�
You are here: Home » Adult Webmaster News » Online Retailers: Using Tech to Stay on Top of...
Select year   and month 
 
August 29, 2016

Online Retailers: Using Tech to Stay on Top of Trends

This article originally ran in the August issue of AVN magazine. Jeff Dillon knows there are advantages that brick-and-mortar stores will always have over their online retail counterparts: customers can look at the products in person, touch them, ask a store associate questions and have instant access to their purchases. “How we try to close this gap is have as much product info on the site as possible about the products, like multiple pictures and detailed descriptions,” says the vice president of business development and marketing at eLine.com and consultant for Gamelink.com, adding that fast shipping, good customer service and a good return policy helps customers’ confidence in that they won’t be stuck with a product they aren’t satisfied with. “The online retail experience offers customers more choices than ever before. Our catalog is constantly growing—we add roughly 200 to 300 products a week. As the adult market grows, more companies are getting into the business, and established companies are diversifying their offerings. Many of the traditional video companies are now offering sex toys, penis pills and lingerie to capture more customers,” Dillon says. “Our biggest advantage over brick and mortar is that we collect a ton of data on our users and we can dynamically merchandise the site based on user preferences. This data also allows us to market more effectively to the user. We know if that user is a toy customer and movie customer, what type of content they like, etc. And we present the users with products that they are interested in through our various marketing channels and up-sells.” Dillon notes that improvements in technology allow them to use one-to-one marketing instead of a one-size-fits-all approach. Gamelink can make intelligent recommendations based on a number of different data-collection points, and can do targeted email marketing. When it adds a product to its catalog, it can message the appropriate users who will be interested in that product. Erik Schut, managing director for TLA Entertainment Group, says the more advanced technology becomes, the better for consumers. “It certainly helps to determine faster what’s selling, what motivates people, what turns them on, what they love, what they hate. But it also helps in communicating with customers better. In this ‘now-now-now’ of today’s world, patience doesn’t go as far as it used to—and still should—so that direct contact is key. Social media has changed everything, in ways both good and bad. Anonymous trolls often have a field day. But any retailer who’s not on some type of social media platform and not interacting with their client base or customers is doomed to fail.” He adds that when it comes to the online retail experience, customers are also seeing a stable, reliable source. “With so many new sites and aggregators popping up on a daily basis, maintaining the customer’s loyalty needs to always be tops on any retailer’s mind. With more and more people going mobile, companies need to stay nimble and evolve at a quicker rate than they might have in the past.” SugarInstant also relies on technology to optimize the experience on both ends. “Technology today has allowed us to create a smart recommendation system,” says Natasha Valiente, business development. “Eighty percent of users make selections based off of recommendations. Because of this, each individual customer is offered personalized and relevant recommendations based on the aggregate of all consumer data. This allows for a better user experience, and shortens the time between landing and conversion,” But she notes that the DVD market continues to face a big challenge. “We quickly noticed that consumers coming to our site were seeking digital downloads and instant streaming over physical DVDs and other products. For us, instead of trying to maintain consistent DVD sales, we shifted our focus to offer better digital content to our users,” she says. “The greatest advantage we have over brick and mortars is we offer instant gratification. In 2012, and with the upsurge of Netflix and Hulu, we made the decision to focus on our unlimited streaming service. This allowed users instant access to HD content at the push of a button, surpassing DVD quality and eliminating the waiting period for new DVD rentals between shipment from us to the customer and back.” They also discovered a great influx of new daily consumers after adding exclusive live cam shows to the site. “The models offer a unique sense of human interaction that cannot be found anywhere else on the web. Also, as technology improves, cams will grow to be more immersive and social, which is why this is a trend that won’t fade quickly,” Valiente says. “We have high expectations for VR and the future of adult e-commerce. We imagine an immersive experience where the consumer can watch and interact with the content, while at the same time purchasing a DVD copy of that content, buying the toy that a performer is using in a particular scene, and sharing with the world their experiences at the same time through social media.” But regardless of what brings consumers to the site, online retail vendors need to make it a smooth transaction—where appearance and functionality go hand in hand. “Because of the nature of the adult business, we need to offer the best visual experience for our users, from HD images on our site, featuring the best and most attractive box covers, to having an overall visually appealing and easy-to-use site.” Dillon concurs, noting that sites have to be easy to navigate. “If it isn’t, the user will leave. Plain and simple. One thing to keep in mind is that users access sites across multiple devices—cell phone, tablet, desktop—and it’s important that the user experience remains the same. This is why having a responsive site is important in today’s day and age.” Megan Wozniak, director of marketing for Adult Empire, says that consumers expect retailers to be available 24/7 across multiple platforms to provide a seamless, real-time experience that’s consistent across all touch points. “We live in a visual world. Provide users with clear navigation and visual consistency. If a user is confused by the site, that feeling will make a site appear less attractive. A site without quality images will not get the customers to check out.” She notes that sex toy innovation is one of the key trends driving the sexual wellness market right now. With exposure growing due to the internet, television and erotic novels, consumers are less inhibited about experimenting with sex. “We’re in a major technology-driven retail shopping transformation, and the way consumers make purchasing decisions has been altered drastically. E-commerce has exploded, bringing shopping literally into the palms of consumers’ hands. Consumers these days spend more time than ever on various devices, and their interactions are more measurable than ever,” Wozniak says. “Technology is shaping how consumers behave and interact with brands, and consumers are challenging retailers to keep up. Understanding shoppers’ behavior is key for success. E-commerce personalization is the next generation of the customer experience, and it’s what consumers are already beginning to expect.” In terms of “hot” content, Dillon notes that the trend is going back to bigger-budget movies with a higher production value and a better storyline. “At the same time, there is a growing amateur content community. It’s interesting to see both the high road and the low road being traveled. In regards to products, we are seeing a trend toward male-orientated sex toys and education around use of male sex toys. The sex toy market has traditionally been dominated by women’s toys, buy more men than ever before are buying and using sex toys, and this is fueling that market growth.” Valiente adds that consumer tastes have changed over time. “Compared to a decade ago when hardcore gonzo porn was our bread and butter, films that have natural lighting and color balance, younger and attractive models, and a cinematographic feel get the highest engagement from our customers today. We feel that these higher-end, couples-friendly productions will continue to grow in popularity, mostly due to the fact that the current generation of porn directors and producers are aware that men and especially women are more open about exploring sexuality and are willing to spend their money on more premium products.” But for Schut, it’s a far simpler scenario. He says that while the adult industry is always worried about trends or what’s hot now, that doesn’t matter as much anymore. “Trends fade, what’s hot today looks idiotic tomorrow. What the industry needs to do is go back to basics—finding the niche that you’re really good at and running with it. And the best advice that seems to be heeded less and less: Make good content. Put out shit, and the public will let you know it’s shit—their shopping carts will be empty.”

 
�
�
�
home | register | log in | add URL | add premium URL | forums | news | advertising | contact | sitemap
copyright © 1998 - 2009 Adult Webmasters Association. All rights reserved.