Christian Bayer, InterMAX AG company owner and manager, found a novel way of entering the family business.
"His father owns a land-based erotic goods mail-order house in Germany, and [Christian] talked him into bringing the business online," reveals company spokesperson Millenna C., commencing the traditional story of how a brick-and-mortar made the transition to code-and-feed. But there's a twist.
"Christian didn't want just any turnkey site commonly available on the Net," she says. "He brought together a team of technical professionals and graphic designers to start the project in April 2000. A [physical] hallway was designed as a sex shop and equipped with Web cams. Shop assistants were hired, and the site went online."
This is how the Adventure Sexshop, www.adventure-sexshop.com, launched "The only live erotic shopping paradise on the Net," with live "dessous shows" (more on that in a minute), strip shows, S/M shows, chat with real shop assistants, presentations, and special programs.
Adventure Sexshop is not a catalog-based e-store. The newest in Internet technology is used to facilitate this live erotic exhibition, where thousands of items are available for sale from real shop assistants who invite the buyer to the counter. The buyer can communicate in real time with the shop assistant via a small chat window on the main page, at the same time watching the shop assistant live in the Web cam window - just like being right in the store, but navigating from the privacy and convenience of home.
While assistants are busy with other customers, shoppers can switch views and look around the store, or watch pretty show girls, who are available for erotic chat, inviting viewers to "the Pink Sofa," where everyone gets a little closer.
Live erotic shows are staged every day, and models dance and strip using the sexy lingerie available for sale. Live S/M exhibitions showcase the obtainable toys and gadgets, and customers can request a "Dessous Show" in which they are an audience of one for a personal modeling session, and can choose what clothes the shop girl will put on - and take off.
Advice and guidance is the plus for the dedicated shopper, all in real time, without leaving the comfort of one's favorite chair. "The site received highly positive response from the beginning," Millenna notes.
Visiting the Adventure Sexshop is free; there is a monthly fee option for unlimited access to special erotic programs and live shows. As with any e-business, expansion and new features are always in development.
"We currently get around 100,000 hits per week, which is a great success in Europe," Millenna says. "We continually strive to keep our site up to the high standards of demanding surfers. Since it's been a success for a long time now, we add new attractions in the form of adult entertainment regularly. We include more goods to expand our product range in the shop to satisfy various customer needs. And we enrich the Website with special programs for customers who want to enjoy their time at an erotic exhibition without actually visiting one physically."
She adds that part of the expansion plan includes joining forces with other Internet entities. "Many European adult Webmasters joined us for cooperation," Millenna says. "We are proud of being partners of Big TV Group and many smaller media [groups] on the Internet. For our German media partners, we adjusted our site to fit into their Websites' color design and graphic style, so our sex shop and other projects look as theirs. We would be happy to do the same for American Websites, too.
"We now have [about a 60/40 ratio of] European to American customers. The Americans mostly enjoy chatting, and they watch the special shows. Europeans, mostly German customers, frequently shop and also participate in the activities at the exhibition."
The future holds plans for constant improvement: "We are currently looking for ways [to more efficiently ship] in the U.S., which we feel is very important for being able to serve our customers equally and deliver the goods on time," Millenna says.
While their sex shop project is prosperous, "We want to keep it this way and expand even more," she adds. "We prepare special events such as online live talent casting and special live photo shoots; we also use seasonal decoration - a good example was our Advent Calendar at Christmas. These little actions encourage our customers to visit us often and stay loyal, because there is always something new to look forward to on our site."
In addition to the Adventure Sexshop, InterMAX AG also generates live Web cam projects like the Model Villa (www.model-villa.com), a penthouse-style residence in the heart of Prague shared by six young professional photo models hailing from the Czech Republic, Argentina, and Russia; and a "Super Sex Hotel" - currently only available in a German version, but soon to be launched in English, too. "We need to test it here before sending it out to the 'World Wild Erotic Web,'" Millenna teases.