An Open Letter to Peaches and Cream
Hello Peaches and Cream
It has been a year since we covered your brick and mortar establishment’s marketing strategies. Our analysis concluded that you wouldn’t last in the market for much longer, and the reasons for this we enumerated as such:
- High online competition
- Expensive in-store products
- Increase in employees’ salaries
- Rent, rates, utilities, and a few others
Heck, even transportation in Auckland is less affordable due to the new petrol taxes. But, we have to admit that somehow you have managed to dodge the closure bullet. More so, your stores in Auckland are big and strong and show every sign that they are immune to the trend of online shopping and the retail apocalypse. We decided to investigate further into the possible reasons for this.
After donning our “friendly shopper willing to be tempted into making a purchase” disguise, we visited one of your shops in July this year, 2019. There was some in-store foot traffic because it was lunch time (1pm). The salesperson was nice, and provided some tips and examples of the bondage tools in which we had expressed an interest. She didn’t seem to be at all worried about business slowing down, and was very bubbly. We hope they get paid nicely, because they definitely deserve it: discreet and professional.
The store shelves were clean and packed with high quality sex toys so, our overall the experience at an Auckland Peaches and Cream store (at least, the one we examined) was a highly positive one. Maybe the wide range of condoms, and other sexual essentials would explain why customers keep returning month after month (or week after week for the more sexually active users…).
As peer-to-peer reviews go, your stores score 10/10 for us, as they keep people coming back for more, unquestionably.
Maybe what creates the advantage for consumers to travel to the store instead of shopping online, is that they are avoiding the shipping fees. In the Peaches and Cream site, free shipping is reserved for purchases over a $50 spend; so visiting the store will waive this cost. Also, with a P & C store being accessible by car, bus, or foot in Auckland, it allows anyone to find a store in an acceptable timeframe. Parking is also a big plus.
According to data released from the LLBAI (Love List Brand Affinity Index) Gen Z prefer to shop at brick and mortar establishments. Being the first generation to grow up in a world with Wi-Fi and devices, and reaching the age where buying sex stuff is suddenly appealing, adult stores with a high street presence are bound to experience an upsurge in foot traffic because Gen Z reject online shopping as old fashioned.
Despite our doom-laden predictions of the past, it was maybe a bit arrogant and short-sighted of us to predict P & C and other adult toy brick and mortar stores closing. One year later, and you are still alive and kicking hard, with no obvious hint of a recession in the foreseeable future.
We did notice, however, one store closure in Panmure. Trading as Erox for many years (until 2015), it had a massive vertical, “Erox” sign outside, and was shut down permanently in 2019. This could be due to tough competition from the busy Mount Wellington shopping centre; it attracts the majority of customers from the surroundings suburbs. The closure may not have been because of consistently bad performance, but simply the geographical influences drawing away foot traffic; we can’t come to any other conclusion here.
Research also indicates that there’s not much Peaches and Cream growth and expansion on the other hand. The statistics reflect a drop from 13 stores to 12 now remaining, and no new locations in the pipeline.
Your online traffic looks promising. Peaches and Cream, the brand, is very established in people’s minds and this leads to many online searches. According to SimilarWeb, a market intelligence platform, the traffic in July 2019 to the Peaches and Cream website was around 118,470 users. Although this number can be adjusted for the inclusion of customers viewing the site multiple times, we can still assume the site’s traffic is fairly decent for the 4.5 million population of New Zealand. We got similar numbers last year as well.
Chart used courtesy of SimilarWeb
The Peaches & Cream website looks similar to how it appeared in 2018. The current icon shows an American women in the workforce with a WWII propaganda poster influence and a touch of pink.
P & C Icon
Rosie the Riveter U.S. WWII Propaganda Poster
Our predictions for Peaches and Cream will be less dogmatic in future. But, unless they adapt a different sales model, such as separating the site from the stores to allow price differentiation and better online offers, we are unsure how the wind will blow, even taking Gen Z shopping trends and store proximity convenience into account.
Certainly, we had a very gloomy forecast for Peaches and Cream a year ago, but as it turns out, P & C has managed to shrug off shuttering their high street presence for now. Amazon is still yet to build their first warehouse in New Zealand, and Adult Toy Megastore didn’t conquer the market.
Sure, physical stores will have a harder time moving stock. But with most of them located in town centers, they will most probably prevail and keep operating. Well, definitely so long as we all continue to want to enhance our sex lives and spice things up in the bedroom!