If you’re a vape shop owner, there’s a good chance that you’re aware of the fake disposable vapes proliferating the market today. There’s an equally good chance that you’re incredibly bothered by that fact because you can probably see the counterfeit devices on the shelves at your local convenience stores and gas stations.
This year alone, Chinese authorities shut down more than 20 factories producing fake Elf Bars and seized over a million counterfeit devices in the process. If that many fake devices can be confiscated in one sting operation, just imagine how many knockoff devices are ending up on store shelves.
Are Fake Disposable Vapes a Problem in Your City?
Have you ever visited the gas stations and convenience stores in your city and done a little investigating? If you do that, it’s likely that you’ll find plenty of fake disposable vapes because counterfeit devices are everywhere. They’re particularly likely to end up on the shelves of convenience stores because those companies don’t work with the distributors that serve the vaping industry. Instead, they’re getting their vaping devices from the same cut-rate suppliers that keep their shelves stocked with cheap USB cables and knockoff phone cases.
Fake Disposable Vapes Are a Serious Issue for Your Vape Shop
So, let’s suppose that you do find fake disposable vapes on the shelves at the gas stations and convenience stores in your city. Why is that a problem for your vape shop?
In short, it’s because those counterfeit products are helping to draw customers away from your store.
Think about it – disposable vapes have upended the entire ecosystem of the vaping industry. Convenience stores and other traditional tobacco retailers aren’t equipped to serve the vaping community. They don’t have the shelf space for vape kits and e-liquids, and that has historically been a good thing for vape shops. People would buy cheap cigalikes from gas stations and give vaping a try, and when they were ready to step up to real vaping devices, they’d come to you.
Today, though, millions of people consider disposable vapes just as “real” as any other type of vaping device. They’re dirt cheap, and some of them last thousands of puffs. Many people don’t have any interest at all in using refillable vaping devices.
That’s perfect for gas stations and convenience stores because with disposable vapes, there are no accessories or other ancillary products to sell. A disposable vape is an entirely self-contained experience – just like a pack of cigarettes. Those are exactly the types of products that convenience stores excel at selling. People are buying disposable vapes from tobacco retailers because that’s where they’ve always gone for their cigarettes, and they’re completely ignoring your vape shop.
What’s even worse is that the fake disposable vapes those stores are selling might actually be cheaper than the legitimate devices you’re trying to sell.
If you have a successful vape shop, don’t fool yourself into believing that the fake disposable vapes in your local gas stations and convenience stores aren’t a serious problem for your business. Traditional refillable vaping devices and bottled e-liquids are quickly becoming irrelevant to a huge portion of the vaping community. If you don’t claim your share of the market for disposable vapes now, you’re going to be in serious trouble in the very near future.
So, what can you do to compete with the companies in your area that sell fake disposable vapes? Here are some ideas that you can put into action right away.
Attract Customers with a Creative Promotion
Here’s an idea from Cloud City in the UK: one of the best ways to encourage customers to leave the convenience stores and visit your vape shop is by offering something that the convenience stores can’t. The people at Cloud City have come up with the extremely creative idea of offering grab bags with random assortments of disposable vapes. You just choose the number of puffs that you want, and Cloud City takes care of the rest. For customers, a grab bag is a great way to try a wide variety of brands and flavors at one time – and for you, it’s a great way to clear out some old stock while simultaneously making some bulk sales.
Highlight Your Unbeatable Product Selection
The fact that a convenience store can’t offer a grab bag of disposable vapes is because traditional tobacco retailers simply don’t carry that many vaping products. They’re only interested in selling disposable vapes at full price. If you don’t want to sell disposable vapes in bulk, you can still highlight your unbeatable product selection – perhaps by placing a sign in your window. Call attention to the fact that you offer every brand and every flavor; that’s something no convenience store or gas station could ever do.
Make People Aware of the Problems with Fake Disposable Vapes
Speaking of putting signs in your window, another thing that you could do – without badmouthing any specific retailer – is call attention to the danger of fake disposable vapes while reminding people that your selection is 100-percent authentic. You might also consider discussing this topic with a blog post on your website.
What are the dangers of fake disposable vapes?
- First, there are several potential issues with the user experience. Fake devices certainly won’t taste the same as authentic ones. They also may not contain the correct amount of e-liquid. They may not deliver the number of puffs advertised on the package, and if they claim to be rechargeable, the recharging function may not actually work.
- A fake disposable vape is also a potential safety issue. If a manufacturer has no problem with the idea of breaking trademark law, it probably also has little regard for user safety. A counterfeit device could have dangerous chemicals in its e-liquid, and the battery could potentially be unsafe.
Considering the above issues, consumers should actually be very concerned about whether the devices they’re buying are authentic. You could do your community a great service – and potentially draw some extra business to your vape shop – by informing people about the fact that fake disposable vapes are much more common than most people realize.
Offer a More Convenient Buying Experience
Another way that your vape shop can draw customers away from the convenience stores is by enhancing the shopping experience in ways that your competitors can’t. For example, you could add an online sales component to your store and give your customers a curbside pickup option. You could even hire a local courier and offer same-day home delivery. Most convenience stores could never offer those options, so offering a more convenient buying experience can be a great way to compete.
Jason Artman is the owner and author of eCig One. A professional freelance writer and SEO consultant with more than a decade of experience, Jason works with vaping companies around the world to increase their targeted web traffic and improve their revenue.