Our managing directors Eva and Jan Vinzenz Krause on the potential of condoms in the erotic retail trade
Condoms are certainly not to be imagined away from erotic retail stores, but it is obvious that they are no longer in the focus as it used to be the case. Yet the potential of these products is great, as Eva and Jan Vinzenz Krause, managing directors of Vinergy GmbH, explain in this interview. They give tips and advice on how this potential can be tapped and used to retailers' own advantage.
Mr. Krause, condoms are available from numerous manufacturers, but you are the real pioneer of custom-fit condoms. It is obvious that condoms belong in every erotic specialty store, yet the impression is created that they have been marginalized by other products - especially love toys. Is this observation correct or an exaggeration? And what role can your customized condoms play in this context?
Jan Vinzenz Krause: Perhaps people don't think primarily of condoms in connection with erotic specialty stores. But I am convinced that every well-stocked erotic specialty store should have a diverse selection of condoms as part of its attractive range. From the 1970s to the 1990s, porn films were the main sales driver in erotic specialty stores. The Internet has changed that massively. People are increasingly watching porn online. At the same time, the variety of love toys has increased dramatically, they have become acceptable. In my view, the toys have created more space for eroticism. And here, of course, condoms are a very important element.
What do you say to those who say that condoms are offered, sold and bought everywhere today - in e-commerce, drugstores, etc.? - and it would therefore make no sense to pay too much attention to these products in the erotic retail trade?
Jan Vinzenz Krause: Most erotic products today - toys, lubricants, lingerie - are offered in e-commerce and other sales channels. In the same way, however, you can find lubricants and toys in addition to condoms in many drugstores today. These are very good and important offerings. However, I am convinced that an erotic store offers a completely different ambience and has much more consulting know-how about the products. During my numerous visits to erotic stores, such as the ORION specialty stores, I am always impressed by the knowledge of the sales staff. Customers benefit from good advice because it can ultimately help them have better sex.
How can the erotic retail trade make better use of the potential of condoms? How can the topic of 'condoms in the erotic market' be breathed fresh life back into?
Jan Vinzenz Krause: To make better use of the potential of condoms, I see a combination of good advice, the right product and additional sales around the topic of condoms. To do this, however, the condom has to get out of the taboo zone even more. Here, the erotic market could give the entire topic a boost with its own offensive.
How can the erotic retail trade communicate the messages that come from condoms - the saying "safer sex" - more effectively?
Eva Krause: Government organizations, such as the BZgA (Federal Center for Health Education) have been intensively promoting safe sex and the use of condoms for years. In my view, Germany is very exemplary in this respect. The erotic retail trade can build on this and help people find the right condom through its advisory function. Because a condom that fits as well as a second skin feels better and safer. And only when the couple feels comfortable during sex will they naturally reach for the condom.
You offer numerous tools that retailers can use to draw attention to the condoms of your MISTER SIZE brand. What are they exactly?
Jan Vinzenz Krause: We are the only condom manufacturer to offer very comprehensive solutions and suitable tools for every purpose. Even our packaging design is a guide to the right condom size. The different widths of the blue stripes indicate the required size on the shelf. This works without having to measure. For the stationary specialized trade, the Size Guide is used with a removable measuring tape in a display stand. We have now equipped over 150 ORION stores in Germany with this system. The Condom Sizer is a great tool to introduce people to the topic of condom size in a fun and entertaining way. We use the Sizer at events such as parties and trade fairs. We make it available to our sales partners in seven languages. Our latest development is the test set: three condoms in different sizes with a measuring tape in one package. With this offer, our distribution partners can earn money right from the start.
Can you tell us about your experience of how retailers use these tools and what success they achieve with them?
Jan Vinzenz Krause: The Size Guide is very well received by customers. And the Size Guide in the display is already being used in many specialty stores. It will be used in more and more specialty stores. We now offer it in over 10 languages. We get a lot of good feedback because it is a simple tool that we provide free of charge to retailers.
To what extent do you coordinate the design of your tools with the needs of retailers?
Eva Krause: During the development of the display for the Size Guide, I was in intensive exchange with the ORION specialty stores. Our first prototype was initially too big. In addition, we only had it in one language, German. With the feedback from the ORION stores, we improved the display and incorporated their wishes into our current product. In addition to retail, we are of course getting feedback from customers and sex counselors.
Particularly when it comes to condoms, it's also a question of specialist knowledge and the advice that has already been discussed here. What does your support look like in this regard? Do you offer product training and sales training?
Jan Vinzenz Krause: You are addressing a very important and often underestimated topic. When it comes to safe sex, you can't do without condoms. And the more and the better dealers and users know about it, the better the success. I, too, am always getting ideas that I can then pass on in training courses. When I'm traveling in Germany, for example, I also like to drop in spontaneously at erotic stores, which leads to interesting conversations and dialogs. In addition, since Corona we have been relying heavily on online training, which we offer via Loom On Demand. The sellers can watch our videos, which we have designed under 5 minutes. And via Zoom, I also conduct live training sessions of 45 to 60 minutes, where I can then respond more to questions. A highlight at the end of our trainings is the live condom production, where I make a condom out of liquid latex in front of the participants. After that, there should be no more questions left unanswered.