The COVID-19 pandemic has been a terrible thing for small businesses across the world, and local vape shops like Oklahoma City’s The Vape Bar have really had a rocky road trying to stay open during lockdowns. The pandemic began with wide-ranging shutdowns in most cities, and although local economies long since reopened, it’s going to be a long time before consumers’ spending habits revert to their old ways – if they ever do.
In the United States, though, something has happened that will force vaping consumers to reevaluate their spending habits. The omnibus spending bill signed into law by then-President Trump on December 27, 2020 will ban all shipments of vaping products by mail on or about the end of March. The other major carriers of consumer packages – FedEx, UPS and DHL – have all followed suit; they’ve either banned vape shipments to consumers or will be doing so shortly.
What the vape mail ban means, in short, is that vapers in the United States will soon find it very difficult to have e-liquid and vape gear shipped to them and will have no choice but to patronize their local vape shops.
So, if you currently get your vape gear online instead of buying it from a local vape shop, why do you do things that way? Is it because you believe that buying online provides you a better experience? If so, supporting your local vape shop isn’t just a matter of keeping your money in your local community – it’s also a matter of telling the vape shop what they can do better.
These are just a few of the ways in which you can support your local vape shop during COVID-19.
Tell Your Local Vape Shop What Products You’d Like to See
One of the reasons why some people choose to get their vape gear online instead of buying from local vape shops is because they feel they get a better selection when buying online. While it’s certainly true that an online vape shop can provide a better selection – especially if the retailer in question uses a drop shipper and doesn’t store its own stock – the fact is that you probably spend most of your money on a small range of products. You buy the same coils for the same tank, and you rotate between a few favorite e-liquids. You’re not buying dozens of different products – you’re buying just a few, and there’s no reason why you can’t get those products locally.
If your local vape shop doesn’t carry the things that you want to buy, tell them. They can only carry the products that you want if they’re aware of the demand.
Strike Up Relationships With Local Vape Shop Employees
One of the best things that you can do when you visit your local vape shop is strike up conversations with the people who work there. Every small business wants to do a better job of serving its customers, and the best way for the owners and employees of a small business to do that is by getting to know the people who shop there.
One of the great things about allowing the people at your local vape shop to get to know you is that they’ll be able to provide better product recommendations in the future. When you’re bored with what you’re currently vaping and are looking for a new vape juice to try, nothing beats a personalized recommendation from someone who actually knows you. As much as websites have improved over the years in their automatic product recommendations, they’ll never recommend products as accurately as a human can.
Another reason why getting to know the people at your local vape shop can be such a good thing for the shop is because your conversations can extend well past product-related suggestions and recommendations. Your feedback can help to make your local vape shop better overall, thus improving the experience for you and everyone else who shops there.
When you talk to the people at your local vape shop, you should mention any ideas that you have regarding:
- Improvements to the vape shop’s customer loyalty program – what changes would make you feel more engaged as a customer?
- Promotional ideas – what do you think would generate a buzz within the local community?
- Upcoming product releases – what new products are generating a lot of hype online?
Tell Friends Who Smoke Where They Can Buy Vape Gear
So far in this article, we’ve discussed how you can support your vape shop by being an engaged customer, by buying regularly and by telling the shop’s owners and employees what they can do to improve the shopping experience for you and others.
One of the best things that you can do for your local vape shop, though, is to become an ambassador for that shop – and for vaping in general – within your local community.
Where did you buy your first e-cigarette when you started vaping? Given the explosion of pod-based vaping devices like JUUL over the past few years, if you started vaping relatively recently, there’s a good chance that you bought your first e-cigarette from a place like a gas station or convenience store. The fact that you’re reading this article right now, though, is an indication that you eventually moved beyond that first e-cigarette and entered the wider world of open-system refillable vaping devices.
Since you’ve experienced both pre-filled and refillable vaping devices, you know how much better vaping can be when you have a high-quality vaping device and can buy any e-liquid flavor you like instead of choosing from the flavors available for just one particular pre-filled vaping device. One of the best things that you can do for your local vape shop, then – and to do your part in steering people away from cigarettes in general – is to tell your smoking friends that they should go to a local vape shop for their first e-cigarette instead of buying one from a convenience store. The better a person’s first vaping experience is, the more likely that person will be to stop smoking for good.