Guest post by eCig One.

If you live in a city with more than a few thousand residents, it’s likely that you have a local vape shop – and you probably have several others within driving distance. Like many other types of stores, though, local vape shops run the gamut from great to awful. Should a vape shop get away with charging a 300 percent markup for the privilege of buying a product locally rather than waiting for it to arrive from an online vendor? We don’t think so. The wholesale prices for vaping gear and e-liquid are terrific; there should be plenty of room for a brick-and-mortar shop to charge a fair markup without extorting its customers.

Fair pricing, though, is just one quality of a great vape shop. How should you decide which local vape shop deserves your money? We have a few suggestions that can help you choose.

Varied Selection

There’s value in stocking the products that please your core customer base. If a vape shop only stocks low-nicotine e-liquids for sub-ohm vaping, though, where are you going to go if you decide that you’d like to give nicotine salts a try? If a vape shop only stocks sub-ohm tanks and pre-made coils, where are you going to go if you decide to try building your own coils? It’s good to know that your local vape shop has a varied product selection that can support your changing needs throughout your journey in vaping.

Knowledgeable Staff

Anyone can be a cashier at a vape shop. Many vape shops go out of their way, though, to hire employees who know a bit about vaping and can answer customers’ questions. Does your local vape shop offer a free or cheap battery rewrapping service? Will your vape shop build coils for you or show you how to build your own coils? Can the staff at your vape shop show you every juice with a peach note that’s in stock? Knowledge is a value-added service. It’s worthwhile to patronize a vape shop that takes the time to train its staff or hire people with vaping experience – even if doing so means paying a little extra.

Strong Customer Service Policies

Once a bottle of e-liquid is opened, it’s impossible to sell it to another customer or do anything with it other than throw it away. With that in mind, it’s understandable that most vape shops don’t accept returns of opened e-liquid bottles unless they have manufacturing problems. If your local vape shop does accept e-liquid returns, though, they’re worth their weight in gold. When you buy vaping hardware from a local vape shop, it’s good to ask about the return policy. A vape shop should take back a hardware product that’s dead on arrival or fails within the first few days.

Are you shopping for a new e-liquid? Many vape shops allow customers to sample e-liquids before buying, although some shops may charge nominal fees for sampling to comply with FDA regulations.

Online Component

It’s understandable if your local vape shop doesn’t also have an online store. Managing a brick-and-mortar store is difficult enough on its own. If your local vape shop also has an e-commerce website, though, it’s a great resource. Having local delivery available means that you can often order a product online and have it in your hands the next day.

Clean Organization

After you’ve been vaping for a while, you’ll probably find yourself in a rut occasionally. Some days, you’re going to want to visit your local vape shop and simply see what’s new. A good vape shop should have a low-pressure sales environment and a layout that’s conducive to browsing. It’s a great thing to have the ability to walk in, look around and see a shop’s e-liquis, mods, tanks and other vaping gear at a glance – without salespeople hovering over you.

Awareness of Trends

The landscape of the vaping industry changes quickly and without notice. The eGo e-cigarette, for example, kept new and experienced vapers happy for many years. Being extremely inexpensive to buy from wholesale suppliers, the eGo was a dream for vape shops – but that gravy train suddenly ended when vapers began to demand box mods and more powerful vape pens. Vape shops with the foresight and agility to recognize emerging trends and stock up on the right products to meet consumer demands thrived. Shops that stuck stubbornly to old trends quickly found their customer bases drying up. A vape shop that stays on top of current trends is one that deserves your business.

Welcoming Atmosphere

Cultivating a welcoming atmosphere at a vape shop begins with the ownership creating a pleasant workplace and hiring the right people. The cashiers at your local vape shop shouldn’t seem bored or preoccupied; they should be glad to see you and happy to answer your questions. If you like the employees at your local vape shop, it’s a sure sign that the ownership is doing something right.

We think that the ideal vape shop should welcome vapers from all walks of life – from the bro who loves nothing more than chucking enormous clouds to the grandma looking for a way to change a decades-old tobacco habit. Building the right kind of customer base is key. Many vape shops double as lounges in which customers can relax, meet fellow vapers and perhaps even spend a bit of extra money before leaving. There’s a delicate balance involved, though, in operating a vapor lounge. Attracting a clientele of young hipsters who loiter in the lounge all day, practice for upcoming cloud competitions and criticize other customers’ purchases is probably not the best way to cultivate a wide and varied customer base.  Try to find a local vape shop that welcomes all types of customers. You might want to help a grandma convert to vaping one day.

About the Author

Jason Artman is the owner and author of eCig One. Through his website, Jason offers freelance writing and SEO services to sellers of vaping supplies, e-liquid and CBD products as well as legal cannabis companies and brick-and-mortar vape shops.

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