In-Store Smoke Shop
It’s no secret that the smoking and vape accessories industries are at a major take-off point — it’s just a matter of time. It might be 5 years, it might be 10, but any store that makes sure to be ready will reap huge, life-changing business benefits. One place to start is with the people you hire.
Though still a nascent industry, many smoking accessory retailers in major cities are requiring previous industry experience from their new hires as a requisite for employment. In theory, prior experience is essential so that employees can offer instruction and demos to customers about the latest and greatest vaporizer (and other trending) products on the market.
Simple to use in reality, much of the sophisticated industrial design in the new vape market make these little instruments appear to be more complicated than not to new users, especially those who are used to the paper-and-pipe of tobacco and dispensaries.
Unless employees actively vape (or e-cig) on their own time with a variety of new vessels, it’s hard to expect that they’ll start the job with expert knowledge. If you’re an owner with smoke accessories sales experience from the pre-vape days, it’s also not always easy to stay on top of everything there is to know about the explosion of new products on the market – or how to care for advanced smoke accessories in a manner that extends their life and elicits the best pulls of mist.
While shop owners are the first line of defense regarding the education of their employees and subsequent customers, this can be a big time workload impediment to scaling up sales quickly. There are now training platforms and tactics that streamline the process for shop owners so employees can get up and running fast with on-trend product (and keep your sales humming).
Point-of-sale systems are used for a variety of important functions in smoke shop merchandising, from strategic marketing to the typical checkout. As the vaporizer industry has grown and consumers have become more conscious about purchases as a result, smoke shop merchandising has begun to change from days of gaudy smoke products to entice last-minute novelty purchases. Modern POS systems accommodate buyers and simplify inventory systems in the process. Tablets and POS apps can do a lot to boost smoke shop sales, but it’s important to use apps strategically.
For example, iPad apps are useful in assisting the checkout process of retailers of all sizes. The ubiquitous app Square is the pioneer (and most prominent) across many industries. While a number of trendy POS applications are geared towards the food industry in 2015, several continue to be effective with respect to retail oriented products. ShopKeep is one of the most customizable checkout apps on the market today. Customizable buttons are essential to the smoke industry, namely the vaporizer market, due to the fact that products are being created and innovated constantly. Since retailers want instant and seamless customization, Shopify is also a generous contender. In addition to possessing the aforementioned characteristics of ShopKeep, Shopify allows synchronicity between the inventory of both brick and mortar and online sales.
The stereotypical psychedelic head shop is becoming a thing of the past. In its place is the sophisticated vape shop that’s a little more clean cut and well organized than its hippie predecessor. In order to increase sales, shop organization is an instrumental facet and will be covered in more detail in a dedicated forthcoming post on visual merchandising for the smoke industry.
Most vape and smoking accessories shops will not have the customer volume at any given time to merit intervention for queuing issues, but not having a well-staffed floor can negatively affect smoke shop sales. “How-to” issues are often addressed at the register, especially at smaller shops with limited personnel on hand. To expedite checkout, employ a dedicated assistant in busier times to educate customers on the floor before they step into the line. Instructional materials at the counter, which can also double as takeaway promotional material for your shop, can boost your future smoke shop sales.