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Getting to Know You

Written by Sara Carter. Posted in RETAIL EDGE

Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 11.56.33 AMConsultant and human sexuality educator Sarah Sloane goes over introducing the “next big thing” to your customers, one step at a time.

Every few years, a pleasure product comes along that shakes up our sales, inspires our customer base, and tops our sales charts. It wins awards, it brings new people into our stores just to check it out, and it seems to sell itself. We love it when that happens, don’t we?
But not all innovation brings with it the success it may deserve. Dozens of innovative products hit the market annually, and while all may be intriguing, very few become the Next Big Thing. Sometimes, it’s because what is innovative to one person is uninteresting to others. But more often, it’s because of a disconnect between the product and customers. The way to resolve that disconnect is to invest time, energy and marketing budget into introducing and educating customers about all of the amazing experiences the product can offer them.
All introductions must start in a personal way. You’ll need to introduce your product to the staff that will be selling it, to the distributors that will be fulfilling orders—or you may need to focus on introducing it directly to the consumers. It’s critical that every person you tell about it understands what makes it special. This can, of course, be done with traditional sell sheets; however, experience has shown us there needs to be a body of more personalized knowledge to really help the product gain fans (and sales).
Getting demonstration merchandise or sample products into their hands helps tremendously; people need to be able to make the connection between the product and their own needs or fantasies before they’ll be willing to purchase it. Especially when it’s truly groundbreaking, they may need additional information and a deeper understanding in order to buy. An in-store display is almost a requirement; better yet, getting the product into the hands of staff and reviewers who can then give a detailed recommendation and real-use tips to pass along to customers will help cement their desire to own it.
If you’re a retailer, ask the manufacturer or distributor to train your staff; with the ease of online webinars and video conferencing, trainings can be scheduled quickly and are affordable for any-size company. Encourage your staff to join in and ask questions, and include their ideas in your internal bulletins. You can even create an in-store display that hits the sales points in friendly, approachable language—not only for it’s benefits as a marketing tool, but to help remind your staff of the product features and selling points.
Manufacturers and distributors can support their retailers by investing a bit more time and money in initial launch, and focusing on the needs of their ideal consumers. Not every product needs to have multiple samples and detailed sell sheets; some can be sold effectively by using short videos that can be displayed on tablets in-store (or even a QR code that links to an online video, allowing the customer’s smartphones to do the selling for you). Larger items, and those with higher price points, are simply too unwieldy or expensive to effectively display; however, ensuring that the selling information is prominently and attractively presented is critical to getting customers to move past “What is that?” to “I need that!”
Regardless of where you are in the sales chain, keep in mind that our goal is to create a sense of desire in our customers—and with new products, you can help them discover a need they didn’t even know they had. An example: when We-Vibe hit the market, customers were initially puzzled; however, after an enthusiastic marketing push that showed customers how it offers hands-free vibration during sex, it’s become one of the best sellers in the industry. Taking the time to talk with customers about how your new product can shift their sex into areas they’ve never even dreamed of can help you build your sales beyond your wildest dreams, too!

Sarah Sloane is a sexuality educator, writer, business consultant, and trained personal & organizational coach with over 15 years experience in the adult industry. She offers B2B & B2C sexuality & product education, messaging & branding strategy, and business & personal coaching for educators, retailers, and entrepreneurs. You can reach her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or visit sarahsloane.net and sloaneconsulting.com.

 

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