Whittling Down The Secondary Effects Argument

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Tired of hearing that your hours of operation have to be limited, your signage is too big or that you'll have to move to the local industrial park, all because of the adverse "secondary effects" your adult business allegedly causes? Well, help may be on the way.

Measure Consumer Perspectives ("Measure"), a Kentucky-based market research company, has just completed a preliminary survey of some of the biggest adult retail chains in the nation, using feedback from the company's team of mystery shoppers, and some of the results should make censor-happy city councils sit up and take notice.

Among the retail chains included in the study were A Touch of Romance, Adam and Eve, Adult Mart, Ambiance, Babeland, Castle Superstores, Cindie’s, Cirilla’s, Conrev, Love Shack, Deja Vu Love Boutique, Fairvilla Megastores, Fascinations, Good Vibrations, Lion’s Den, Lovers, Lover’s Lane, Romantix and Spanky's, and what the "mystery shoppers" had to say about them should cause a rethinking of mainstream's preconceptions about the stores' effects on the surrounding community... as well as providing some worthwhile stats for the industry itself.

For instance, according to Measure's shoppers, all found that the stores they visited had exteriors that were "clean and free of debris," and 82% felt that they were "completely safe" in entering, while another 6% felt "somewhat safe." Beyond that, 97% found that the store was well lit, clean and tidy; that its aisles were "open and easy to move through," and that the store was well stocked. All thought the stock of the stores they visited was well organized, and that it was easy to find what they were looking for. Moreover, 91% found the store to be couples-friendly, 88% found it singles-friendly, and 91% found the store's interior (and 79% its exterior) inviting enough to want to return for another visit.

In terms of employee/customer interaction, 85% greeted the customers within one minute of entering the store, and the shoppers found 91% of the employees they encountered to be "neat, well groomed and professional." All felt comfortable asking employees for assistance, though only 91% were comfortable enough to ask an employee how a product works. All found the employees to be knowledgeable and confident about the products, though only 97% were able to answer the shopper's questions about them. And though just 64% of employees approached customers to ask if the employee could be of assistance, the good news is that it only took those employees about two and a half minutes to do so. Shoppers described employees as: Enthusiastic (39%), friendly (67%), genuinely interested (48%), confident (64%), knowledgeable (73%), and polite (91%), with only 18% described as bored and 6% as apathetic.

There were more statistics, many of which would help retailers improve business, or at least encourage them to keep an eye on certain unfriendly employee practices, but the email from Measure's president, Kimberly Nasief-Westergren, noted that the survey was just a "snapshot" designed to show Measure's "commitment to the [adult] industry" ... and probably to drum up more business.

"We have built a vertical market within adult retail, and we work with many of the retailers, and this was something that we are providing to our clients as a value add, and to the industry writ large," Nasief-Westergren told AVN. "It concerns us because no one has really researched the industry, its impact, and what is driving business at the retail level.  Further, with the advent of online stores, as well as a down economy, we feel that it is pertinent for the retailers to be engaging customers throughout their shopping experience, adding on additional sales through needs analysis, and providing the customer some incentive (be it sale, promotion, event, etc) to return.  This is an ongoing effort on our part to help the industry improve its bottom line by displaying overall strengths and weaknesses."

But at the very least, Measure's "snapshot" demonstrates that the retail chain outlets profiled look at least as good, inside and out, as any mainstream retailer, and their employees are equally professional, friendly and knowledgeable – qualities that should impact city council decisions regarding adult zoning.

Those interested in finding out more about Measure's services can find them at http://www.measurecp.com.