Brick-and-mortar adult boutiques have one arena where they offer a clear advantage over online sites: a real-live person who can help shoppers make decisions about their most intimate purchases.
To fully exploit that advantage, though, retailers need sales reps who can frankly and authoritatively provide customers with information about human anatomy, sexual health, and the technical basics of sex toys and lubricants.
But how can store owners ensure their staff has the necessary facts at their disposal? Among the sources of information are non-profit sex-positive organizations such as the Center for Sex and Culture and the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. But not every community has such a resource. To help fill that gap, leading adult distributor Eldorado Trading Company has stepped up with an e-learning curriculum called Elevate U.
Working with the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health (CSPH), a Rhode Island-based sexuality training and education nonprofit, Eldorado offers a 16-course online series that familiarizes its customers with sexual health information. The material covered in Elevate U extends far beyond facts about pleasure products, and the program’s end goal is to give enrollees the tools they need to answer any question a customer might throw at them.
“Elevate U is intended to empower Eldorado’s retailers with accurate sexual health information so they can confidently and correctly answer sexual health related questions,” said Allison Travers, Eldorado director of marketing. “With this knowledge, retailers can offer customers an excellent in-store experience in order to create repeat business, become a trusted community resource and have a competitive advantage.
“We are dedicating Elevate U in memory of our founder and CEO Larry Garland, to commemorate his longtime passion and commitment to sexual health and wellness education that was always at the forefront of his mission,” Travers added.
Each video-based lesson is 20 to 30 minutes long and is followed by a quiz. Once all 16 lessons and evaluations are passed, the CSPH will certify participants as a Community Sexual Health Resource.
Given the paucity of sexual health resources in many parts of the country, the need for a Community Sexual Health Resource is real. After hearing the types of questions retailers were asking of sexual health educators at Eldorado’s in-house events, the distributor found a common thread: a lack of sexual health resources in many communities, and therefore an increasing number of customers turning to their local adult store to answer their questions. The company looked to fill that need with Elevate U.
Available to active Eldorado customers, Elevate U launched with its first four lessons at the beginning of 2017, and continues to grow.
Feedback from Eldorado clients was immediately positive. Commented Brittany Moss of Openminds Entertainment, “I just wanted to say that I absolutely loved the first four lessons that I have done in the Elevate U series through Eldorado! I have learned so much information that I didn’t know and can’t wait for the next lessons to come out.”
Eldorado provided AVN with the opportunity to sample the curriculum, which is ably presented by Kira Manser, clinical director of CSPH, and Erin Basler-Francis, the center’s digital media proctor. In bite-sized video presentations, they reveal everything your clients want to know about sex (but are too embarrassed to ask).
In the introduction to the Elevate U course, Manser and Basler-Francis explain what CSHP is all about: “Our niche is ensuring that sexual pleasure is included in sexual education conversations,” Manser elaborated, adding that the center seeks to ensure “that everyone has access to medically accurate, pleasure inclusive and culturally relevant information about sexuality.”
The six-year-old center is nothing if not culturally relevant. Its two presenters are careful to make their presentation as inclusive as possible, referring to individuals as “penis owners” or “vulva owners” in their discussion of human sexual anatomy, which kicks off the 16-course series.
The anatomy lesson ends with a segment about a part of the body both vulva owners and penis owners share in common.
As Manser explains, “Next we’re going to talk about what we at the Center affectionately call the great equalizer.”
“The butt!” Basler-Francis exclaims.
Like each course in Elevate U, the anatomy lesson concludes with a quiz that is detailed enough to demand that students pay close attention.
After focusing on the parts of the body that make it possible to feel pleasure, Manser and Basler-Francis move on to the second course, which covers the basics of sex toys. This section in particular offers knowledge that will immediately benefit anyone in the pleasure product business. Manser and Basler-Francis cover what types of toys stimulate which anatomical pleasure zones, what materials they are made of, and how those materials impact the body.
Kim Patterson, owner of Enchantasys Intimate Boutiques in North Dakota and Minnesota, was among the many industry professionals who shared positive comments on Elevate U. “I just finished the beginner section of the Elevate U online learning program,” Patterson said. “This is so much better than other online educational programs! Eldorado did an amazing job getting the right people with the right information to do your training. This will change the way retailers interact with customers!”
And changing that interaction can directly lead to increasing sales for your store.
For more information about Elevate U and to get started, visit Eldorado.net/ElevateU or email [email protected]
To learn more about the CSPH, visit TheCSPH.org.