Sex has been a taboo for the time unknown. Though most Americans and Europeans nowadays have moved above all this, still there is no shortage of people who would start judging you the time you enter a physical sex toy store. All this goes to indicate that adult eCommerce business of selling sex toys online would definitely encourage many to order their selected toys and accessories without being harassed and judged.
However, the question is, “Would it be enough?” “Is starting a sex toy business online same as starting any random eCommerce store? We can agree on partial terms, but not totally though.
For some of the operations, it is almost the same, but there are many other aspects that differentiate these niched stores from general eCommerce sites. The factors may range from keeping the customer’s information private to eliminating the awkwardness in front of the delivery guy.
If wondering how to start a sex toy business, and sell other accessories through an eCommerce store, this article is one central repository of all the information you would need. So let’s just jump into.
Online Sex Toy Business Trends and Demand
Starting a sex toy business is an integral part of the adult industry. An adult eCommerce store is a place where one can find every sexual stuff or erotica such as Porn DVDs, Adult Magazines, Books, Sex toys, and other accessories for sex needs and pleasure.
Considering the online scenario, the eCommerce websites which sell movies are not included in the adult store industry. They are porn tubes and video streaming services. However, those which sell DVDs with other sex-related stuff are part of the adult stuff industry. So if you are thinking about starting an adult eCommerce store for selling sex toys, you are more close to the adult store industry, not the adult industry on the whole.
The sex toy industry has become a part of the mainstream retail industry over a long time now. Currently, it is a $15 billion industry, combining the eCommerce and physical retail business. The projections clearly postulate that the industry would successfully surpass the market value of $50 billion by 2020.
Sex toys are becoming a fashion among adults. Thanks to the trilogy of “Fifty shades of grey”, the sales of toys used in the movie rose by over 400% since then. I am certain that the majority of people may not even have known about the toys used in the movie before that.
Bottom line is, “sex toys business is on a boom and is receiving so much support from the mainstream media. You can think of scope by a fact that some sex toys such as a popular 7-inch vibrator sell for a million dollar. Indeed, there is substantial turnover in this niche and it is wise to go digital and offer exclusive benefits in terms of privacy and accessibility in buying these stuff from an adult eCommerce site. Starting an online sex toy business has some clear advantages that physical shops simply don’t.
Despite still being a taboo for the majority of people in the majority of nations worldwide, the market of sex toys is booming and people are buying them from any media suitable and private enough. If you want to start a sex shop business, you can count that demand will only increase in the imminent days.
Is selling of sex toys online legal?
The business of selling erotic novelties and sex enhancement accessories is indeed an appealing niche for the entrepreneurs. Starting a sex toy business consists of two types of risks- One regarding supplies, delivery, and operations. While another is clearly related to the legal compliances of online adult content laws of different states and nations. As an entrepreneur, you must educate yourself about the legal factors involving-
- Laws for selling online products in a nation
- Laws to start an eCommerce website in a nation
- Laws to start an adult website in a nation
- Laws for public display of adult content in a nation
- Laws for openly promoting and selling objectionable products in a nation
Knowing these laws will help you in tweaking up your operation and eCommerce site smartly in terms of legal compliances, and ultimately reduce the risks.
So, how to start an online sex toy business, without breaking the laws and legal compliances?
It’s simple, know the laws of the region, state, or nation where you are targeting your operations. Consider the following points for better understanding-
1. Selling sex toys is a crime in some states
In the US itself, some states have completely criminalized the selling as well as possession of sex toys. While there are many regions in the US and the world where sex toys are legal, there are also those who impose various regulations on them. So make sure to ask your legal adviser about the same. You can legalize your business in many of the states by tweaking your operations.
2. Legal compliances on product packaging
Like we talked about tweaking your operation in the previous point, following the product packaging guidelines is one of the tweaks. There are many states where selling or possession is not banned, however, they impose certain regulation on the public display of the toys. There are certain packaging standards, which should be followed by every manufacturer and seller.
3. Laws for email marketing
Some states prohibit even the marketing of certain category of products through email or any internet media. For example, they have guidelines for email headers, images used, the age of the recipient, option for opt-out of email lists and many more. Before utilizing email marketing, make sure to fine tune your comprehension of the laws representing the regulations of the same. You don’t want to crush your business in the very beginning with the hassles of cybercrime laws.
4. Laws for using images and videos of someone
Many a time, online advertisers or eCommerce sites, use images and videos to promote their products. If you intend to do any such promotions, make sure that-
- You are authorized to use the particular image
- You are considering the laws which protect public privacy on the internet
Trust me, you don’t want to wire with these laws. Especially in European regions where the right to privacy and regulations for using information without permission is way too strict.
5. Laws for misrepresenting your merchandise
Some general eCommerce stores sell sex toys in the name of other products. For example, they showcase vibrators as body massagers or just give a partial description of the product on the site. They do so for any of the two reasons-
- To fool the authorities and sell banned products
- To comply with the laws regulating the display of obscene material on the internet.
Never go for the first reason. Up to some extent, you might ask for advice from your legal consultant to comprehend how you can tweak your product listings to sell and comply with the legal guidelines at the same time. For example, don’t use nude images, obscene words etc. in the product description. Also, make sure that users clearly understand what a particular product is all about.
