You want to open a vape shop or maybe you already own a bustling e-cigarette business. How can you use your inventory to boost your sales? An often overlooked strategy in retail in using your inventory to draw customers into your business. Sure, you stock RDAs, tanks, eGo style batteries which seems like it’s a good variety (and it is), but what if you drilled down and took a hard look at your stock? Would you really have something for every type of e-cig user? Having something for each type of user will position you as the go-to vapor shop in your area. Read on…
First, let’s look at the different categories of vapor devices and their users:
- eGo Style (entry level)
- Basic Tanks/Clearomizers (entry level)
- VV/VW Devices (intermediate)
- Sub Ohm Tanks (intermediate/advanced)
- Mech Mods (advanced)
- RDAs (advanced)
Second, let’s break these down into sub categories:
- eGo Style: pretty basic – users at this level will not know or care about the finer points of each device and will usually follow your lead when it comes to choosing what device to purchase.
- Basic Tanks/Clearomizers: You will need to stock a variety of coils with different resistance, drip tips, and basic accessories. Users at this level with still be depending on you to guide them towards their purchase.
- VV/VW Devices: You will want to stock a variety of wattages, temp control devices, and different sizes. You want to have newest devices available with the newest technology. For example, having a vv/vw device for beginner, intermediate, and advanced users in stock is the way to go.
- Sub Ohm Tanks: Stock tanks that have RBA decks as well tanks that only accept pre made coils.
- Mech Mods: Carry entry level clones, mid priced mods like the SMK Flagship, and a few high end devices that are hot and trendy.
- RDAs: Carry cheap clones, mid range devices from companies like Wotofo, and high end trendy devices that are getting lots of press. Be sure to carry a variety of airflow options as well.
So now that we have broken down the categories let’s understand the method behind the madness.
I’ll use the RDA category as an example since I love RDAs and collect them. Let’s say you have your 3 RDA categories all planned out. You have cheap clones, intermediate devices from companies like Infinite and Wotofo, and high end devices that are new and trendy. Take a look at your intermediate category and make sure you have a) basic 3 post style, b) cloud chasing devices, and c) flavor chasing devices. Now break it down further and be sure you have d) bottom airflow devices and e) top/highly adjustable airflow devices. By doing this you will have a device for the vaper that comes to your shop and says, “I need a bottom airflow RDA that throws good clouds.” You will not lose a sale to your competitors or online vendors.
Do this with every category and you will always have the right device for your customers.
I can’t stock everything, I’ll have too much money tied up in inventory!
This is the common reason why vape shop owners do not carry a wide ranging inventory. They’re right, if they stock everything they will have too much money tied up in their inventory. You want to have product on hand for the oddball customer who wants a less popular device. You don’t have to keep 10 of each item on hand. Just buy 1 or 2 of the less popular items so that you have them available. When they sell go ahead and order 1 or 2 more.
You know what you sell better than anyone. Have ample supply of your hot sellers at all times. When you see a hot seller start to slow down, do not re-order a large amount, order a few less and use your money to buy the next hot seller. This requires you to pay attention to what you are selling. There are new devices coming out left and right which means that devices that were hot 2 months ago are now on the back burner.
What can I do with my surplus stock?
At some point in time you are going to buy a lot of one item that is hot and trendy. It will be replaced by a newer, more trendy item leaving you stuck with a surplus. There are a few ways to liquidate your surplus so that you aren’t stuck with a device that isn’t selling.
- Have a sale: Having a sale is the standard go-to way to liquidate slow moving inventory. It work sometimes but not always. Always try to offer a discount on the item in-store before moving on to the ideas listed below.
- Ebay: If you have a large lot of items that aren’t selling you could bundle them and sell them on Ebay. You can set a minimum price so you don’t have to risk taking a loss on your auction.
- Reddit: Reddit has an e-cig classifieds page where people sell and trade vape gear. Be careful dealing with people on Reddit and always look up their user history before engaging in business with them.
- Craigslist: Duh!
When liquidating surplus inventory be prepared to take a small loss. The idea when liquidating is to recoup a portion of the cash you have tied up in inventory. Avoid having to do this by paying close attention to industry trends and making smart business decisions.