Why do vape shops struggle so badly?

If you think opening a vape shop is going get you rich quickly, you are sadly mistaken. A few years ago, prior to the market becoming saturated, it was fairly easy for the average Joe to become a local vape legend by opening a halfway decent shop. In todays e-cigarette marketplace it takes more than a large sign and a few eGo batteries to make it big.

B&Ms provide a valuable service to the vaping community. They are places where vapers can go to connect with like minded people, they provide hands on product support and troubleshooting, and they offer a wealth of information for new vapers who want to quit smoking.

So why is it that so many B&Ms are struggling? Clearly, some local vape shops are poorly managed or they have idiots for employees, but why is such a hard marketplace for the good shops? Let’s find out.

Online Retailers

Online e-cigarette retailers are the arch enemy of the local B&M. These companies don’t have the expenses that go along with operating a retail storefront and therefore they can pass those savings onto the consumer. If you visit places like ECF or Vaping Underground you can see how much of a presence these companies have. Many vapers choose to ONLY shop online simply because of the pricing. If you can buy a Sigelei 150 for around $70 online, why would you get in your car, sit in traffic, possibly get rear ended, etc, only to pay $40-$50 more for the same item.

Getting Gouged by Wholesalers

Small B&Ms simply cannot get the volume pricing that the bigger online retailers can get. For example, Wake and Vape is selling a Sigelei 150 for $67.00 and LA Vapor sells this item WHOLESALE for $64. The average local shop has to charge at least $120 for this item and even then, when you factor in overhead and other expenses, they really aren’t making any money. Next time you complain about your local shop’s pricing, keep in mind that their margins are much less than other retail businesses and if they could meet the pricing of online stores they certainly would.

 Lack of Business Knowledge

Some vape entrepreneurs saw this industry take off and brought a wealth of knowledge to the table when opening their stores. Others, not so much. For every savvy vape shop owner there roughly 5 “bro dudes” who borrowed money from friends and family to open a shop without having any real plan. These owners will struggle hard to stay in business and unless they take the time to learn how to effectively manage their stores, they will be forced to close up shop. If you are serious about opening a vape shop you should definitely read up how to effectively manage and market a retail business.

Local Vape Shops Have It Rough

It’s not easy being the local brick and mortar vape shop. You have to deal with online retailers taking your customers, wholesalers charging you an arm and a leg, and shady B2B companies trying to separate you from your hard earned money.

As a consumer, we should be supporting our local shops whenever possible. Nobody is going to fault you for trying save money but if you support your neighborhood vape shop they will be there to support you back. Try going to an online store and asking them to loan you a bottle of juice until payday or sit at their vape bar and sample loads of free juice. B&Ms serve a purpose by being local hubs for e-cigarette activism and general conversation. If you know a good vape shop please continue to support them to help keep them around. It’ll be worth it in the long run.