Katya Secret, co-owner of the online sex shop “Katya’s secrets”:
The first week after the Russian authorities declared self-isolation turned out to be a failure for our business. The number of orders decreased by about seven times. I attribute this to the fact that people are not inclined to buy non-essential goods when they do not know what awaits them tomorrow.
Gradually, demand recovered, but buyers began to be more careful with money and more consciously approach purchases (for example, they use a loyalty program more often). It seems to me that in a pandemic, such changes in consumer behavior are cool and right.
A more serious problem for us is the dollar exchange rate. Suppliers raised prices by an average of 20% (especially premium brands such as Womanizer, We-vibe, Shunga). Many previously available toys have risen in price. Accordingly, we faced a choice: to raise prices following the suppliers or try to keep them at the same level, losing the margin of goods and profit. Now we are trying to find a balance between the two extremes, we are analyzing our product line, we are revising our pricing policy. You have to be flexible. It seems to me that this is the only adequate strategy in times of crisis.
In addition, concerns are caused by the situation with couriers. From time to time I read news that online store couriers are detained by law enforcement agencies in large cities, we have not encountered this yet, but we have a problem with Pickpoint pickup points, since many of them are located in shopping centers, which are now closed. We have to return the toys to the warehouse or transfer them to other parcel lockers, this complicates the logistics. Recently, we have been recommending customers to order contactless courier delivery.
Blanche, co-founder of Kinky-Party.com, burlesque artist, author of the telegram channel “Blanche about myself and the world”:
We, like everyone in the event industry now, are trying something new, and the first thought that came to our mind was to make an online broadcast of the party, which has never been done before. For her, we gather up to 30 people of our closest friends and regular guests whom we trust. These are people who are already experienced in kinky practices (spanking, shibari, male and female domination, role-playing games), who have repeatedly visited our events.
The video will feature kinky practices, but we don’t want it to look like porn in any way because it doesn’t fit our values. This is definitely not like the videos from the famous site. In the broadcast, we will convey the values that we profess, the main focus will be on kinky practices, games, interactions, aesthetics and beauty.
No one knows how long this virus will last, and because of this, it is very difficult to plan anything. But now we hope, if the online goes, to continue it (why not). In burlesque, no one adapts in any way. We were lucky, we managed to hold the Ladies of Burlesque event before the start of the general panic and quarantine (it happens once a season, that is, the next big show was supposed to take place no earlier than summer).
Now for the burlesque. The global burlesque industry is a bit horrified because many full-time artists have no additional income and work, and they all just sit at home. Someone uses this time to make a new suit, someone develops their “Instagram (The social network is recognized as extremist and banned on the territory of the Russian Federation)”, someone conducts training online. One American artist, Michelle L’amour, has started making online cabaret releases.
Nastya, consultant for a large retail chain in St. Petersburg:
“At the very beginning, sales jumped a lot, then they quickly sold out lubricants, toy cleaners and condoms, then there was a lull – few buyers came, but those who came bought large sums (“hot buyers”, who know exactly what they need) and now we are closed for an indefinite period, and if we are closed this week, we will suffer losses, but we will survive. If the quarantine is extended, the threat of closure is high. For more than 10 years, the network has been holding on, and now everyone is in a panic.”
Ksenia, Boutique for Two consultant in Rostov-on-Don:
“Revenues are worse than those of online stores and websites. On the day, 2-3 people maximum come for condoms or pills. I’m not talking about night shifts. I work here as a watchman, apparently.
Anastasia, consultant for a small retail chain in Moscow:
“Due to the regulation on the sale of essential goods, our store purchased two packs of laundry soap, pads, and wet wipes in order to carry out work. This is all that even a grandmother can sell on the street. In no case are we closing, they increased the number of working days for me, they canceled my vacation. If you want to keep doing business without losses, sell powder or diapers.
Olga Blinkova, marketer at Astkol-alpha (sex supplier), host of the proSack YouTube channel:
The new virus has made a difference as many countries have limited or closed flights. But our company tried to play it safe, and we do not lose hope that we will receive the goods. Much does not depend on us, with the introduction of a curfew, we will all sit at home, alas. We also forecast higher prices and slight delays in deliveries.
Demand offline has declined for obvious reasons, but online demand is growing, “masturbation boosts immunity.” This quote played into the hands of the adult business. Better to have fun in isolation! Apparently, many people think so.
I think that the offline segment may suffer as many will switch to online orders, but when the epidemic passes, everything will return to normal. Since the feeling of touching the material cannot be replaced, it is impossible to try the tastes of edible products and listen to the smell online.
Anna Rayskaya, owner of the VR-club for adults VRAYU:
We had to close the showrooms, it became impossible to receive guests in the studio. It is also difficult to deliver VR glasses, because we are in Moscow, and all of Moscow is in quarantine. The police stop the couriers and ask who they are and where they are going, moving around the city is not welcome. And the couriers themselves do not really want to directly contact people.
The delivery business is going through a very difficult time. But there is a cool but: we have increased sales of our player among those people who already have our software. Developers have more time to deal with them. So those who said that we develop our software prematurely turned out to be wrong. We developed it just in time and did it in advance, because now sales of our software via the Internet are very active.
You can read the full article here.
Photo: Getty Images