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Sexual Happiness People: The Lovehoney Story | #089

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Sexual Happiness People: The Lovehoney Story
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Nathan Bush is a director at eCommerce talent agency, eSuite. He has led eCommerce for businesses with revenue $100m+ and has been recognised as one of Australia’s Top 50 People in eCommerce four years in a row. You can contact Nathan on LinkedIn, Twitter or via email.

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Rob is an experienced award winning eCommerce Director with a history of creating and establishing market leading companies. With 19 years experience in B2C and B2C companies, Rob is highly successful in running international business. Leadership and delivering significant growth and profitability are Rob’s main strengths. Strong business development professional skilled in implementing major marketing plans expanding sales channels, operations and systems management, with extensive experience in providing advice and guidance to leading brands.

In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Rob Godwin, Director and Head of Operations at Lovehoney, an online adult store and global leader in sexual happiness. Rob established Lovehoney’s Queensland office and website in 2013 and it has since grown to become Australia’s leading and largest adult retailer, as much a resource for credible sexual health information as a place to buy sex toys..  In this episode, Rob takes us behind the scenes at Lovehoney to share how the world’s attitude changed towards sexual wellness during COVID, how the sex industry leads much of the innovation that we see emerge in other industries and why inclusion and diversity is key to his, and Lovehoney’s, mission.

We have our six core values and one of them is you can never know enough about sex

Rob Godwin

Questions answered in this episode include
  • What are the unique challenges for an eCommerce brand in the adult retailer space?
  • What medium and messages work best for Lovehoney to acquire new customers?
  • Are you ever surprised by any products you stock?

Good sex life = happy mind!

Just before COVID we did a sexual happiness study and out of 3,000 respondents around the world, 1,000 within Australia. Just asking general questions and over half the respondents said having a good sex life is good for your overall health. But really drilling into our data, what was fascinating was 25% said having a good sex life, helped mental health.

I think during Covid when people were basically locked away from their friends, family, colleagues et cetera, being able to accept, it’s okay to have a good sex life, it’s okay to have self pleasure. That really did break down those barriers and the walls to acceptance really.

Our sales of silent vibrators had a triple figure growth.  There was again a spike in the acceptance or introduction of bondage as well. All these smaller spikes within the general growth in our category, in our business, was very much encouraged during Covid. 

Oooh really?  I must tell you about my recent fantasy…

We were so fortunate and during Covid people bought food, alcohol and sex toys. We went from 28 staff to over 60 during the peak season.

It hasn’t always been that way. I’ve worked as a CEO of SEXPO, I’ve also done the licensing for 50 Shades of Gray and various adult products and films around the country for the last 18 years. You have three types of people when you meet them.  The first, you’ll tell them what you do and they’ll do a 180 u-turn and walk away.

You have a second group of people that you’ll tell them what you do and they’ll change the subject, or ignore what you’ve said. Then the most interesting group is you tell people and they go, “Really, have you got X? I need this. I have this issue” or “I would like to do…” And suddenly you become the agony aunt, the sexologist to them and you find out their deep darkest, desires, fantasies, requests in the first two minutes.

I would prefer the third group of people. But it is seeing how the industry and how the public perception is changing. Where now, people go you run a really cool company. And you go, “thank you very much.”

Staff Empowerment and free sex toys!

Our staff, they are empowered, they’re all given individual responsibilities to deal with customers at the time. Most customers that call up will have an issue, generally or an inquiry. The inquiry is to be taken on a positive journey. But if it’s an issue then it tends to be “where’s my order?”, or “my order’s broken”.

We empower our customer service staff to make the decision immediately, not, “I’m going to refer it to a manager”, so they will refund freight, they will give you a full credit, they will send you out a new product, straight away, that very same day.  That for the staff is such a positive environment. 

Because we are the sexual happiness people. If our staff can’t be happy, how do we expect our customers to be happy?  I think there’s the expectation of a fun environment. We’re talking about sex here, we’re talking about endorphins. 

But also I think the culture of what we do and how we do it, precedes us. We have staff barbecues every month. We have three dogs in the office most days. We have a PT that comes in once a week to train the staff. We have the staff box, which is fantastic. Any damaged packaging or end of line products, it’s free for the staff. They never have to pay for an adult toy. Or if they do, they get 50% off, brand new.  I think our reputation is already set before the staff, there’s anticipating and then there’s excitement to start.

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