opinion

Why 'Innovation' Is More Than a Buzzword in the Pleasure Biz

Why 'Innovation' Is More Than a Buzzword in the Pleasure Biz

These days, the word “innovative” seems to pop up in reference to almost anything, from electronics to foodstuffs. Whatever it is, someone is probably out there trying to make the new, better, more innovative version. But what does that really mean? Often it seems like “innovative” is just shorthand for “fancier and more expensive,” but it doesn’t have to be. Today we’re going to talk about innovation: what it is, what it can be and what you should keep in mind in your own quest to become an innovator.

What Does ‘Innovation’ Mean?

Remember, being an innovator is not always about adding more bells and whistles than the next company’s products.

We often think of innovation in terms of creating products with more bells and whistles, but innovation doesn’t always look like you’d expect.

I think of innovation as an ongoing process that requires us to constantly question existing practices, seek improvement and try to find ways we can be better today than we were yesterday. This might mean embracing emerging technologies, refining products and packaging, conducting regular team trainings or implementing advanced enterprise resource planning capabilities to enhance efficiency, minimize errors and reduce employee fatigue. In other words, innovation can also mean offering value and consistently delivering effective products. Let’s talk about ways your business can be truly and effectively innovative.

Product Evolution

When you have a popular product, it can be tempting to rest on your laurels—but product development never stops. Innovation in this context means constantly keeping an eye out for new ideas and technologies that could improve even your best products. For example, many popular pleasure products that were formerly battery-powered have been made rechargeable in response to customer preferences. Continually refining your existing offerings is also a terrific way to demonstrate your company’s commitment to quality.

High-Tech Advancements

When you think about high-tech pleasure products, the first things that come to mind may be app-controlled toys or virtual reality. While these features are trendy, there are a lot of subtler, less flashy applications of new technologies that could improve your products and brand, depending on your company’s focus. For example, advancements in materials science led to the development of eco-friendly materials like BioTouch and BioFeel, which we use in our Gaia line.

Retailer Partnerships

Adult retailers are the backbone of our industry, and the people who own and work in adult stores know their stuff, so it makes sense to connect with them and listen to what they have to say. Being receptive to their requests, suggestions, and criticisms can be a game changer in terms of making better pleasure products. There are lots of ways to connect with retailers: having a sales team in the field, employing brand ambassadors or even creating unique events that combine education and professional development with sales-focused trainings meant to help everyone make more money. These events can be in-person one-offs or conveniently prerecorded and downloadable on demand. Having more options allows retailers to choose what format works best for their business.

Consumer Education

When you are creating innovative products, you also want to make sure consumers know about all that innovation! This goes hand in hand with my previous point about educating retailers, since they can be tremendously helpful in getting information to consumers.

In addition to trainings, tools like packaging and digital assets can help you speak to consumers. Finally, it is also important and effective to use innovative product imagery that grabs consumers’ attention, highlights product features and provides as much information as possible without potential buyers having to read a word.

Staying Ahead

As you’ve probably figured out by now, innovation is about much more than just new product features and technologies. Even the most high-tech products can tank if their design fails to respond to consumer needs and preferences, or if their packaging fails to communicate their advantages. Staying up to date on market research, trend analysis, future forecasting, cultural and social awareness, along with constantly seeking feedback, can help your development and creative teams maintain a user-centered perspective and thereby be more effective. The result? You stay ahead of trends and create products that stand out with innovative design, features, materials, colors and packaging.

Innovating Every Day

Remember, being an innovator is not always about adding more bells and whistles than the next company’s products. It’s about being better today than you were yesterday, keeping an eye out for what consumers want and need, delivering consistent results that customers can count on and getting creative with the ways you communicate your message to the world.

Eric Lee is the COO of Blush, a global manufacturer of pleasure products.

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