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Ask The Expert: Michael Carey

June 26, 2020

Ask The Expert: Michael Carey

The eJuices.co team is committed to getting your business back on track in a safe and responsible manner. While COVID-19 is still a threat, we want to make sure your business can safely and responsibly reopen for customers. How does one promote the reopening of their business? We sat down with eJuices.co Chief Marketing Officer Michael A. Carey, who answered a variety of questions on how to promote your reopening and other issues that may arise in the near future.

 

Michael Carey, Chief Marketing Officer at eJuices.co

How can vape shops market that they are reopening in a responsible manner since people may not be willing to show up to a brick-and-mortar shop?


The primary objective here is to instill a level of trust and comfort with your current and prospective customer base so that they will feel comfortable patronizing your location(s), then make sure to communicate this with them in various ways and in various mediums/media. With that in mind, first, ensure that you have a clear understanding of what is required to open safely and responsibly in your state, city, community, or locale.  Then, craft a documented plan of how you will prepare, and maintain your store(s) opening to the public in a clean, safe, and responsible manner. Once these items have been completed, and you have an organized way to communicate with your customers such as sending an email, text message, or direct mail, you should communicate the actions that you are taking to be responsible in regards to the current COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, you should create clear and concise signage on your front door and within the store that communicates the requirements to shop in your store(s) as well as the steps you are taking to provide a safe shopping environment.


From a marketing perspective, you can be fun and creative by tying in pandemic related requirements into your promotional efforts.  For example, you may want to offer your customers a discount on their purchase if they take a picture of themselves in your store, wearing their mask, and post it to their social media page and mention your store and something about how safe and comfortable it is to shop there.  You can also make it fun by creating a contest for the most creative (vape or your store-branded) mask and give away store credit to the winner.  Another way to encourage visits to your store and maintain health and safety standards might be to offer customers their own disposable/reusable tank that they can use, like this one, to sample eJuices. You can include the tank as part of their ‘sampling fee’ that the FDA requires.


Should shops consider promotions around the new PMTA deadline of September 9? Why or why not?


This is a challenging question. My suggestion is to suppress any desire to do, say, or promote anything that will insight unnecessary panic. The fact of the matter is, nobody knows what the FDA will do with the looming PMTA deadline.  With that in mind, what I would suggest is to begin to move through your slower-moving inventory by reducing the price or creating specials for them. This way, you can generate cash that you can use to purchase more of your consistent movers. Now is the time to focus on what you know your customers and prospective customers like in your area. If you are unsure of what’s selling best in your area, we offer a service that will let you know just that. Interested? Click here.  Moreover, we offer a service called eJuices.co Direct that enables you to sell our vast selection of eJuices and vape related products to your customers without having to purchase or inventory a single item. With eJuices.co Direct, you should be able to satisfy every customer that walks into your store, regardless of which eJuice or vape product they are looking for.


Some states are banning flavors or considering banning flavors, most notably New York on July 1. How can a vape shop adjust their marketing to stay in business if they can only sell hardware and a limited set of flavors?


Well, if you are in a state with an imposed flavor ban, at least all of your competitors are going to be on equal footing (unless they decide to ignore the state order). My best suggestion would be to expand the reach of your business by creating a website or committing more time to your current one. eJuices.co offers a retail drop shipping service called PoweredByeJuices.com that allows you to ingest our entire product catalog, or as many or as few as you would like, onto your website. Then, each time one of your customers purchases one of our products from your website, we will fulfill those products from our inventory and ship them directly to your customer. It’s actually a really cool service that can make you appear like a huge website not to mention how much traffic you could generate from organic search listings on Google for all of those brands and products.  If you don’t currently have a website or if you are unsure of how to get started, reach out to us.  We have Powered By eJuices.com specialists available to help and answer any questions you may have.


In relation to the question above, some vape shops are also carrying CBD to diversify. What would be a good way to lower the barriers to entry to CBD to vapers?


There is definitely a decent percentage of overlap of CBD usage, vape, or otherwise, within the nicotine vaping consumer base. So, many of the stores that we service each month have decided to add a small or large selection of CBD products to their offerings. Since nicotine is a stimulant, vaping CBD or taking other types of CBD, has been shown to help most users with a variety of common issues. For example, vaping CBD may be a better option for nicotine vapers later in the evening. While there are many CBD form factors available, starting with CBD vape products would be the most logical and adjacent product to eJuices.  Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that carrying CBD can also potentially attract an entirely different customer base and therefore expand your audience. There is also the potential that your current vape customers may find it convenient to purchase CBD products from you that are intended for someone else such as a spouse, significant other, family member, friend, or otherwise by having them available in the same location they are already going to.


As we talked about in the previous Ask The Expert, we have demonstrated reduced nicotine use among our own retail customers. How could vape shops start the conversation to encourage lower nicotine use yet still encourage their customers to enjoy their favorite flavors?


Let’s begin by saying that the purpose of vaping is to provide adult consumers with an alternative nicotine delivery system. Many adult consumers state that their ultimate objective is to reduce or eliminate their nicotine intake. So, with that being said, stepping down nicotine levels is, and should be, a personal decision.


But, if you do choose to step down your nicotine level consumption it shouldn’t dramatically affect the flavor of your favorite eJuices. There is, however, the ‘bite’. This is a reference that many refer to as the increased nicotine levels. So, if your customers prefer a strong nicotine ‘bite’ or the effects of higher nicotine content, they may not be as encouraged to step down their nicotine levels. But, when stepping down from, for example, 6mg/ml to 3mg/ml, your customers shouldn’t notice a significant difference.  And, if they do, they should be acclimated to the reduction of nicotine in about a week or so, but everyone is different, so individual results will vary.


As far as a conversation with your customers about stepping down nicotine levels, it should be (and remain at) just that—a conversation. With the exception of federal, state, or local government regulations, everyone should have the right to consume the nicotine level in vaping products that suits their needs. However, carrying more 0mg inventory could also be a way to help convey this as well as offering CBD vape products as an alternative.


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