

‘Sextech’ Takes On a Bigger Definition in Adult Retail

 

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?

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 perfect 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 a lot of 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.

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 who 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 know what they are taught. Teach them what sextech in this industry really is.

‘Sextech’ Takes On a Bigger Definition in Adult Retail by Danielle Seerley originally appeared in XBIZ

How Adult Retail’s Community Bond Ensures Its Success

Thriving during COVID can seem a foreign phrase, but our industry has done just that. We have accepted the challenge of doing more, while doing it better in order to ensure that as many of our retailers survive while many other stores around us shutter.

What makes the adult biz so adept at surviving and thriving during these times?

We are a unified group, a solid moving unit, whether we want to accept it or not. Our work helps not only our own companies’ profit, but also improves the quality of life and sexual health of our customers. Essentially when we help ourselves, we tend to help each other as well. As companies, we prioritize our customers’ needs over our own wants. For example, as a manufacturer, we may not have a product you are looking for but can probably help you find that item by sending you to a friendly competitor. We can help and build each other’s businesses up instead of tearing each other down, and work as a cohesive unit to help a customer. Stay involved in our industry news via Facebook Groups P3, SPAM and the XBIZ Retail Community Group to make sure you are fluid not only in your own business, but also to stay on top of the industry’s hot topics to keep engaged and involved. This is what allows us to survive — immersion in all things industry-related.

Store, office and warehouse morale can be challenging to support and manage on a regular basis, let alone when you throw a global pandemic on top of it. Look at your traditional morale activities and see how you can modify them to be more impactful to your staff and team. People’s physical needs have changed but so have their emotional needs. Half of us are operating on fight-or-flight mode; take a minute to make sure your teams are grounded. Stability and support are important, but they need to feel genuine and effective. Manufacturers are readily available to help you with this issue. Let us do trainings, send prizes, do contests, run more spiffs, host virtual game nights, etc. If you do not have any fresh ideas or want to try something different, ask your distributors and manufacturers for help or inspiration. We learn and grow together in times like this. That is what makes us different.

Store inventory can be tricky during these times. Most stores are reporting significant increases in business and are having a hard time keeping up with inventory. Flex your buying power so your on-hand inventory can keep up with your extra traffic and shopping. With so many products out of stock, take this time to test and try new inventory. There may be several items that surprise you, and potentially outperform what you thought were top sellers. If you have concerns about trying something new, verbalize them to your distributors or manufacturers. My guess is most of them will work with you if something does not perform in your store that you were counting on. Dealing with back-order issues? Keep a log of top sellers in the store that are out, along with a customer list of who came in looking. Most people may not even realize it is an option to get called when their item of choice is back in stock. The extra effort for customer satisfaction is what makes us different.

Virtual trade shows seem too overwhelming to do online? Ask your distributor or manufacturer for a private online training customized to your store’s needs. If you don’t have the ability to gather everyone online, ask for printouts of product education sheets to build a binder of info. As manufacturers we are so happy to help with this and provide this type of retail service. Plus, hosting trainings are usually a great way for your team to get free product. All you need to do is ask! That is why we are different; we stay connected through thick and thin.

So, as we have this time of uncertainty during COVID-19, know this: We are different because we care far beyond what our jobs require, and that is what will ensure that we continue to thrive.

How Adult Retail’s Community Bond Ensures Its Success by Danielle Seerley originally appeared in XBIZ