5 Things All The Best Sex Shops Have

July 7th, 2016

Y’all know me: a bit opinionated and kind of a shopping snob. I mean, I love shopping, both in person and from the comfort of my couch. But I’ve been spoiled enough by some awesome stores to realize that not every sex shop is a gem, in the rough or otherwise. My local sex stores sadly fall into the subpar category because they fail to meet what I consider pretty basic requirements for any sex store.

I’m talking about..

1. Knowledgeable Staff

If a sex toy store or site doesn’t do everything possible to inform customers about sex toy materials, lube compatibility and anal toy safety, among other subjects, it’s just not a store where I want to shop. And it’s definitely not one I want to recommend to my readers or even friends. Sex should be amazing and toys and accessories can absolutely be part of that, but there’s potential for risk, and customers should be able to ask questions to minimize that risks.

2. Variety

Variety is the spice of life, but it also makes shopping more fun. Now, i wouldn’t expect a boutique store to carry everything, but I would expect to have some options. I don’t think there should be any category that boasts only a single product. How about a couple G-spot vibrators, you know? Not just a single bullet vibe. I also wanna see a few options for premium toys, too.

3. Cleanliness

No one likes seedy sex toy stores in person, but you know what else I don’t like? A site that’s cluttered and hard to navigate. Whether online or in person, stores should be welcoming. I like warm atmospheres and bright colors, not dingy overhead lights. If there’s no other option, many people will still choose the only sex store in the area, but more people see how convenient it is to shop online and avoid those unsavory places every day.

4. Transparency

A certain sex toy site that once worked closely with bloggers, including myself, fell out of popularity and pretty much off the face of the earth when it became apparent how shady all the practices were. Lies and smoke were blown around like you wouldn’t believe, and it left so many of us feeling angry and disenfranchised. I know there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that I’m just not aware of, but if a sex store isn’t going to be honest with employees, affiliates and customers, it’s not one that I want to support!

5. Inclusion

Had I written this post a year ago, I’m not sure that I would have included this, but things have changed. A shop that isn’t inclusive to people who aren’t straight and cisgendered is one that’s going to alienate a lot of people who I love. It’s not just good business sense — and it is — it’s the right thing to do!

Were I to add another option, I would definitely say competitive prices. I understand that not every mom-and-pop shop can keep up with the bigger companies, but exorbitant price markup isn’t cool. It’s one of the things I dislike about sex toy parties.

Not everyone knows where to find reputable sex toy stores, especially if you’re from a rural area or living outside the United States. For my non-American readers, I’d like to invite you to check out the following list of sex shops: Sydney sex shopToronto sex shops and London sex shops.

And if you know of a great sex toy store in your area, let me know in the comments! Plus, you can chime in if this post has some glaring omission!


What Every Online Sex Toy Store Needs To Have

September 9th, 2012

I’m surprised I haven’t written an article like this in the past, but I feel qualified to write one. If you run a store, if you want to, if you work with a sex toy retailer, run social media for one or are otherwise associated, take heed.

  • New Additions

    Listen, I’ve been around the block a time or two, so I know what’s already out there. What I want to know, especially if I’ve been a loyal customer of yours, is what’s new. You need to let me organize your categories by data added, at the very least. What I really prefer, however, is a “recent additions” page, or something similar. Plus, this makes your website look updated, which it should be.

  • Social Media

    Let’s talk about updates. When you’re on Facebook or Twitter, you can tell us what’s new. Furthermore, you can tell me exactly what I want to see. Social media gives you the opportunity to build relationships and bill yourself as personal, a face behind the company. Give us coupons on Twitter, and we’ll shop at your site. Tell us when something’s on sale, and we’ll love you forever. Social media isn’t rocket science, but it does take time.

  • Review System

    Now, if no sex toy store had a review system, I’d be okay. After all, that’s sort of why this blog exists? And plenty of people don’t use on-site review systems to get their reviews, or they supplement them with reviews from sites like Of Sex and Love. But if you put those reviews right on your site, you provide extra reason for consumers to use your website. You provide a form of interaction the cements your store in the customer’s mind. It gives you a good idea of products that are worth selling and putting on sale and those that you should drop. Reviews: you can’t go wrong with them.

