Staying at home has inspired many Aussies to experiment with new hobbies, renovate their homes and better understand themselves. The 'sexual happiness people', Lovehoney, spoke to Power Retail about the changing customer habits of Aussie shoppers as they spend more time at home.
It’s undeniable that Australians have spent more time in their own homes than ever before, and as the pandemic continues to rock the planet, it wouldn’t be surprising if it stayed that way for some time longer. As a result of this, the way that Australians shop has been changed forever. The impact of the pandemic has accelerated the growth of e-commerce and all of the innovations that come along with it.
Richard Longhurst and Neal Slateford started their journey to create Lovehoney 18 years ago in the UK and has now expanded to a worldwide customer base of more than 540 million.
“Richard and Neal were industry friends and worked together to secure the rights to manufacture and sell the official Fifty Shades of Grey licence. Following the successful launch, we tested a dedicated Lovehoney.com.au website around seven years ago, with immediate results,” said Rob Godwin, the Director and Head of Operations at Lovehoney Australia.
Lovehoney prides itself on its customer experience, with innovative features in place to make the customer journey easier. “One of the major things that sets us aside from our competitors is that we are truly customer-focused. We make our shopping experience simple, easy and enjoyable, and appeal to a wide range of customers by ensuring that our brand is not discriminative or intimidating,” Godwin explained.
“Not only do we offer the best customer service response times in the industry, but also industry-leading customer service features.”
During the height of the pandemic, the Lovehoney office was forced to work from home, much like the rest of the country. “When the restrictions began, we provided all our staff with a remote working induction to help identify ways they can work smarter from home. The whole team has come back with some fantastic ideas and actions to put in place to ensure they are not only working more productively but also ensuring they are creating a good work/home life balance and keeping themselves happy and healthy,” Godwin told Power Retail.
With these rapid and necessary changes come the chance to learn something new, as Godwin explained. “The key learnings for us really cemented what we already practice as a company – loyalty, trust and honesty with our customers and employees. It really does make a difference,” he said.
The pandemic has shut stores across the nation, and for those in Victoria, the need for platforms like e-commerce are more necessary than ever. Lovehoney, which has offices in Queensland, has experienced a surge in online orders.
“There has been a strong surge in new customers purchasing online which is encouraging for online retailers, and I expect to see an even bigger shift to online purchasing,” said Godwin. “People can see how easy, efficient, and discreet our service is, and I predict that, as a result, the long-term growth in our category will be strong.”
Online retail is rapidly developing as we speak, with innovations rolling out continuously. “I think this time will really highlight the convenience and speed of online shopping for consumers, and companies will be looking at new ways to become more competitive in their online offerings,” Godwin explained.
“I see retailers becoming more innovative and working smarter, utilising new technologies, platforms, and a stronger reliance on things such as influencer marketing, combined with ATL advertising, to get their message heard.
“In our industry specifically, the pandemic has led to more people trying and experimenting with adult toys for the first time and sex isn’t going to go out of fashion – we foresee people continuing to purchase and become more experimental. Now there is more awareness and people have experienced a positive and easy retail experience, they will continue to buy online.”
Of course, some challenges need to be handled, and one of the major setbacks that retailers are experiencing with the pandemic is logistics. “I think the biggest challenge for e-commerce businesses falls within logistics – this continues to be a global challenge with supply chain disruptions and greater wait times for the delivery of international orders,” he said.
Godwin’s advice for retailers during this time relies on the local sourcing of stock and working with local suppliers to prevent any future issues for logistics.
“Although there are challenges, I also see a wide range of opportunities for business,” Godwin added. “This includes higher frequency purchasing from existing online customers, new customer bases emerging, and new users entering the online retail sphere.”
For the adult industry, e-commerce has become one of the leading platforms for customers to try out. “I think we will see a continuation of people moving to online purchases, especially in the adult industry, and retailers responding to this demand,” Godwin told Power Retail.
“Where people would normally go to their local adult store to purchase products, they have had to change their habits. Now they know that they can do this online with confidence from the comfort and discretion of their own home, and have access to a larger range of products, more information, lower costs and next day delivery. Why would they go back to the old ways of buying?”
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