Gem Retail Hotlist: Adult Toy Megastore balances insights with privacy

  • News
  • August 19, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Gem Retail Hotlist: Adult Toy Megastore balances insights with privacy

Privacy is a key concern of customers across every category, but perhaps none more so than those shopping with retailers like Adult Toy Megastore. Manager Nicola Relph shared more detail about how the online adult product retailer gets the best insights out of its data while respecting customers’ privacy.

Privacy is the number-one concern of the Adult Toy Megastore team, says Relph: “We know that once you’ve broken that trust, you can never get it back.”

“Discretion, privacy and being innovative is all really important for us.”

Adult Toy Megastore’s commitment to privacy goes all the way to the tiniest details – products are unobtrusively packaged, marketing emails are sent from ‘Sophie at ATMS’, and credit card statements cite ‘ABL’ instead of Adult Toy Megastore.

It was an early adopter of NZ Post’s new Parcel Collect initiative, which offers customers the opportunity to pick up their parcels from central locations like supermarkets or gas stations.

“From a discretion point of view, someone might be like, ‘I don’t want to send it to work – even though lots of our parcels go to workplaces – and I don’t want to send it to home, but I’m going past the Z station so I’ll pick it up from there.”

Relph says the key to getting useful insights without compromising privacy lies in pooling data and analysing it as an aggregate. This means insights can be discovered without any individual customer being identified.

“Individual data is not our thing. It’s about groups of data so privacy is respected.”

“Measuring whatever we do is the important thing, so we’re doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t work,” Relph says.

Back-end data innovation at Adult Toy Megastore includes an Artificial Intelligence engine created in-house which assesses pricing in the market so as to provide customers with the best possible prices.

“When we talk about being competitive, we can put our hands on our hearts and say, ‘You know what? We are very competitive.”

Carrying out the same approach manually would not be possible, says Relph: “With 14,000 products, it’s very difficult to do anything manually.”

As an example of how data insights can improve the customer experience upfront, she talks of introducing ‘hotkeys’ to Adult Toy Megastore’s search bar. Behavioural data showed many customers liked to go straight to the search bar, type in what they want and have their desired product appear, but it also showed that many shoppers now preferred to log on via mobile over desktop.

Typing into a search bar is trickier on a mobile, Relph says, so the team introduced hotkeys – a list of suggested searches based on what customers are commonly looking for – to offer shortcuts.

Data is also used to manage Adult Toy Megastore’s ‘Pleasure dollars’ loyalty scheme. Relph says she’s noticed shoppers prefer a more involved process when they shop, so the scheme rewards not only purchases but engagement with content like articles, reviews and surveys or polls.

“I suppose it depends what you’re shopping for, but in our industry, people want to be involved in the process,” Relph says.

Content is increasingly important to Adult Toy Megastore, says Relph: “More and more people are seeking good solid information.”

Relph says it’s about “making adult shopping just like you would if you were going to the chemist or buying sunglasses, making it more real.”

Another opportunity identified through data is buy now pay laters. Customer feedback clearly indicated a desire for access to this service, but it took “a bit of convincing” for Adult Toy Megastore to successfully partner with Laybuy. 

“Our customers absolutely loved it,” Relph says. “It was great to be first to market in our industry with that.”

Adult Toy Megastore is one of three finalists for 'Hottest use of data’ in the Gem Retail Hotlist's Technology category. Voting is now open for the People's Choice award – click here to cast your vote!

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