As a vape shop owner, you’ve probably noticed a profound change over the past couple of years in the types of products that your customers want. It’s likely that you’ve struggled to keep up with the changing demands, and you may have even noticed that your revenues aren’t exactly what they once were.
The core of the problem might be that you – like many other vape shop owners across the country – have spent the past several years catering primarily to the existing vapers in your community. You’ve carried the types of products that long-term vapers typically demand – vape mods, replacement coils and plenty of low-strength freebase nicotine e-liquids – but haven’t kept up with the types of products that today’s newly converted vapers want.
New vapers, meanwhile, are often intimidated by vape shops because the types of products that they see in vape shops don’t resemble smoking in any recognizable way. Suppose you were a smoker, and your first introduction to vaping was a shelf full of colorful vape mods – would you have any idea what those devices were or what to do with them? Chances are that you’d feel pretty intimidated, and you’d end up buying something from a local convenience store instead.
Convenience stores, meanwhile, are claiming much of the business that should be yours. People are buying their first e-cigarettes from convenience stores because the experience is less intimidating and because the types of devices that convenience stores carry – mainly cigalikes and disposable vapes – are completely self-explanatory.
If your vape shop caters only to the existing long-term vapers in your community, you’re risking irrelevance because no business has a 100-percent customer retention rate. You need to grow your customer base and can’t simply count on your existing customers to sustain you. These are the products that can attract new vapers to your vape shop.
Small Refillable Pod Systems and Nicotine Salt E-Liquids
One of the biggest advantages a vape shop has compared to traditional tobacco retailers is the fact that you have the shelf space necessary to carry a wide variety of e-liquids. Convenience stores generally don’t carry bottled e-liquids at all – aside from a few flavors at the most – because most of their shelf space is consumed by traditional tobacco products. At the most, a convenience store will generally just have a few cigalikes or pre-filled pod systems along with a selection of refill pods and perhaps a few disposable vapes.
Disposables vapes come in many flavors, but convenience stores generally don’t have the space to display more than a few of them. Pre-filled cigalikes and pod systems, meanwhile, only have tobacco and menthol flavors available – so people rarely use those devices for long before switching to products that offer more flavors.
When users of pre-filled cigalikes and pod systems get tired of having such a poor selection of flavors, they’ll want to explore what’s available in their local vape shops – and you should be ready for them. It’s a very good idea to carry at least one pod system that’s small, refillable and extremely easy to use – something that will look familiar and appealing to someone who currently uses something like a JUUL or Vuse device. You’ll also want to carry a wide selection of nic salt vape juice flavors. When people see the incredible variety of flavors that are available, they’ll wonder why they ever purchased their vape gear at a convenience store.
Although using a refillable vaping device is the best way to make vaping as affordable as it can be while exploring an enormous selection of flavors, there are many people who prefer the convenience of disposable vapes – and here again, you have the ability to offer something that the convenience stores can’t because they don’t have enough shelf space to display a wide range of products.
Over the past couple of years, dozens of manufacturers have started producing disposable vapes – and each model is available in an impressive variety of flavors. People who enjoy using disposable vapes often want to try the newest products and experience as many different flavors as possible. After all, that’s one of the biggest benefits of disposable vapes – you don’t have to commit to any one product for more than a few days.
There are probably many people in your community who use disposable vapes exclusively and have no interest in switching to refillable devices. Users of disposable vapes need to replace their devices regularly, which means that they spend plenty of money on vape gear. Capture that business by adding as many disposable vapes to your inventory as possible and making sure that the people in your community know about your enormous selection. You might consider placing a sign in your window to let people know that you have the most disposable vapes – and the lowest prices – in your city.
Non-Nicotine Vaping Products
Don’t forget that owning a vape shop doesn’t necessarily mean that you can only sell nicotine vaping products. In recent years, the world of vaping has expanded to include hemp-based products such as CBD and Delta-8 e-liquids. Many of the people who buy those products aren’t nicotine users, giving you a potential opportunity to expand your customer base even further.
People use CBD and Delta-8 for completely different reasons. Generally, CBD appeals to alternative health aficionados who like the fact that it’s a non-psychoactive cannabinoid and hope that it could have certain health benefits. Delta-8, on the other hand, does have psychoactive effects and is primarily used for recreational purposes. CBD and Delta-8 are both made from industrial hemp, which is legal according to federal regulations. They’re also both legal in most states – including many states that don’t have medical or recreational cannabis laws in place.
Adding hemp-derived vaping products is a great way to expand your customer base – and when you add those products to your vape shop, you should definitely consider adding signage to notify the local community about your new offerings. You’ll end up attracting people to your store who might have never otherwise considered entering a vape shop.
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.