U.S. vape shops focus on customer experience in-store

vape lounge - Lindsay FoxAmerican vape shops are creating lounges to distinguish themselves from convenience stores and other retailers that sell e-cigarettes, according to new research.

The 2015 Vape Shop Index from Project Vape Manifest, a venture of ECigIntelligence and partners, reports that the vast majority of vape shops in the U.S. (86%) offer some form of in-store seating – generally in the form of a lounge or bar. This suggests that consumers are treating a vape store visit as something more than a simple transaction, the report says.

Stores unwilling or unable to offer such a facility could be losing out – and it provides a clear differentiator between vape stores and convenience stores, which generally cannot offer seating, the report adds.

The report also suggests that the ability to take time over a decision, sample products and speak to a salesperson with experience are valued by consumers – which may account for the fact that nearly 60% of vape stores have not developed a presence online, where they could not offer such advantages.

For store management, avoiding selling to minors is another major concern, the report finds. 97% of vape shops reported that they do not sell to minors; 54% do not allow under-age customers to even enter the store, while 92% require some form of ID for purchasing. Of those that sell online, around two thirds use age verification software to screen out potential under-age buyers.

The Project Vape Manifest report, created by ECigIntelligence, Roebling Research, the E-Cigarette Forum, and the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA), provides in-depth data on the U.S. vape store sector including details of preferred flavours, bottle sizes and nicotine levels, as well as the split in revenue between hardware and e-liquids.

– Freddie Dawson ECigIntelligence staff

Photo: Lindsay Fox

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