What are the advantages for retailers if they set up a lube bar?

Today, lubricants come in all conceivable forms and tastes – they can be warming, they can be cooling, they can taste like fruit, they can taste like peppermint. Such diversity is also necessary, after all, tastes and preferences vary. Now, Shots has introduced an innovative concept to accommodate all tastes and all customers: With their Lube Bar, the consumers can mix the lubricant of their dreams right then and there in the store. However, this is not just a great opportunity for the consumers but also for the trade, as Oscar Heijnen, the founder of Shots, explains in our interview.


The concept of the Lube Bar seems simple: Instead of buying a ready-packed lube, the customer can mix the own lube themselves in a shop. How did you come up with this idea?
Oscar Heijnen: Sometimes, the brightest ideas are just around the corner. There is a chain of stores in the Netherlands called Oil & Vinegar that have almost the same system for their vinegar.

What would you say are the biggest advantages for retailers when they set up a lube bar in their shop?
One word: Margin! The profit margin on this product is extremely high compared to the normal sales of regular, bottled lubes. And margin aside, the lube bar looks very cool in any store and gives the consumers an extra special shopping experience!

Lubebar_small_webYou presented this concept two month ago at eroFame. What feedback have you received from the customers since then?The early adapting stores report that it is working really well and the re-orders within a month are there to prove it. It looks like a very healthy start for a concept that will hopefully remain in our catalogue for a long time.

Which requirements should a retailer fulfil so it makes sense for him to put a lube bar in his shop? Can he set up the bar himself?
The retailer just needs to clear a little space in the shop. Putting together the lube bar is perfectly simple. The jars are delivered separately from the lubes, which are shipped in handy 5lt jerrycans. One full jerrycan will fill one jar, so it’s an extremely easy set up operation. And if necessary, we also have our sales managers at hand to assist!

Lube1_webWould a retailer have to purchase a complete bar or could they test the system first with just three different lubes for example?
I doubt the concept would work with only three different kinds of lubes. The whole idea is to give the customers the opportunity to mix it up with cold and warm lubes in plenty of different flavours.
The system is very economically priced with wholesale costs starting as low as € 49.95 for a 5lt jerrycan. With 12 different available lubes, the system is very affordable and as stated before, the margins are humongous!

Which different lube types can the customer choose from? Can they simply be mixed with each other?
The concept is based on cooling, warming, and numbing lubes in the following flavours:
Strawberry, Choco, Vanilla, Lemon, Forest Fruits, Mint, Orange, Ylang Ylang, and Natural.
All lubes can be mixed without any problems. The bottles are available in 100ml, 150ml and 250ml, with either a flip cap or a spray nozzle.


To some customers, it still may seem easier to simply buy a ready-packaged product… Which customers can the retailers appeal to with your Lube Bar system?
What you say is true, but now, there is a choice for the retailer!
Firstly, this lube bar system gives any consumer an extraordinary shopping experience with the opportunity to play around and test different kinds of mixes.
Secondly, the system is very “green” thanks to refillable bottles.
And as we know, anything environmentally correct is “hot” at the moment, which will generate extra sales! This concept will attract new customers, especially when you are the first one in your city to sell this!

One of the benefits of such a system is that it can help conserve resources. Was that one of the motives behind the concept?
Yes, absolutely! We have been working on different levels within the company to create and distribute more environmentally friendly products. Some of our company cars are already electric, and we strive to make our carbon footprint as small as possible.
We order eco-friendly carton for our product packaging and have installed low-consuming led-lights in our warehouse. In 2016, we will launch more environmentally friendly products and concepts. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of what they buy, so it’s not just good for the environment but it will also improve sales!


One possible concern could be hygiene, especially when a lube sits at the bar for a long time. What could a retailer do to alleviate such concerns?
It is of course up to the retailer to seal the jars. We offer security stickers for this to prevent tampering with the contents. This way, all hygienic problems are covered.

The bar itself is already an eye-catcher, but how could a retailer promote it further to attract customers into his shop? Do you offer promotional materials?
I think the key to success for the retailer is marketing. Show your customers how “green” your store can be and give them the ultimate shopping experience! The lube bar is an absolute eye catcher, which undoubtedly will draw lots of attention. And yes, we always offer custom-made marketing for window display and other promotions.


Lube is a basic product in the erotic market. How important is it to make the product itself fun and turn the purchase into an event, especially for the brick and mortar trade? How could a retailer further benefit from this idea?
Apart from the other points I have made in my previous answers, there is one big advantage for retailers. The Lube Bar is a store concept, not an online concept! This means there is no online competition from bigger stores. So I would say: Dare to stand out and embrace this concept!

How expensive is a Lube Bar for the retailer and where do you see the suggested retail price?
The complete set-up will cost just over € 1000 wholesale price, depending on what discount our customers have. We would advise a minimum retail price of € 9.95 per bottle.


Do you already have plans to expand the Lube Bar, for example by adding new flavours or additional effect lubes?
Considering that the lube bar boasts all the best-selling flavours as it stands, we don’t see the need to amplify the selection. We don’t want the lube bar to take up too much space, so we feel it is perfect the way it is. But, never say never, we are always ready to listen to what our customers want.

This interview was first published in EAN 01/2016. EAN is free for retailers and other members of the erotic industry. To get your printed copy, click here!