  • People Skills

    One of the websites that has frustrated me the both does so because the staff lack people skills. There’s no understanding. There’s no polite asking. There’s only demanding and dictatorships. There’s strict rules that change on a whim and a total breakdown of communication. You do not want to be that person.

  • Sex Toy Knowledge

    A lot of etailers have taken the time to remove China shrinking creams and toys with phthalates. First, they had to have the knowledge of what toys could potentially be harmful. Without this, you might sell too many toys or too few or toys that are potentially bad for someone’s health. My personal favorite? Toys described as for anal play that obviously aren’t safe for the backdoor. When you know about toys, and aren’t simply trying to make a quick buck, you know how to categorize them, can pass on bad toys and can better answer customer questions. Win-win, right?

  • Basic and Luxury Toys

    I don’t always recommend a luxury toy. After all, I’ve tried plenty of Lelo and Jimmyjane toys that just didn’t do it. My favorite bullet isn’t luxury, and we don’t all have deep pockets or sugar daddies, but some people do. Some live in crappy apartments but splurge on sex toys. Some people save up all year. Other comb the Internet for sales. If you only focus on the super cheap or the amazingly expensive, you’re missing out on a large demographic. You’re making consumers go to other retailers to meet their needs. You’re doing yourself no good.

  • Updated Stock

    Just like I wanted to see what’s new, I want there to simply be new things. Add new toys, remove those that are no longer in production. If you have the resources, give us a system that lets us set alerts. Tell us how many are in stock. Nothing’s worse than ordering from a company only to find out that the product doesn’t exist. Except, maybe, seeing-ten-year old toys that you know aren’t actually available on a site.

  • A God-damned Search Feature

    Please let me search your every page with a little form on your every page.

So you want to know which shops do these things? SheVibe, Good Vibes and PinkCherry.

This is, by no means, a definitive list. There are plenty of things that a sex toy store should have. There are even more things that a store should have–and plenty of things it shouldn’t—if it also wants to run a successful community. What would you add to the list?

1 Comment

This is Why Your Online Sex Toy Store Sucks

April 12th, 2010

Don’t deny it.

  • There is no “new additions” page.
  • There is no way to arrange products by price.
  • Options for product arrangement exist but do not work.
  • Users cannot tell which category a toy falls into.
  • All your prices fall in the under $30 dollar range.
  • All your products fall in the over $75 range.
  • Both of the above.
  • Any category contains less than 5 items.
  • There are not page navigation links (“Page 1”, “Page 2” or “Next” and “Previous”) on both the top and bottom of the page.
  • Links take the user to a different part of the site with no indication how to return to where they were before.
  • Different colours are listed as separate products. (Personal comment: cut it the fuck out!).
  • You obviously have no concept of material safety.
  • Items are described with manufacturer supplied images or descriptions.
  • And the generic supplied information isn’t even listed with the correct toy.
  • Toys which are in no way safe for anal play are recommended for anal play.
  • Your site is obviously just an affiliate shop.
  • Your site has only been tested in one browser.
  • That browser is IE 6.
  • The home/index page links to sections which cannot be found via any other page.
  • Every toy is made of jelly.
  • Every porno you stock is straight.
  • You rename products from their box name.
  • The images in your shop: do not work, have been resized until the subject is unrecognizable, are taken in light that even bats would find low, are only icon sized, are of the wrong product, include more than 2 products which are not included and/or are intended to grossly misrepresent the size of the product.

Let’s be honest here, all of these things fall into one of two categories: site usability and product selection. If your site is so horrendous that we cannot use it, we sure as shit ain’t buying from it. And while I don’t expect every toy store to stocks tens of thousands of items, having variety in styles, prices and toy materials is a must. In fact, I would never suggest only stocking high end items because that puts your shop in a niche which I will never have need for. Me? I just want a site which I can browse and enough product variety that something will catch my fancy.