U4Ria – Singapore

By on July 1, 2015

Vital Stats

Company  :  U4Ria – The Adult Healthy Lifestyl e Shop

Founder/Owner: Benson Goh & Lincoln Chua

Established  :  August 2000

Head Office  :  Singapore

Staff  :  Ten

Stores  :  Three brick & mortar stores

URL  :  www.u4ria.com.sg  & www.femmefatale.com.sg

How did U4Ria first start?

Back in Year 2000, topics about bedroom activities and adult toys were still taboo in Singapore, few would openly discussed their inadequacies or fantasies!  We knew that there was a genuine need for adult toys to aid couples in achieving better sex lives and improve their relationships.  So, it was no longer a want but a need, and we wanted to be the instigator and the trail-blazer!

What sort of stores and locations do you have and why?

We started a brick & mortar store at the heart of Orchard Road, a famous shopping strip in Singapore.  We have carefully chosen to be off the street level, on the second floor, so as to provide maximum privacy for customers.  Huge attention on street level is not necessary  good for customers who prefer no preying eyes.  Our first store at Midpoint Orchard is also opposite the Somerset mass rapid train (MRT) station, and right in front of a bus-stop.  It is a very convenient location, especially for tourists from South-East Asia.

What does a typical day at U4Ria look like?

A typical day at U4Ria starts off even before the door opens at 11am.  We start packing online orders (mainly from the early hours after midnight), housekeeping and replenishing stock.  We get ready by reading up new product reviews, feedback.  Whenever we have walk-in customers, that’s when the fun starts, as we like to engage customers in small talk, find out about their issues, likes and dislikes, first-timer or experienced customers.

What are a few of the key variables in order of importance to ensure the best chance of success in adult retail?

  • Customer service – Good customer service requires our staff to be knowledgeable about our range of products. Being patient, proactive and having a good listening ear are the essential ingredients of good customer service.  Unlike online stores, retail staff can give advice and dispel doubts for walk-in customers.
  • Wide range of products – We would like to think that we are just like the Walmart of adult toys. We have over 9000 products, from as low as S$16.00 for a simple one-speed vibrator to a few hundred dollars for a luxury vibrator.  From the most ordinary adult novelty to the most outrageous BDSM toy.
  • Dedicated and motivated staff – Having dedicated and motivated staff, will naturally translate to a positive experience for customers, even for the most demanding customers.
  • Good support from suppliers – Suppliers who have been giving us good support play a big part in our ability to give customers the latest play toys available.

What makes a great store location in your country?

In Singapore, being at a discreet location rather than being highly visible is important.  As the majority of the customers are still quite shy, we have to be away from the shopping crowd.  Yet at the same time, the store must be easily accessible by public transport.

Does U4Ria target a specific customer demographic? How would you define your customer base?  Which regions or countries do you sell to?

Our customer base would be mainly working adults from all walks of life, across gender, sexuality and races. We also sell to nearby South-East Asia countries, and as far as the Middle-East countries.

How do you ensure your sales staff are educated on the products they sell are and motivated to sell?

We encourage our staff to read up on product information and reviews.  In addition, we also have variable performance incentive to motivate our staff not only to sell, but to match the right products with the needs of customers.

What makes a great adult retail staff member?

Being energetic, sociable, ability to understand what exactly does the customer need, and with a touch of humour to defuse potentially awkward moments.

How do you find new staff?  

We advertise the opening online and on classified ads in newspapers.

What do staff most love about their jobs at U4Ria?

While we pay above market average, the most important thing is that they are very satisfied when customers return to thank them on their recommendations and have improved their sex lives tremendously!

How often would U4Ria change a store layout or re-merchandise?

About once in two to three months.

What proportion of your stock or sales is new product versus existing stock that you continually re-order?

30% vs 70%

What trends has U4Ria observed in adult pleasure products?

Moving towards interactive sex toys for couples who are far apart, harnessing the latest technology.

If we look at your adult retail business 5 years ago versus now, what changes do you see and how have you responded to them?

More luxury toys; and customers are more internet savvy.  Thus requiring staff to upgrade themselves continuously.

What are some of the best things U4Ria has done?

That we were ready and well placed to serve customers who were and are new to BDSM toys when the movie – Fifty Shades of Grey came to town.   Even customers from Malaysia and Indonesia come to us for our huge selection!  Be it Japanese Shibari or electrosex products!

What have been some of the best moments at U4Ria?

Being recognized as the one-stop shop in Singapore.

How does U4Ria keep informed about adult pleasure products?

From Synergy Mag Australia!  Also by attending tradeshows and meeting up with suppliers.

What makes a successful product?

Good design, attractive packaging, good material, durable mechanism with a discreet drawstring pouch!

What have been some of the best selling items of all time for U4Ria?

We-vibe 4 Plus, Rocks-Off bullets, realistic replicas of Japanese AV Pornstars, and bondage toys inspired by Shades of Grey.

Have you observed a trend toward luxury or premium product and where do you see that going?

Yes we certainly see that trend extending into the future.  Like designer handbags, more and more renowned brands will expand in their luxury toy category, people may want a ‘Birkin’ vibrator sooner!

How do you view the trend toward online shopping and the changing role of the physical shops?

Unlike bigger countries like USA and Australia, Singapore is a tiny dot on the world map, you could zip from east to west in less than an hour.  So coming out to feel the vibration, touch the surface and hold it in the hands are the deciding factors.  Therefore, more people will use online stores to find out the details about a particular product, but will still make a trip to the physical store to see and feel the real McCoy.

How is U4Ria responding to the rise in ecommerce sales?

We have a web developer and a team of tech savvy staff to manage our ecommerce sales and do social network marketing.

What are the characteristics of the market for adult pleasure product in Singapore?

Female customers are bolder now, asking more pertinent questions and willing to spend good money for a good piece.  Many are willing to try mild BDSM products, fantasy costumes and sexy lingerie.  The LGBT community is also coming out of the closets and seek out pleasure products suitable to their needs.  More mature customers are catching up with lost time and into the swing of adult toys too!

Are there any challenges, legal or otherwise, particular to operating in Singapore versus Australia?

Porn, nudity, videos, magazines are still not permitted.

What advice could you give someone intending to start in adult retail today?

Go get a real  job if you want to have quality family time, TGIF, watch movies or go fishing or golfing on weekends, have a beer after 5pm, or go for a week long vacation.   The short answer is- be prepared to give up lots and lots of your leisure time.  Which means working on weekends and public holidays.  If you really want to start a business, buy mine!  LOL!





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