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They say sex sells. And UK retailer LoveHoney is, uhm, in the business of selling sex. In an effort to sell more of it, the company has come up with a simple yet clever way to make its sales data sexy.

LoveHoney's new UK Sex Map gives customers (and curious onlookers) the answer to a simple question: how sexy is my town?

As reported by Springwise:

In creating its Google Maps-based tool, LoveHoney began by taking an anonymous sample of more than 500,000 orders placed at its online store. It then aggregated that data into regions that match population statistics from the UK Census and added in data representing sales from other retailers and manufacturers. The result is the UK Sex Map, which shows annual per-capita spending on sex products for towns with populations of 10,000 people or more. The map is updated monthly, and all data are anonymised and aggregated, so no personally identifiable information can be seen. Instead, heat-map colours reveal a town's spending habits at a glance, with green representing areas that spend about the same as the national average, dark blue indicating those that spend a lot less, and red and white flagging hot points. Also visible, meanwhile, are the particular types of items the various towns are spending on—vibrators or condoms, for example—with links for quick purchase on LoveHoney's site.

Thanks to the Sex Map, everyone will now probably speculate about the origin of Upminster's name. That's because, according to LoveHoney's data, Upminster is the sexiest city in the UK. The citizens of Upminster spend "9.5 times the national average on their sex lives".

Now for most of us, a detailed breakdown of what they're spending on, including specific products, falls into the category of 'too much information', but there's no doubt that this information serves a very useful marketing purpose for LoveHoney:

  • The Sex Map is killer linkbait. And since it's hosted on the lovehoney.co.uk domain, links should benefit the site as a whole SEO-wise.
  • It's a perfect way to get consumers who would otherwise stay far, far away from the LoveHoney website to visit.
  • It's a great brand building tool for LoveHoney. After all, chances are that your visits to Upminster will never be the same again, courtesy of LoveHoney's Sex Map, of course.

Obviously, not all sales data is as sexy as LoveHoney's, and a well-done Google Maps mashup related to more mainstream products probably isn't going to be anywhere near as intriguing. But I think LoveHoney has highlighted the fact that online retailers collect a lot of valuable data passively through sales. With just a little creativity, that sales data can often be turned into valuable marketing fodder.

Patricio Robles

Published 26 October, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (2)

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Richard at LoveHoney

Thank you for the write-up, Patricio, really glad you found the Sex Map interesting. It was an interesting technical challenge for us as we had to draw several different datasets together - population, postcode regions, and sales. Was an entertaining distraction from the usual e-commerce day-to-day!

almost 7 years ago

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Amanda

This is really interesting, good find. BTW, I found the link to this from AishahBennett Twitter, so thanks to her that I found the "Sex Map" using her Twitter :)

almost 7 years ago

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