If you own a brick-and-mortar vape shop, one of the biggest challenges you face is the fact that you can’t sell what you don’t have in stock. Some online vape shops may try to float sales for a few days while they acquire inventory. Many use drop shippers and don’t actually stock products at all. Before you can sell a product, though, you have to make an investment and buy that product from your wholesaler. If you choose the right products, your inventory sells at a steady clip — and you turn a profit. If you choose the wrong products, though, you end up with dead inventory that collects dust until you clearance it out.
Dead inventory eats into your profits and makes it difficult to you to pay your staff salaries and other expenses. One of the best things that you can do if you want to run a profitable vape shop, then, is to choose the right products to sell — and that’s what we’re going to discuss today.
So, What’s the Hottest Wholesale Vaping Gear Right Now?
This article isn’t a list of the hottest wholesale vaping products on the market, because those products never stop changing. If this article was a product listing, it’d already be out of date. Instead, what we’re going to discuss here are proven methods for finding the products that the customers of your vape shop want to buy. We’re going to teach you how to choose the right vaping products from your wholesaler and keep your vape shop running profitably.
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Follow Vaping Influencers on Social Media
Do you know who the most influential vapers on social media are? It’s worth your while to spend a bit of time on YouTube, Reddit and Instagram. Find out which users have the most followers and start the most active discussions. Keep an eye on those users and pay special attention to the products they discuss. You shouldn’t stock a product just because a popular YouTuber mentions it positively in his latest video; vaping product manufacturers do their best to generate hype by paying for video and social media placement. If a social media user wants a company to continue paying for product placement in the future, he’s probably going to avoid saying anything negative about that company’s products. If a particular video, image or discussion thread is generating an unusual amount of user engagement, though, that should make you take notice.
Find Out What Reviewers Are Saying
If you’ve identified a product that you think might be a good fit for your vape shop, read a few text reviews of that product. Although there are always exceptions, websites that publish written reviews of vaping products generally receive no compensation directly from the manufacturers apart from the products themselves. Reading text reviews on websites such as License to Vape is a good way to get a more complete picture of products’ true strengths and weaknesses. If a product is generating plenty of hype on social media — and reviewers are saying good things about it — there’s a good chance that your vape shop’s customers will begin asking about that product soon.
Buy Direct and Negotiate a Better Price
Vaping product manufacturers in China often employ salespeople who earn commissions from the deals they negotiate. If you buy products for your vape shop from a domestic wholesaler, you enjoy a streamlined sales experience and quick product delivery — but you may not get the best price. Chinese manufacturers will deal with absolutely anyone who has the means to buy products in bulk — you don’t need a wholesaler license to buy direct. If you buy from a domestic wholesaler, in other words, you’re paying the wholesaler to communicate with overseas salespeople on your behalf. If you don’t mind waiting a little longer for delivery, it’s worthwhile to contact the manufacturers yourself and negotiate some more favorable deals. If you can buy in bulk, you’ll find that the salespeople in China have quite a bit of wiggle room on price. The right products for your vape shop will become even more right if you can buy them more cheaply.
Treat E-Liquid and Vaping Hardware Differently
One of the most important things you can learn as a vape shop owner is that e-liquid and vaping hardware have different sales patterns. Social media hype creates a short initial sales peak for a new mod or tank. Very quickly, though, the hype dies down as content producers begin to promote other things. If the product is good enough, sales will continue to trickle. E-liquid, on the other hand, doesn’t tend to generate as much hype. A customer isn’t likely to enter your vape shop and ask about the latest e-liquid he saw on YouTube. If he’s looking for a new juice, he’ll most likely simply scan your shelves and grab whatever looks appealing at the moment. Use that fact to your advantage. If a wholesaler clearances out the leftover stock from an e-liquid brand that didn’t catch on, that’s an opportunity for you to earn big profits. Snap up the stock and display it prominently in your store. People who don’t know what e-liquid they want will buy anything that looks new and interesting.
Collect Data on Everything
The modern digital POS system is a wonderful thing. If you use the right one, your POS system can tell you whatever you want to know about what’s hot at your vape shop. If you take the time to do a little data mining, you’ll learn what the most popular e-liquid nicotine strengths are at your vape shop, what vaping product manufacturers your customers prefer, what features your customers look for in vaping devices and much, much more — but you shouldn’t stop there. Running a customer loyalty program through your POS system isn’t just a way to reward your customers for repeat business; it’s also a way for you to link sales to individual customers. You can use that information to ensure that you always have the products that your best customers want to buy. With a bit of analysis, you can even figure out what your customers will want in the future. Learn some great tricks for getting the most out of your loyalty program in our complete vape shop marketing guide.