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November 06, 2017

‘Tis the Season for Sex Toys: Advice from SexToyDistributing.com

By Morgan Panzino The holidays are right around the corner, which means it’s time for stores to start preparing. As most of us know, gift-buying starts this month and kicks into high gear on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and this busy shopping window means adult retailers need to plan carefully! Be sure to keep key brands and items in stock (with overflow inventory, too) to prevent premature sellouts, and here are some specific tips from a seasoned distributor for how to get the most out of the holiday season. Distributors and Manufacturers Retailers are on the front lines but they can’t optimize sales without our help. Before the season starts, reach out to retailers with pertinent information, everything from discount promos to projected sell-outs. Give them last December’s sales trends and make suggestions for this year’s focus. Remind retailers what items pair well and which addons to stock up on. Placement is everything, so go the extra mile to help with in-store display ideas. The foundational support you provide on the front directly affects seasonal sales numbers while also strengthening your customer relationships. Pre-season Planning For retailers, it’s important to know what your customers want so you can stock the right things. It will also help you estimate the quantity you'll need to order. During the holidays, the year-round best-sellers are in the highest demand, and remember that this is a time of year when people are purchasing something extra-special for someone (or themselves). Higher-ticket “luxury” toys sell more briskly this time of year, so make sure you have enough stock for those last-minute shoppers who swoop in right before you close for the holiday. There’s always a rush right before Christmas so not only stock up on product, but be sure your staff is prepared and ready to have conversations with people trying to make a quick choice. And of course, running out of a top-seller at the height of gift-buying season will have customers walking right out the door, and they might not ever come back. Thinking and planning ahead is critical. On the Sales Floor This is the perfect time of year to upsell complimentary items. If a customer feels the lingerie they bought as a gift isn’t quite enough, have low-cost items at the ready they can easily add to the pile. Products like beginner-friendly bullet vibrators, cock rings, or even pasties or nipple decorations are great choices to supplement a lingerie or apparel purchase. Place these items in easy-to-see impulse areas like counters and end caps and don’t be afraid to create your own signage to draw additional attention. Another option is to pre-package small items together into all-in-one gift bags, especially items like lubricants or battery-operated vibes that might be getting close to their shelf lives and in need of a boost. Think of other creative ideas to remind buyers of complimentary items. Hang a sign in the dildo section that says, “Don’t forget the lube!” And anytime a holiday-related pun comes to mind, use it. ‘Tis the season, right? Store managers also should coach their sales teams on how to most-effectively help customers searching for gifts under a time crunch. This is critical for outlets that hire temporary holiday workers who are not as well-versed in adult products. Many gift buyers roam into stores with the intent of purchasing something but have no clue where to start, and one look at all the shelves might send them into a bit of a panic. One thing we can all agree on is that no one wants to look like a stingy gift giver; shoppers often want to dazzle their recipient, so show them something that sports the latest features, Bluetooth technology, or an item that’s been talked about in all the magazines. Recommending best-sellers often satisfies indecisive shoppers and, when in doubt, a shopper may be more likely to purchase something that has come highly recommended by trusted reviewers online, no matter how high the price tag might be. Use your smartphones or tablets to your advantage and have trusted reviews up and ready to show shoppers. Personalize the Experience Even though the sales floor will be incredibly busy, this is the time of year customers are most appreciative of attentive and knowledgeable sales staff. Gift buyers can be stressed and indecisive, and the last thing many want to face are more confusing holiday decisions. Aim to make their experience in your store easy and even fun. Make them feel like they’re being assisted by a personal shopper. Take customers around the entire store at their pace to consider options. Meet them where they’re at and stay there. And NEVER assume a thing; always ask who the gift is for and find out if they are a romantic partner or someone else. (You never know.) If the gift is for a partner, suggest the gift-giver make their present more of an experience rather than just a tangible item and pair together things like lingerie, a blindfold, or scented massage candles. Don’t forget to recommend a specific lubricant or toy cleaner if it’s known to be most compatible with the item(s) your customer is about to purchase. Packaging items like this can turn a gift into inspiration for an unforgettable evening. Catch the Impulse During the holiday season, customers linger longer in stores than they do other times of the year. A lot of this standing-around may be while waiting in line, which is the perfect spot for impulse items. Santa-themed panties, stockings, condoms, novel games, sexual enhancers, and sample-size products are a must-display in this part of your store. Success during the holiday season is crucial to your bottom line and it can take careful strategic planning weeks before holiday shopping is even a twinkle in your customers’ eyes. Attention to detail every step of the way is imperative, especially knowing what a hectic time it can be for people. Shoppers may feel stressed, so you need to address their needs accordingly. This means holding extra meetings with sales staff so they are well prepared. Distributors and manufacturers also should reach out with extra support before the season gets underway. Pre-season prep helps lay a solid foundation so you can get the most out of the holiday shopping rush. Morgan Panzino is wholesale supervisor at online adult distributor SexToyDistributing.com. Feel free to contact us via phone at (714) 907-1035 or by email at [email protected]

 
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