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As Director of Purchasing for the Déjà Vu Adult Retail Group, Megan Swartz dishes on rechargeable items, brand awareness and mainstream displays, as well as Déjà Vu’s plans to keep customers physically in stores. 

(Note: This “Store Spotlight” is a brand new section that will appear in upcoming issues of SE Magazine. We will be highlighting well-known multi-unit adult store brands from across the US, featuring interviews with key players within these organizations. Each of these brands has a story to tell, and it will be the goal of these Store Spotlights to tell the story of some of the industry’s most successful multi-unit store operators.)

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When it comes to anything “adult,” Megan Swartz is a veteran. Having worked for two adult nightclubs and three erotic retail stores for the Déjà Vu Adult Retail Group over the span of nearly two decades, she has seen just about every different type of demographic when it comes to pleasure.

And within the retail realm alone, Swartz, who now is the Director of Purchasing for the Déjà Vu Adult Retail Group, has been privy firsthand to market changes. She’s seen trends come and go, and has her finger directly on the pulse of what’s selling now, and what trends are emerging.

STOREROTICA spoke with Swartz to gain her unique perspective on the growth of adult retail in Sin City, the most popular products currently being sold to Déjà Vu’s customers, and what specific product segments she thinks will define retail in the years to come.

SE: What are some of the biggest changes and/or shifts you’ve seen in what type of products are the most popular? (For instance, DVDs are not as prevalent in stores as they were, let’s say, 10 years ago.) What specific product, or types of product, have you seen the most significant growth in the past few years? By contrast, what products have under-performed?

Chris Lerner, left, and Megan Swartz

SWARTZ: I have seen the most significant growth in rechargeable items. Ten years ago, the only rechargeable items available were made by Lelo and cost consumers anywhere from $100 to $200. Now, nearly every manufacturer creates rechargeable items, some as low as $20 retail.

SE: How does Déjà Vu handle the issue of the lack of brand awareness from customers? For example, a woman may know that she wants a vibrator, but has no idea what separates one product, or one vendor from another?

SWARTZ: I wouldn’t consider lack of brand awareness an issue. Lack of brand awareness makes it much easier for us to persuade the guest into purchasing what we think might be best for them. Most guests come in with an idea that they would like to increase their pleasure but with no real direction. This gives us the opportunity to educate guests and wow them with our knowledge. 

We try to create displays that you would see in popular stores so that we may feel relatable to the guests, right from their first impression. This helps create that comfort that we would like all guests to feel. We try and offer an elevated experience, much like you would expect from a high-end jewelry or designer purse store. -— Megan Swartz

SE: What is your store’s philosophy on hiring and training employees? What type of training do they receive, and how important is it that they know how to talk to customers about something as private (and potentially, as embarrassing) as their sex lives and/or sexual preferences and fetishes? 

SWARTZ: The most important thing we look for in a potential associate is personality. We expect most applicants are not very familiar with our line of business and we are completely fine with that. We do extensive training in each department to arm our new team members with the necessary tools to be successful in our business. Personality, however, is not something we can train. They need to possess that to be considered. It is very important that our new team members understand how to approach and talk to our guests about things that are very private to most. You have to walk a fine line of finding out the guests’ needs to properly product pair without being intrusive. You have to allow the guest the time to ease their way into opening up. This takes time and patience. It’s part of that wow experience we offer our guests. We take our time with each guest to make sure needs are met and we train this from the start. 

SE: What separates a Déjà Vu Love Boutique, especially your store, from any other “adult store” that someone might walk into? 

SWARTZ: Our product selection, product knowledge and salesmanship definitely separates us from most of the adult stores I have been in. Also our cleanliness, brightness and ability to have fun with our displays. We try to create displays that you would see in popular stores so that we may feel relatable to the guests, right from their first impression. This helps create that comfort that we would like all guests to feel. We try and offer an elevated experience, much like you would expect from a high-end jewelry or designer purse store. 

SE: How can adult stores battle the issue of “showrooming,” where customers come in, find what they want, then look for a better price for that product on Amazon or another website?

SWARTZ: I don’t know that we will win that battle, but ultimately we must adapt in order to keep the customers in our brick-and-mortar stores. We will generally honor any coupon for any other like-minded business as well as price match up to 40%. We also explain to the guest that they could be receiving used products or fake products from the internet. They also might have to pay shipping. We offer product testing in store and the guest gets the pleasure of that product they choose the same day. No waiting 3-5 business days for your orgasm to come in the mail. 

SE: Does your store sell much lingerie or other intimate wear? Is apparel still a viable area of inventory sales, and if so, which brands and/or styles are performing well?

SWARTZ: We sell a very large amount of lingerie and dancewear. My particular location is in the heart of all of the local strip clubs and we have a huge customer base of exotic entertainers. Some of our most popular brands are Mapale, Lapdance, Leg Avenue, Bodyzone and Dreamgirl. 

SE: The Déjà Vu Love Boutique is located directly next to a Déjà Vu Showgirls club. Is there a symbiotic relationship between the club and the store? How does one help the other?

SWARTZ: We both cater to customers looking to have a good time. The clubs cater to those looking for that public excitement. We cater to those looking for that private excitement. Both however are filling a gap in the guests lives. We definitely help each other out by recommending guests to enjoy a drink and a dance in our club once they are done shopping and the club always refers guests to us to find something to take home with them at the end of the night. 

SE: What do you think will be the biggest area of growth for adult products in the next 5-10 years?

SWARTZ: Luxury toys are becoming increasingly popular and I expect that to continue to grow and products to continue to evolve. 

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