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

Why Wand Massagers Are the Go-To for Retail Sales

 

It has been a minute since I have talked about one of my personal favorite toys, the wand. With a significant boost of both customer interest and dollar sales in this category, it seems like a good time to bring them up again.

Wands, to me, are the “little black dress” of sex toys. They are a staple of every store and what I believe to be a favorite in most customers’ toy collections. Why are wands among the biggest must-haves for stores right now?

They are a bigger part of the overall wellness movement in retail, rather than just being another sex toy or vibrator option. They provide therapy for a large range of body issues, making them a highly dual-purposed item for customers to consider. With so many brick-and-mortar stores looking to transition from a sex toy store to a wellness boutique, products like wands matter. Being able to host non-sexual sections such as sports therapy or general wellness items, can often provide a soft spot to land for customers who do not quite know what they are looking for, or where to start.

“Wands are the ‘little black dress’ of sex toys.”

Wands have so much variety to choose from. Before you say “OMG, not another wand,” hear me out. There are wands of all shapes and sizes, and while it is not realistic to carry every brand, you should have a small variety of core wand shapes and sizes, as well as different price points. Carrying one brand of wand can be a disservice to both your store and your customer, while carrying too many wands can be overwhelming and leave someone at a loss on where to even start. We are fortunate that our industry is well versed in this category and you can truly find something for your store and still have it feel unique for your customers.

Something else to consider is how far wands have come in the last few years. We are all familiar with the classic two-speed style, but what about some of the new features that wands now offer that make them highly competitive with the rest of the items in your store? One of my favorite features is the new digital interface available with some wands that let you customize your experience. Via customer feedback, I’ve long heard about how challenging it can be for customers to scroll through speeds and settings so these new digital interfaces can be the solution that customers have been looking for. I also love the waterproofing and sound reduction feature on most wands. More power is bound to have a bit more sound, but for what we ask of wands regarding performance, sound is minimal in comparison. I also love that silicone has found its way beyond plush wand heads and now covers the arm or handle of the wand. Being fully covered in silicone makes wands feel and look more luxurious, allowing for those higher price tags along with added comfort for long-term use.

Do not be fooled into thinking that some of these smaller compact wands can’t compete with the patterns and power of their larger counterparts. Small and mighty is my favorite go-to if I get the opportunity to help someone on the sales floor while out visiting a store. Having a small powerful wand that is wireless to go with you anywhere, waterproof to take in the shower, and compact enough to throw in your purse or bag hits all major bonus points for me. The price point on these smaller wands is also a big perk — lots of power without the price tag.

Attachments! I think we get so focused on building the sale in retail, we forget what a cool add-on attachments can really be and often overlook them. I think of adding on an attachment as doubling the value of your wand. For example, if you add on a stroker, you now potentially have something for him and her. These types of wand add-ons make the wand multi-use for a small additional purchase. No other toy section has an attachment concept like wands do; use it to your advantage. Have a customer who is not sure what they want? Suggest a wand and a G-spot attachment to offer internal and external stimulation. Let your customer experiment and play a bit without investing a ton of money so they can come back and buy what they really want!

My last bit of advice on how to help people choose a wand: Show them just the head and explain the type of vibration each wand has. Having the handles with all the buttons and cords can over-complicate a sale that does not need it. Let the customer feel the vibration while the wands are all lined up together so they can see what you mean about deep and rumbly, versus fine and pinpointed. Show them how the attachment can help change the feel of the vibration, building the sale from the very beginning.

Wands can be your best friends on the sales floor if you let them! Try picking out a favorite wand in the $50, $100 and $150 categories to help keep your opinion open to more than just one brand or option. These are great price points to group together and keep a wider audience for your wand customer base.

I hope you all have a little black dress in the toy world you go to and maybe after reading this article, wands will be it!

 

Why Wand Massagers Are the Go-To for Retail Sales by Danielle Seerley originally appeared in XBIZ

Bullet To The Heart 10 Function Bullet Vibe by Voodoo Toys

Designed for solo stimulation or play with a partner, Bullet To The Heart is a straight shot to reaching the big ‘O’ every time.

Powerful and pocket-sized with a rounded tip, the ten modes of vibration hit the mark for targeted clitoral, shaft, or nipple stimulation.

