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Sex toys: full steam ahead

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Monique Carty, founder of retailer, wholesaler and distributor Sextoys.co.uk, diversified into drop ship services in 2004. That basically means her company holds stock on behalf of other retailers, taking care of payments and postage.

“It’s a great opportunity for companies looking to get a foot on the ladder,” says Carty. “We charge them wholesale prices, with a ten per cent handling fee and postage on top.”

This is a nice little earner for Sextoys.co.uk, which turned over £4m last year. Especially in conjuction with their affiliates scheme. More than 2,000 websites divert traffic to the online shop, taking a 20 per cent slice of every sale.

The affiliates, along with clever SEO that puts the website at the top of Google natural search, has helped draw more than 11,000 visitors to the site every day. “SEO still accounts for the bulk of our traffic,” says Carty. “It’s all about keywords. I would tell you more but it’s a trade secret.”

Around 40 per cent of customers re-order, and 30 per cent of visitors to the site revisit, so Carty’s certainly cracked customer loyalty. “We give customers 20 per cent off their next purchase if they buy within the next 30 days,” she reveals. “There’s also a membership scheme that gives our members ten per cent off every purchase automatically.”

With an average basket spend of £35, business is certainly buzzing. 2008 sales are set to hit £5m, a neat little wedge of the £500m UK sex toy market.

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