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ASK THE EXPERT: Mark Hancock

September 17, 2019

ASK THE EXPERT: Mark Hancock

eJuices.co is your one-stop wholesale vape solution. We seek to help retailers and vape shop owners best serve their customers. Today, eJuices.co sat down with wholesale account manager Mark Hancock. We asked him to comment on the current state of vaping and how it will affect vape shops and retailers, as well as give his own advice on how to help vape shops and retailers.

  

Q: You’ve seen in the news the negative press that vaping is getting. How do you assure customers that business will continue as usual?

A: It’s important to understand the misconceptions being created by many of the articles being released. The terms “vape” or “e-cigarettes” are being used to target legitimate e-liquid products, namely the products sold on eJuices.co as alternatives to smoking. The products being referenced as the actual cause of various health issues are substantially elicit, black market THC products.  Many of these products contain harmful additives, like Vitamin E acetate, that are not found in the legitimate e-liquid space. Almost any compound can be “vaped” just as anything can be smoked. It's important that you separate which products are actually causing the harm. Traditional e-cigarette (made of nicotine, VG, PG, and flavoring) have been on the market for more than a decade, whereas these health issues have arisen only in the last few months. Moreover, it’s important not to forget the customers.  Many of our customers share their stories on how vaping changed their life for the better after they switched from smoking. 

Our mission is still the same. No matter how big tobacco and big propaganda media conglomerates try to spin this, don’t forget the mission you represent to give people real options to smoking cigarettes. The demand for alternatives to smoking cigarettes is never going away. The consumer has spoken and they want these products. It’s up to us to ensure we educate the consumer and provide accurate information to the public and government bodies on why our industry matters. 

To the vapor shop owners, businesses may see a small pull-back in the short term just as any industry has its ups and downs dealing with new laws, tariffs, taxes, news, etc. The consumer base will still remain active and it’s important that you continue to remind your customers that big media is doing what they always do…trying to create a panic to drive ratings and views. Keep in mind, all this news is still very preliminary and when it blows over, I think vapor stores will still be around the corner and the consumers who still want these legitimate eliquid products will have a place to go to. 

  

Q: What are some of your personal favorite eJuices? Do you see more loyalty to a brand name (i.e. Beard Vape Co.) or a flavor profile (i.e. fruit, dessert, etc.)?

A: When I find a flavor that I really like, I tend to look for other flavors that are similar. So for example, I’m a big fan of fruity menthol juices. When I look for flavors, that’s what I go for. Especially if it has peach or apple in it. My favorite juice of all time was Apple Peach Atrawberry from Coastal Clouds and the Iced version made me enjoy it even more. If it’s a brand I don’t recognize, I’m a little unsure of trying it. But, if I know the brand I will. I wouldn’t call it brand loyalty, but more of a trusted name. Fruits, Candies, and Menthols are still the most popular sellers today amongst my adult customers, but it’s required to still offer custards and desserts for customers that prefer those flavors.

 

Q: What are some trends that you are seeing in your customers? Are they buying more of a certain flavor profile at a certain time of year? What do you think drives their choices?

A: Many flavors are seasonal. Warmer flavors like desserts and custards see an increase in sales during the winter and cooler flavors like fruits, drinks, and menthols see an increase in sales during the summer. However, it’s recommended that you rotate in new brands regularly to offer something new to customers. Most customers tend to shift brands and flavors till they find something long term they will be consistent with. If a brand is not putting up the numbers, it’s best to rotate it out to find something new to keep your customers coming back to see what’s new. It’s recommended to rotate brands at least once every 3 months.

  

Q: Do you have any advice for vaping shops or those who buy wholesale?

A: Leverage the advice of your wholesaler and customer base. Very few shops succeed off of personal bias towards flavors or devices that only the store owner, purchasing manager or employees like. Odds are your best selling flavors in your store will be the flavors you can’t stand. Follow the trend of your customer base and don’t be fooled by a manufacturer who claims their juice is the best in the world and they will give you rock bottom pricing for it. Wholesale sales reps want to make sure you are turning products quickly for reorders. Since they don’t represent a manufacturer, their recommendations are often unbiased. Their goal is to make sure you have the top-selling products so that you reorder more often after customers clean you out. As a supplier, reorders in the long term are far more important than an initial sale and a sales rep can be valuable in understanding your order pattern and special requests.

Don’t be afraid to overstock coils and replacement pods. Having a back stock of various coils and pods will ensure you have customers regularly and can cater to anyone. Even if it’s a device you don’t sell, it’s still a good idea to have it. Coils and pods are relatively cheap and they are one of the most important drivers for customers to come into your store. They also lead to additional sales of eJuices and often new devices. Nothing turns a customer off more than not having the coils they need to use the device of their choice.

Last but not least, make sure your sales clerks have at least a year of experience vapor space. Sales lean on having an expert at the front, that can answer any questions about devices, help direct customers towards brands, and ensure customers are educated on the ingredients inside eJuice if a new customer ever ventures into your store as their starting point towards living a smoke-free life. The employees in your store are your sales force and they need to be confident in the products they sell. As a side note, you will notice an increase in sales based on what your sales clerk is vaping at the time. Adult consumers often buy what they see other people have and if your store clerk doesn’t vape or uses a device or juice you don’t even sell, it’s a missed opportunity for additional sales.

Do you own a vape shop or sell vape products? If you have any further questions, comments, or concerns, you can always contact your eJuices.co sales representative or account manager.


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