The smoothly polished ABS surface is offset with a glam rose gold metallic detail and becomes extra slick when used with your favorite lubricant.

The USB rechargeable Bullet To The Heart is waterproof for fun in & out of the water and easy cleanup.

Features:

  • Petite vibrator
  • 10 vibration modes to suit any mood
  • Polished ABS Rose Gold Metal Detailing
  • Quiet & Discreet
  • Waterproof
  • USB Rechargeable – charging cable included
  • 1 Year Warranty provided by Voodoo Toys
  • Body-Safe ABS Plastic and Silicone with Metal Detailing
  • 3.49” x 0.88”

COVID-Friendly Strategies for Retail Staff In-Store Learning

If there is one sales activity that both stores and manufacturers seem to truly bond over, in my opinion, it is during store visits and trainings. With COVID continuing to spread, many stores are going to see another period of closures, or modified store openings. Not only has business been thrown into disarray but so have some of the fundamentals that keep us motivated and energized from day to day.

How do you remain compliant with COVID but also consistent with your business culture when it comes fostering a learning-based environment for continued product or new product education? Here are a few ideas to help your stores and teams!

If you are fortunate enough to remain open, look at your in-store training binder or brand binders. Having a central place to keep all product information across all brands you carry is a great way to engage all team members in sharing consistent information. Training material can get diluted once it is passed down from manufacturer to store associate. Having data directly from the manufacturer can preserve the integrity of the information as well as ensure your team members find the information credible and reliable. If you have not started a store binder-type training center in your store, I highly suggest you start one. Have some fun with it and make it decorative and fun so people want to engage with the information. Have stickers or other rewards for people to sign off once they have reviewed the information. I have seen info binders that were dedicated, and color coded to specific brands and updated monthly. I have seen others that were divided by brand and organized alphabetically — it really comes down to the easiest way you can consistently manage the information and being able to constantly add and edit the information. Check out Staples; they have some great options at decent prices to help you get started. Pinterest is also a great resource to download and print free forms.

Reach out to your distributors and manufacturers and ask them for a list of their training materials and resources. There are probably a lot of new materials your partners have come out with since COVID that you could add to your binder, to take place of in-person store visits. If you need something from a brand that you can’t find, don’t be afraid to ask. Often, as a manufacturer we are eager to give you the information we have, but don’t always know the most effective way to share the information. By stores and teams asking for specific needs, it helps guide us when creating and developing training materials for our products.

Dedicate some time in each person’s weekly schedule to allocate to watching training videos at the computer. It sounds silly, but how often have you meant to sit down and watch a training video but just never got around to it? If you dedicate an hour or two of time for associates to watch online resources, the pay-off in the end is worth it! A few hours off the sales floor is probably what employees would have spent in the first place having in-store trainings. Don’t be afraid to play around with different ways to share and incentivize product education. Ask your manufacturer for training or sales contest prizes; you might be surprised at how many donations you are able to gather. A great option is to make a post in the Pleasure Professionals Place Group on Facebook — it is hosted by industry vets Paul Reutershaun, Tamara Bell and Steve Sav. Post about your training wants and needs and see what people come to you with.

If you are one of the lucky stores open and want an in-person training, there are reps very eager to travel. Please let us know if we can come visit! Visits always equal fun gifts and prizes for your team.

Product education isn’t just about learning about a new product; it’s about the quality of shopping experience you offer, the pride in ensuring your associates are at the top of their game, and knowing that you make a positive difference in someone’s life when they shop with you!

“We have to learn to grow, to grow to learn.”

COVID-Friendly Strategies for Retail Staff In-Store Learning by Danielle Seerley originally appeared in XBIZ

It’s Time to Include Orgasms to Your Beauty Routine!

Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash

Yes, you read that right. Orgasms and beauty go hand-in-hand in so many ways.

Back in 2011 our collective queen, Lady Gaga herself, said, “Orgasms, lots of orgasms,” when asked what her beauty secret was. There is some major validity behind this! Read more below.