6. Laws for design and materials used for manufacturing
This law does not only apply to the sex toys but also to all sort of products being sold in a state. Only sell products manufactured with the regulated guidelines and allowed materials. For example, with sex toys, there is a risk of the user being exposed to toxic plastics. If the manufacturer is not complying with the manufacturing guidelines, the toxic plastic or harmful jelly can leach out through the skin, and enter the body. So always sell certified products which have been manufactured by fowling the regulated guidelines of the regulatory bodies.
Please note: The information regarding laws in this article are based on individual research and merely mean for informational purpose. It does not represent legal advice nor does it comes from a establish laws expert. If you possess a question or seek advice on legal issues of how to start an online sex toy business without breaking the laws, you should contact a qualified lawyer.
Types of sex toys to sell on an adult eCommerce store
Sex toys are nothing but the unconventional medium to stimulate the sexual pleasures by letting you try out things which you normally don’t do. With an experience mixed with hormonal stimulation, a sex toy lets you heightened your feelings by exciting the pleasure areas more efficiently so that you can achieve a satisfactory orgasm.
For those who consider sex as not only a means to reproduce but also a way to lead a happy life, sex toys are perfect methods to make you and your sex partner always passionate about each other. There are many types of sex toys meant for an array of intentions. There are sex toys and accessories for women as well as men.
Let’s classify the sex toys in two major categories-
Used to stimulate the pleasure points
Both men and women have points in their body stimulating which gives them a pleasant sensation. Ultimately, this stimulation results in a satisfactory orgasm making sex more of an art than a necessity. Sex toys used for pleasure point stimulation help both men and women enjoy heighten feelings mixed with regular satisfaction.
Types of pleasure point stimulators and accessories
- Clitoral vibrators
- G-Spot vibrators
- Rabbit vibrators
- Bullet vibrators
- Finger vibrators
- Wand massagers
- Hands-free vibrators
- Strap on dildos
- Vibrating Dildos
- Butt plugs
- Anal beads
- Prostate Massagers
- Penis Rings
Used to enhance sex experiences
The products listed above are used for the physical stimulation of the pleasure points. However, the toys in the current category are used to stimulate the overall hormonal and physical pleasure. Different individuals have their own preferences of experiencing sex. Some people fantasize things and this fantasy helps them to stimulate their pleasure experience to the orgasmic level.
Preferences are very crucial. In fact, there have been cases when some people don’t even get an erection if they don’t experience the preferred conditions while sex. For example, role-plays. With role-plays, couples can enjoy their fantasy to stimulate their pleasure experiences and influence the sex hormones.
For instances, some people get more pleasure in prostrate orgasms than the penal orgasm. Some people like BDSM sex over the regular sex, while some do not consider sex complete without an oral. Based on researches and surveys, sex toys companies have produced numerous such products which help people to explore their sexuality and achieve full orgasm. Here are a few examples of the toys you can sell in this category-
- Role play costumes
- Feather Tickler
- Aphrodisiac oil
- Nipple clamp
- Mouth Gag
- Silicone Paddle
- Riding crop
Sex accessories can be anything used as a necessity or for enhancing the typical sex experience. These products might not be used as a toy but play a crucial role in even a regular sexual encounter. For example, Condoms are primarily a way to have protected sex. However, nowadays there are several types of condoms in the market. Here are a few other examples of the sex accessories you can sell when you start a sex toys business.
- Massage Oils
- Toy cleaners
- Masturbation sleeves
- Flavored condoms
- Silicon condoms
Build your sex toy website
The options for creating an adult eCommerce website for selling sex toys is exactly the same as any general eCommerce web-shop. You have three options-
- Subscribe to a SaaS-based website builder
- Create your own self-hosted website from scratch
- Purchase a turnkey self-hosted script
There are various SaaS-based eCommerce website builders which offer instant setup and let you upload and sell your products on the go. You can subscribe to any of the popular website builders. You will get the following features and advantages with a SaaS-based website builder-
- Instant website setup within hours
- Instant product upload
- Integrated payment gateways
- Integrated shipping options
- An array of in-built website themes
- Regular security updates from the vendor
However, there are few cons to this option. These websites builders are generally made for mainstream eCommerce website setup. In fact, most of them might not have even the basic features required for a sex toy shop, such as customer privacy protection while product delivery etc. Few of the other drawbacks you could face are as follows:
- Limited features
- Website customization not allowed
- Closed source code
- Monthly recurring rentals
- Limited payment gateways to choose from
- Limited server space
- Heightened price of cloud hosting
- Poor scalability
- Might not support adult payment gateways
- Not optimized for Adult SEO
Next best option you have is creating your own website from scratch and host it on your preferred server. About that! Would you really prefer doing this? I mean, would you consider spending fortunes on- Maintaining a dedicated in-house tech team, and cost of re-inventing the wheel?
Yes, why would you want to spend your time and money of re-developing something that has already been developed? Here comes the third option- A readymade or turnkey script. You can always use this option to mix the benefits of option 1 and option 2 and avoid the drawbacks of each.
A turnkey eCommerce script is a readymade website builder which can be hosted on the server of your choice. Moreover, it would also offer you an open-source code, allowing all sort of customizability in the code. Here are a few other benefits of using a turnkey script-
- A ready-made website
- Integrated payment gateways
- Quick website setup
- Support for any new customization
- Option to host on your preferred server
- Higher scalability
- SEO friendly website structure for the adult industry
- No recurring charges
- Regular security updates