What Can Retailers Do for a Successful Start to 2021?

2020 was a roller coaster of a year! Retailers faced a unique blend of challenges with the pandemic, lockdowns, anxious shoppers focused on safety, and a struggling economy that officially entered into a recession in February 2020.

2021 may feel uncertain. But there are things retailers, both online and brick-and-mortar, can do to prepare for a successful year. Allow me to share some options to consider in order to increase your sales.

Retailer Reservations

People are becoming used to booking reservations online and feeling the need for a more private shopping experience. Brick-and-mortar stores can create a reservation system to provide shoppers who are reluctant to wait in lines with a more private and casual shopping experience.

Online retailers can go one step further than utilizing customized chatbots to make consumer product suggestions. Shoppers can sign up for one-on-one shopping calls with store employees. Safety-conscious consumers can make appointments to speak with educated store employees to find the products they need, which can be conveniently delivered right to their door.

Curated Collections

Consumers are becoming more educated about intimate matters and want to give new sexual experiences a try. Many consumers have no idea where to start when it comes to choosing products to match their needs.

Offering specifically curated collections can not only be helpful to shoppers, but it can also appeal to the emotional side of people looking to make personal purchases and needing guidance. Being able to offer this level of shopping experience with strategic recommendations can allow your customers to purchase exactly what they need for Kegel exercises, prostate play or expanding sexual horizons.

Perhaps your curated collections can be seasonal according to shopping patterns. Retailers can create a section of their store to spotlight a certain sexual topic, while online shops can create a microsite within their site dedicated to a specific product category. Gucci created its own site-within-a-site for their 2018 Spring/Summer collection and Aesop’s Taxonomy of Design allows shoppers to browse materials, colors and texture collections according to their preferences.

These steps can create better connection between you as a retailer and your customers, who could really use your advice and guidance in the upcoming year.

Immersive Customization

You’ve helped your customers choose the perfect products and then — you just usher them out the door. I suggest maintaining that customer connection and building loyalty by taking things a step further and providing your customers with additional tools to fully immerse them in their experiences.

This means creating custom downloadable playlists, providing information on how to set the stage for date night, and offering a discount on a companion product to something they’ve bought. Consider downloadable coloring pages that depict a sexy scene or an educational anatomy lesson. Supply them with a video link on how a beginner can wrap bondage tape.

Use your imagination and ingenuity to provide a little something extra for your shoppers that can give them a more immersive experience and allow them to better enjoy the products they’ve purchased from you.

Partner Projects

Have you considered partnering with a bridal shop or venue to provide discounts for the bridal party and information on what products can make the happy couple’s honeymoon an incredible event? Or partnering with a yoga studio by offering discounts on Kegel exercisers that can be worn during pelvic floor classes?

It’s time to look to your own community and see how you can partner with other businesses to better serve shoppers, which can increase your bottom line in return. Consider trying a pop-up partnership with another business to gauge how this may work for you and your store. Join your community’s “shop local” program team.

Find your community connection and partners whom you can band together with to make 2021 a better year for shopping experiences.

Subscription Economy

We’ve all seen subscription services go from pharmaceuticals to beauty products to snack boxes to about anything under the sun, including bacon. According to the McKinsey & Company consulting firm, 49 percent of shoppers are currently using a subscription service of some sort.

Subscription services thrive because consumers see the vital need for a particular product and want to make sure they don’t run out of it. The great part about subscription services are that they can be counted on for long-term income. Being able to charge shoppers’ credit cards on a regular basis can help give retailers peace of mind.

Consider setting up a subscription service for your customers. Start with essential necessities like condoms, lubricants, toy cleaners and enhancement products. Listen to subscriber feedback and add or remove items to make your offerings match your shoppers’ goals. Services could be expanded into seasonal sex toy shipments as well.

Easy to Locate

Research from Statista shows that in-store conversion rates are higher than online conversions (20 percent versus 3 percent). Their research finds that stores are making it easier for shoppers to find what they need and receive the in-person assistance they’re looking for.

Both in-store and online, retailers can benefit by making products easy to locate. Consider grouping product types together and educating store staff (or supplying online content), which can make it simple for consumers to finalize purchasing decisions.

2021 Successful Start Recap:

  • Retailer Reservations
  • Curated Collections
  • Immersive Customization
  • Partner Projects
  • Subscription Economy
  • Easy to Locate

Be Flexible in 2021

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we all need to be more flexible. Make your retail operation a priority in early 2021 by trying a few new ways to increase sales and modernize your business. Seek ways to provide better customer interactions and build loyalty. Be open to partnering with others that can provide your business with a stronger base.

Retailers are important not only for the economy, but for the health of communities everywhere. Make 2021 your year to think outside the box and create unique shopping experiences to connect with your customers. Make things personal this January and take steps to jumpstart your retail success.

What Can Retailers Do for a Successful Start to 2021? by Dr. Sunny Rodgers originally appeared in XBIZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.