Let’s start with #beautysleep. It’s no secret that having an orgasm before going to bed can help you fall asleep and help you get a good night’s sleep. So get your 7-8 hours, you’ll be sure to see improvements in your skin! You know what to do if you’re having issues falling asleep 😉

What do orgasms do for your skin? Well, you know that post-orgasm glow? That’s not just a placebo, baby girl! During sexual activity , you’re all sorts of excited. So high levels of the hormone cortisol can have a very negative impact on our skin (think acne). When you orgasm, you release oxytocin. Oxytocin helps reduce cortisol. Math and science, bbs!

Glow up and Lip Plump?? Yes, please! When you orgasm, your blood gets a-flowin’ and guess what? That results in that post-orgasm glow, it can help plump that pucker, and increased blood flow also has other benefits such as healthier looking hair (yes, our hair follicles has blood vessels!).

Anti aging… If you’re on a quest for the fountain of youth, look no further than your own body. Orgasms raise levels of estrogen in your body, which helps prevent the decrease of collagen.

So what’s the lesson here? AN ORGASM A DAY KEEPS YOUR BEAUTY PROBLEMS AT BAY

It’s Time to Include Orgasms to Your Beauty Routine! Originally appeared on Pleasure Blog

Plug Walk Weighted Metal Plugs with Gem Adornments by Voodoo Toys

Weighted and made using high-quality alloy and acrylic, Plug Walk is a luxurious experience for the wearer.

Each size is designed using a classic spade shape to fit your personal preference and tapered for easy insertion.

The multicolored gem at the base adds a dash of flash and elegance.

Ideal for temperature play when prepared in warm or cold temperature and conveniently suitable for all lubricants.

Wear with your lover for a night in or for longer if you’re going out first and feeling adventurous.

Features:

  • Classic spade-shaped plug with gem base
  • Highest Quality Alloy & Acrylic
  • Completely Waterproof
  • Storage Bag Included
  • 1 Year Warranty

Available in 3 sizes and weights:

  • Small – 60g – 2.75” x 1.1”
  • Medium – 91g – 3.3” x 1.26”
  • Large – 160g – 3.5” x 1.57

High-quality alloy and acrylic

How Can I Improve My Relationship During Covid?

While we enter into month 9,485 of whatever 2020 has brought us, the concern of the moment is: how are your relationships going? This can be a significant other, a family member, a friend, a roommate, or what have you. There are countless studies on relationships, but not so many on how to deal with your relationship during a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic.

So what can you do to help 1. your mental health and 2. your relationship?

Set boundaries and a schedule. Yes, it feels weird if you haven’t done this over the past 6 months of quarantine, but please try. We promise it will help your sanity and it will help set a structure. For at least one week, try to set up a structure for everyone in the house to follow. This is especially important if you have kids (school will hopefully help this).

Morning: try to start by moving! If you are still working from home, try to start with a walk to move and leave your home for a bit.

Create a lunchtime and stick to it!

Afternoon: make sure you get your work or school done.

Make dinner structured and maybe even fun! Try to divvy up the dinner duties and chores among whoever is in your home. Trying different recipes can be a fun way to to mix up staying at home.

Evening: Create some wind-down schedules. Maybe your home team would work well with different themed nights (Movie Mondays, game night Thursdays).

Prioritize “me time” for everyone in the house.  This was important B.C. (Before Covid) and it’s even more important now. If a structured schedule outlined in the first point above works for your home, make sure that “me time” is included. Use this time to go to different rooms (if available), or alternate using a room for this purpose. You can also go for walks in your neighborhood, at parks, or beaches.

Make sure to branch out your social circles (yes, virtually). Your inner circle can get very small very quickly and time turns into a blur, right? Make sure to maintain the other relationships that are important to you. Set up Zoom dates with family and friends who you are unable to safely spend in-person time with.

COMMUNICATE in the bedroom and out of the bedroom. As always, communication is key in any relationship. If you’re feeling up, down, out of it, whatever, share that with your people! If you’re with your significant other, make sure the lines of communication are open mentally and physically. Keep the flame going, whether that be role playing or buying some new toys, all is important. Maybe try adding some sexy time to your schedule – whether that’s with or without a partner.

Keep your beautiful chins up, babies! We can get through this together.

How Can I Improve My Relationship During Covid? Originally appeared on Pleasure Blog

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