e-cigarette store wrongAfter being in many vape shops across the country I have learned at least one thing: They are all different. Some are like Apple Stores where the dedicated staff is at your beck and call, ready to educate you and provide ongoing post-sale support. Others remind you of a booth at the flea market, looking to make a quick sale and forget you after you have spent your hard earned money on a cheap clone. Here are five ways that you can become the Apple Store of vape shops.
  • 1. Have a Clean Store

    Having a clean and inviting store is absolutely necessary. I have been in some e-cigarette stores that smell like mildew and vapor clouds. The smell of vapor clouds is pleasing but the smell of mildew, not so much. Keep your store looking clean and fresh by delegating cleaning tasks to your staff. Keep your display case glass nice and shiny and keep a buffing cloth handy to wipe fingerprints off mods and other devices. You can’t expect someone to spend over $100 on a mod that has finger grease and finger prints all over it.

  • 2. Keep Your Regulars in Line

    I’m sure you have a nice group of regulars that like to hang out in your shop. We want to foster an environment that supports the sharing of ideas as well as a social setting where customers can relax while being in the company of like minded people.

    Sometimes when a newbie comes in looking for advice the regulars or “veteran” vapers will create a situation where the newbie feels uncomfortable or overwhelmed. Make sure that your regulars understand that when you are helping a customer they do not need to interject. It is likely that the regulars are on a whole different level than the person who is buying their first e-cig device and that can be intimidating. Tell you regulars that when you are helping a customer they not butt in unless you ask them to.

  • 3. Hire Customer Service Oriented Staff

    Make sure your staff understands that their job depends on their ability to make customers feel at ease. Education should be their first priority and they should have a firm knowledge of everything vaping related. Create training materials that will help your staff learn how to help a customer choose the right device. Put together a sheet of qualifying questions that are asked to every new customer. This will make sure that your staff is asking the right questions and matching the right device to each customer.

    Put strict rules in place for times when the staff want to work on their personal devices. I cannot count how many times, as a newbie, I felt like I was bothering a staff member by interrupting their personal build session. Building a device for a customer is a different story but make sure that your staff is greeting every customer as they come into the shop and making them feel like they can ask questions.

  • 4. Don't Belittle Your Customers for Buying a Clone

    If a person is purchasing their first RDA and Mech Mod setup chances are they are going to flinch at the high price tag of authentic devices (I did). Plus, even seasoned vape veterans may not have a lot of money to spend so they buy a clone to test the waters before investing over $100 on an authentic device.

    If you staff looks down on them for buying a clone it will make the customer uncomfortable and likely stop them from coming back. Same goes for regulars. If your regulars talk trash about a person buying clone it will very likely stop them from returning to your store. Luckily, many manufacturers are coming out with reasonably priced authentic devices.

    Clone or authentic, your job is to educate the customer. Be sure you are pointing out any design flaws or problems with the device but never, ever make the customer feel like a cheapskate for buying a clone.

  • 5. Offer Post Sale Support

    Have a support program in place to service all of your devices. For example, Apple Stores have a “Genius Bar” where customers can get support and training post-sale. Create the vape shop equivalent by letting your customers know that you will offer long term support on any device that they purchase from you. Not only does this make them feel comfortable, it gets them to come back into your shop.

    I’m not saying to replace any device that breaks, I’m saying that you should encourage your customers to come back for help if they have an issue with the device.

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