Wanta.net – Hong Kong

By on February 9, 2016

Established : 2002, Founder/Managing Director: Chris Lee. Head Office : Hong Kong, Staff : 17, Stores : 1 online and 2 brick & mortar, URL : www.wanta.net

When and how did you first start your involvement in adult retail?
We started off by only selling condoms back in 2002. During those years, logistics in Hong Kong were not ready for e-commerce, therefore I had to choose some products that would be able to slip into the customer’s mail box. After some years as our business improved, we started to import adult toys from Japan and we also setup our own delivery team.

What are your store trading hours/days?
Causeway Bay shop: 12 noon to 11:15 pm daily
Central Shop: 12 noon to 9:30 pm daily

What task do you do on a daily basis/weekly/monthly?
From programming, purchasing to marketing. Basically anything.

What do you love most about your adult retail business?
Customers are nice and easy going, product return rate is low.

What is your least favourite part of running the business?
The running cost of conducting business in Hong Kong has been rising tremendously, such as rent, construction etc., these costs generally cannot be reduced. These things have made ‘Return of Investment’ so poor, that many creative projects have been postponed.

What are some of the best things you has done?
We have been trying to bring adult toys into households and we are glad that we have seen some positive results, although adult toys are still not so popular in HK. We are proud of having a nice adult toy shop on a main street in Central. When the central shop was under construction, some neighborhood business owner passed by and said, “you expect people just to walk into this shop and buy toys?”. I was scared. Fortunately, customers really do walk in casually. Of course, there are people that are afraid of coming in.

What have been some of the best moments at Wanta.net?
Ha, Im still waiting for it to happen.
What are a few of the key variables in order of importance to ensure the best chance of success in adult retail?
Carefully choose your product when purchasing, there are too many products out there.

What makes a great store?
Good image achieved by good design and good construction. Great and helpful staff via training. Demos in store for customers to touch & feel. We always try to ask product brand owners to support us by providing product displays and demos, this is very important for getting customers to know their products. Some suppliers really understand this and are generous on supporting display & demos, brands such as Bswish and Je Joue are good partners.

What variables define a great store location?
Easy to get there.

What size are your stores? In square meters? Describe the fit out and why this design?
The store is around 25 square meters. We wanted to have a store that is modern, not erotic but comfortable, we chose to use white color plus wood as the main construction elements for the shop, so the shop would be clean and bright. At the same time, the wood would provide some warmth to the customers. The fassade has also being designed to “let people feel what the inside is like”, but “cannot actually see the people inside”.

Does Wanta.net target a specific customer demographic? How would you define your customer base?
We serve all kinds of customers.

What proportion of your sales is repeat business vs new business?

I don’t have the exact numbers but I know we have a lot repeat customers.
Are your sales staff trained and how do they present themselves to a customer?
Yes, they are trained. We trained them to understand all the products, how to deal with defect items, how to recommend products etc. Of course we would include teaching them some small but important things, such as, “how to correctly insert the batteries”. Do not underestimate the number of people that need help on batteries.

What makes a great adult retail staff member?
Calm and polite. These are the minimum requirement for us.
How do you find new staff?

We recruit through our own website only.
What do staff most love about their jobs at Wanta.net?

They love seeing different kinds of customers and seeing happy repeat customers. And internal staff discount for buying products!

If we look at your adult retail business 5 years ago versus now, what changes did you see and how have you responded to them?
We are glad to see a lot products have been more modernly designed in the last 5 to 7 years, these have certainly been helping bringing in more customers into the market that thought adult toys are ugly. On the other hand, there are more and more very similar products on the market, and this is a challenge to select and carry the right products.

How often would you change a store layout or re-merchandise?
We don’t change a store layout usually, we may install new displays and shelves to fit what we need in the store.

What categories of product do you carry? What proportion of the store is devoted to lingerie, adult toys, DVDs in %?
We have condoms, vibrators, anal toys, SM toys, lingerie, enhancers, masturbators etc. We have everything but not DVDs, because Hong Kong does not allow the sale of XXX and taking each movie for censorship to comply with the law costs too much.

What are some of your best selling brands?
Toynary, Bswish, JEX, A-one, Key, 50 shades

What makes a great brand?
Good quality of products, good packaging, good image. And supply us with free sample items to demo.

Do your customers desire well known American and European brands or is it not so important?
Not so important. Unless they have already had an item in mind, otherwise customers would decide what to buy on site. It would depend on how the “product stands out and talks” to the customers. Of course, our staff would provide some assistance.

What would be your mix of sales of premium higher priced branded items vs lower end product?
Quite even. But unfortunately, recently, premium priced product sales have decreased due to not so good spending atmosphere but I think it will be fine.

What trends have you observed in adult pleasure products?
The trends seem to be modern design, that’s for sure. But also seeing more and more masturbators are being released from the western countries. Masturbators used to be dominated by the Japanese brands.
How do you keep yourself informed about adult pleasure products?
By Synergy Magazine, Ha Ha.

What have been some of the best selling items of all time for Wanta.net?
Those classic vibrating bullets by a Japanese brand, for almost 13 years , still selling.

What measures are you or can you engage in to drive more customers in store?
We are looking for natural growth.

What promotional activity do you engage in? Online/offline
Usual stuff, FaceBook, discount promo etc. In our industry, adult toys are not daily needs like grocery or like a Channel handbag. The customer may not buy that particular item even if we do a big discount on it. Customers usually have a certain need to satisfy at that particular part of their sex life, therefore they will pick what they really need instead of the promoted item.

How do you create awareness for your stores?.
Good displays.

How is Wanta.net responding to the rise in ecommerce sales?
We also have an online store (www.wanta.net), and we have always been trying to put the online and physical shop together as a network for customer to get info, feel products and buying products.

How would you view the market for adult pleasure product in Hong Kong in general? Are there any challenges particular to operating in Hong Kong versus other regions?
Hong Kong is a small place. Adult product still has a long way to go to become more popular like in Australia. There is no sudden way to breakthrough, it will take time.

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