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The traditional model of product distribution – in which manufacturers ship their products to distributors, who then sell those products to retailers – has served the vaping industry well for many years. Recently, though, more and more manufacturers have expressed a willingness to skip the traditional distribution model and ship their products directly to retailers.

Buying directly from a manufacturer like can potentially be transformative for your vape shop because it can reduce your product costs and make your business more profitable – but that’s not the only reason why skipping the wholesalers and buying your vapes direct from the manufacturers is worth considering. Reading this guide, you’re going to learn what the benefits are.

At the same time, though, buying direct also carries certain potential drawbacks and risks that you should know about before you take the plunge. We’re going to discuss those as well.

So, what’s the right move for your vape shop? Should you continue buying from wholesalers as you’ve always done, or should you start buying direct from the manufacturers instead? Let’s discuss the pros and cons.

You’ll Reduce Your Product Costs

A vape shop owner uses his computer to source new inventory online.

The biggest reason why it can be beneficial to order products for your vape shop from the manufacturer is because doing so can reduce your costs significantly. When you order vape gear from a distributor, you’re getting products that were shipped to the distributor by the manufacturer. In some cases, products can pass through multiple distributors’ hands before ultimately reaching your vape shop – and every step along the way, the price goes up because each seller needs to make a profit.

What could lower costs mean for your vape shop? Reducing your expenses gives you additional wiggle room on pricing. If you reduce your costs on a product that’s already successful, that product will instantly become more profitable. Paying lower wholesale prices can also allow you to lower your prices while keeping your margins the same, which may make it easier for you to compete with other local vape shops.

You’ll Differentiate Your Vape Shop from the Competition

Differentiation is one of the keys to success in almost any industry, and that’s particularly the case if you own a vape shop. If you and your competitors are all ordering products from the same distributors, it’s going to be difficult for customers to tell your shops apart because your product selections will essentially be the same. Buying vape gear directly from the manufacturers gives you a chance to discover some lesser-known brands and be the first vape shop in your city to introduce those brands to your customers. When local vapers begin to realize that your vape shop is the go-to place for unusual products, your following will grow.

If you can manage to compete with other local vape shops on the basis of product differentiation, it’s much better than just trying to leave the lowest prices in town because a race to the bottom can end up putting everyone out of business.

You’ll Be Among the First to Offer the Hottest New Products

One of the drawbacks of ordering vape gear from a traditional distributor is that when a new product comes out, you can’t order it until your distributor gets it. By the time you actually receive the product, your competitors may already have it. It’s even possible that the initial wave of hype will have already died down, leaving you with a large volume of inventory that no longer has much demand.

When you order a new product directly from the manufacturer, you’ll be among the first to receive it. You may potentially even have the product on your shelves before the first big marketing push happens, thus allowing you to maximize your earnings from the product.

Buying from Overseas Manufacturers May Result in Longer Shipping Times

A shipping pallet of vape gear, ready for overseas delivery.

Although ordering vape gear directly from the manufacturers has some enormous benefits, there are some potential drawbacks that you should be aware of before ordering. The first is that when you buy vape gear from an overseas manufacturer, there’s a chance that the products will ship by sea freight. In this case, it’s possible that the products will take a few weeks to arrive. To mitigate any potential issues for your stock levels, you should plan ahead and make sure that there’s plenty of lead time.

Note that ordering from an overseas manufacturer doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have to wait for the products to arrive by boat. Some manufacturers ship products by air, and others use domestic warehouses positioned around the world to ensure that the delivery times will be about the same as they would be with any traditional distributor. Before ordering vape gear directly from a manufacturer, you should ask questions and find out how their order fulfillment process works.

You Need to Know How the Manufacturer Handles Customs

Whenever a product enters the country from an overseas sender, it needs to clear customs, and any related taxes or duties need to be paid. Before you order vape gear from a manufacturer, you need to know how they handle this process because passing through customs can potentially create a lengthy delay before you receive the products you’ve ordered.

Although you’ll always pay more when you get products from a domestic distributor as opposed to buying from a manufacturer, one of the benefits is that the distributor bears the risk of getting products through customs.

Quick delivery, however, isn’t the only reason why some manufacturers have domestic warehouses for order fulfillment. If a manufacturer has the ability to send products to you from a domestic shipping center, those products have already cleared customs. In this case, there’s no need to worry about delays.

Final Thoughts

The vaping industry is more competitive than ever. Consumers expect extremely low prices, and it’s hard for any brick-and-mortar vape shop to meet customers’ expectations while still earning a profit. If you’re having trouble making ends meet, revamping your supply chain can be an excellent way to increase your earnings while still giving your customers what they want. That’s why ordering vape gear directly from the manufacturer can potentially transform the way you do business.