“We have changed the way we innovate.”
Je Joue has been interviewing retailers and consumers in order to optimise their products, to develop new ideas that fully satisfy the consumers’ needs, and to better incorporate input from their partners in the adult trade. Which results these interviews have yielded, and how they will be reflected in the brand’s upcoming products is the main topic in our chat with Jane Welsh, Global Marketing Manager at Je Joue.
Je Joue has been interviewing retailers and consumers, asking them for feedback. What was the reason for this step?
Jane Welsh: At Je Joue, we sat down as a team and realised that we wanted to focus more on the needs of the people using our toys – and the brilliant sex educators who work in stores/online. We wanted to focus our innovation pipeline – and our current marketing material and product range to reflect the reality of what people want rather than what we might think they want at Je Joue. So we wanted to collect data and talk to real people!
And how did you go about this endeavour?
In 2015, we ran in-person focus groups in the UK to understand what people who bought sex toys wanted and we also ran a digital survey with a partner in the UK – a survey of over 2000 respondents. In 2016 we decided to run a pop-up sex shop in London so that we could really engage with customers – and this shop was featured in Glamour and Time Out. Extremely importantly, we made sure we received feedback from our retailers and distributors. They know their customers extremely well and their insights were invaluable in us forming a picture of how and why we could improve our offering and our work.
Would you agree with the statement that, generally speaking, feedback from trade and consumers only has little influence on sex toy development?
Amazing innovation can lead to changing consumer behaviour, and consumers can of course also change the market with their thoughts, feelings and behaviour. I think consumer buying power – the decisions of what to buy – has the greatest influence on what succeeds and fails. And it is retailers that can often best anticipate what consumers will respond to. This makes me think that consumers and trade have a lot of power and are extremely helpful. But, of course, companies like ours need to keep getting better at listening to our consumers and trade in a timely fashion so we can respond to needs.
What results have your efforts yielded?
We have changed the way we innovate. Our launch coming in September 2017 is driven by a more consumer needs-based approach and has had extensive thought and discussion with trade. We have also changed the way that we market our products and implemented many other changes in market – such as our change of packaging and buttons.
Your customers felt that the buttons on the control elements of sex toys require improvement. How will you implement these suggestions in upcoming projects?
Across all our products – firstly we are committed to listening to consumers at every stage and embarking on significant and thorough testing to ensure our launches are successful. Then, we are committed particularly on this point to ensure our buttons are easy to press, easy to understand and attractive.
The design and function and the materials are obviously key elements of a product. How important are the buttons and control elements?
From the work we have done it seems that changing our buttons will not suddenly drive many more consumers to buy Je Joue – but it will improve the consumer experience. This is something we are committed to – for loyal Je Joue purchasers and new. Improving the buttons has also led to more trade listings – the new buttons are now easier to use and much more attractive.
Apart from optimising the control elements, you have also decided to give the charging unit an overhaul. What was the reason for that decision?
We wanted both to improve the look and feel and consumer experience. Further, we wanted to improve the stability of the magnetic charging unit while charging on the toy – again in response to consumer feedback.
Last but not least, you have also been working on a new packaging design. Why was that step necessary, and what is different about the revamped design?
The packaging design was a long time in the planning. We are pleased that our friends at the agency suggested the feathers design which brings out the idea of the deeper richer sensations of the Je Joue motors. We have added the bellybands so that consumers can see which product they are buying in-store – clearly key for our market. The messaging of the change in packaging is symbolic – a commitment to our consumers to deliver luxury high functioning products to market.
When will we see these optimised products on the market?
The new packaging and buttons are in market now – and our whole range will soon have both new features.
Will Je Joue also launch some all-new products in the second half of 2017? If so, can you give us a little foretaste?
We have exciting high-performance luxury toys – three of these – which we are releasing in September 2017. They are designed at a lower RRP to other Je Joue toys with the idea that we can bring our deeper richer sensations to more consumers.
How would you sum up the developments in today’s sex toy market? Which trends are having the biggest impact right now?
To answer broadly, the companies that are doing extremely well are those who understand their consumer – what they like and how they want to use toys and how they want to be told about them. Many companies have impressive data and are innovating new products in a lean and extremely impressive way.
Which big changes will shape our market in the years to come?
Harnessing digital and new technologies in a way that brings people together and connects will be a major innovation – again really focusing on the consumer experience. Long distance couples may also benefit from innovations that allow a move into sexual games from a conversation as part of a natural flow. As technology can be more natural to the way humans communicate we will see big developments in the market.