Guest post by Triple 7 Vaping.
One of the things that attracts prospective business owners to the vaping industry is the potential for great profitability. If you’re already knee deep in the industry, though, you know that running a profitable vape shop isn’t that easy in the real world. You’ve got building and staff costs to worry about for starters, and inventory management can be an absolute nightmare. You can’t just stock one e-liquid flavor – you need multiple flavors and nicotine strengths for each brand that you carry. Inevitably, some combinations won’t sell. E-liquid isn’t your only challenge; new mods and tanks come out every month. What if you buy a case of replacement coils for a tank that never takes off? If you can’t manage to at least sell those coils at cost in your bargain bin, it’s a wasted investment.
Choosing the right products to sell in your vape shop can make the difference between profitability and merely breaking even – but that, of course, is easier said than done. Vaping fashions change constantly. There’s a never-ending flood of new products, and it can be difficult to know what’ll catch on and what won’t. Every store owner makes occasional purchasing mistakes. In this article, we’re going to provide some tips that can help you avoid those mistakes by choosing the right products for your vape shop.
Join Every Mailing List
The Chinese manufacturers of vaping commodities specialize in moving products quickly from conception to production, getting new products shipped out and almost immediately replacing them with superior iterations. E-liquid makers work in much the same way; when a brand has peaked and is on the decline, the maker simply launches a new brand and gets the hype train rolling again. Every vaping product has a short sales peak followed by a long trickle – and if you can ride those peaks, you’ll always have the products your customers want. Contact every manufacturer and distributor of vaping hardware and e-liquid and add yourself to as many mailing lists as possible. Even if you don’t actually intend to buy from those companies, joining mailing lists can ensure that you always know about upcoming product launches.
If the product’s maker is huge like Aspire, you can have no doubt that each new product will capture attention. With other products, though, you’ll need to do a little guessing. Which upcoming products will your customers ask for, and which ones will they not even know about?
That’s what we’ll discuss next.
All Aboard the Hype Train
With a constant flood of new vaping products, it can be difficult for any one product to break through the static. Vapers have to know that the product exists, and vape shop owners have to buy the product. Unless both of those things happen, the product will be a failure. Manufacturers, therefore, pump plenty of resources into generating hype for upcoming products on YouTube and social media. How much exposure can a product get from YouTube? The top YouTube vaping personality has 1.1 million subscribers; that’s a lot of potential awareness from just one YouTube channel.
Watching YouTube is a great way to find out which upcoming vaping products have the most hype surrounding them. Don’t just pay attention to the reviewers’ opinions, though; they receive compensation for their content and aren’t going to lose sight of who butters their bread. Look instead at the objective facts. Will a product be first to the market with a revolutionary new feature? Do the videos about that product have an unusual amount of engagement in their comments sections? Are people discussing the product on Reddit and vaping forums? Those are all potential signs that a product is really going to catch on. To a certain extent, hype is something that can be bought. If a product has plenty of resources behind it – and people are responding with interest – it is probably the right product for your vape shop.
Harness Your Data
There’s an old saying in business: If the product is free, then you are the product. There’s a reason why companies such as Google and Amazon offer so many services cheaply or for free – it’s because the data that they collect from those services is worth far more than any fees that they could charge. By giving something away, a company learns what your interests are. With that information, the company can learn how to market to you.
Collecting and analyzing customers’ interests and buying habits can benefit every single company on the planet. Are you still using an analog cash register and Microsoft Excel to track your sales and inventory? If you are, you’re missing the point – and your vape shop will never grow.
A modern POS system streamlines inventory management because it knows what’s in stock and can alert you when supplies are low. More importantly, analyzing your own sales trends can help you understand which products and product categories are hot – and which ones have reached their peak. Do you want to collect even more data? Use your POS system to start a loyalty program that links your individual customers with their purchase histories. With a modern POS system, starting a loyalty program isn’t just about generating repeat business – it’s also about generating mountains of valuable data.
Buy Low, Sell High
You aren’t the only business owner who occasionally needs to mark products down to get them out of the store; vaping product manufacturers and distributors sometimes do the same. Joining every mailing list isn’t just a good way to find out about upcoming products. It’s also a way to find out about sales and take advantage of price reductions. Is a distributor having trouble moving a product because the maker wasn’t able to spend enough money to get the hype train rolling? Your customers don’t know that – and you are your own best marketer. With a bit of effort on your part, you can buy the unsold inventory of a failed e-liquid line and turn it into a profitable success for your store. Don’t forget that distributors often have a bit of wiggle room on price. If you’re buying in volume, don’t be afraid to negotiate.
About the Author
Jason Cugle is the Owner/Curator of Triple 7 Vaping. Triple 7 Vaping offers premium vaping products at wholesale prices and specializes in Aspire tanks, mods, parts and other accessories. Triple 7 Vaping offers lightning-fast same-day shipping on orders over $30.