1. Keep Your Finger on the Industry’s Pulse
In other words: be passionate. This is the reason people who love what they do, who feel the work they do is important, are usually more successful. The more immersed you are in the industry, the more you will be able to predict upcoming trends and introduce your customers to the next groundbreaking vape innovation.
One of the best ways to build customer loyalty is to be seen as a trailblazer, an invaluable source of information. It’s crucial to be responsive to your customers’ requests, so if they come to you asking if you carry a certain product, always be open to their suggestions. It’s even better, however, to lead the way and introduce your customers to products before they hear about them elsewhere. Yes, this requires a high level of dedication. Tip: this is one added advantage of hiring highly dedicated, passionate employees; the more fingers on the pulse, the better!
2. Be in Touch with Your Customers (and Prospective Customers!)
There are super simple (I swear!) email marketing software providers, like MailChimp (which has a totally free option!) and Constant Contact, that even people who are not tech savvy can utilize with amazing results. When you’re checking your customers out at the register, offer to add them to a mailing list with exclusive discounts and offers. Then you can easily send out a weekly, bi-monthly or even monthly email that both reminds them how great your store is and offers them an incentive to come back. Customer loyalty? Yes, please.
The best way, of course, to get (and stay) in touch with prospective customers is via social media. Be active on Instagram and/or Facebook, letting your local community know about events you’re holding, special discounts and offers, alerts about new products and news relevant to the vape community. This doesn’t require a lot of time, but a few posts a week can really help you spread the word about your store and build a good repertoire with potential customers before they even walk through your doors… and this helps build customer loyalty!
3. Ensure Impeccable Customer Service
We’ve all heard the numerous reports about curious people (especially smokers looking to quit) walking into a vape store for the first time and feeling really uncomfortable for a whole slew of reasons (male-dominated environment, intimidation by unfamiliar jargon, etc.) It is absolutely crucial that anyone who walks into your store is welcomed, has his/her needs assessed, and is then truly served by a team member who is not just a sales person, but is trained in customer service. This is the difference between securing one sale with a given customer, and ensuring he/she returns again and again (customer loyalty!)
Another way to go the extra mile, and pretty much ensure customer loyalty, is by offering post-sale support. This means that the customer is invited to come back to your store (always good) if he or she has any issues with any device purchased. Please note this in no way obligates you to replace any item, and the lengths you will go are entirely up to you, but knowing that you will help your customers navigate any difficulties, which can include contacting the manufacturer of the device or product, will inspire confidence in your store.
4. Consider Implementing a Loyalty Program
There are lots of different types of loyalty programs, but arguably the most simple (for everyone involved) is a point system. When your customers purchase products, they earn a certain amount of points (usually correlated to the amount of money spent) and then a clear system for translating points into prizes (e.g. 10 points = $1 or 10% off). For example a direct retailer, could offer a free bottle of e-liquid for every 10 bottles purchased. We love that most stores offer free builds with the purchase of an RDA, and we think most of your other customers appreciate that, too! However you decide to do it, a well-structured loyalty program is obviously a great way to build customer loyalty!
5. Offer a Good Selection
Each customer is unique and looking for different products, and you want to be able to cater to these unique needs, which means offering a good selection without offering everything. Avoid clutter and try to stock, as much as possible, products you believe in and can stand behind. Of course, it’s important to have a balance; an obvious example is to offer both high-end mods for intermediate and advanced users, as well as at least a couple of more simple devices for beginners. Another example is to offer an organic, premium e-liquid as well as a less expensive option(s), though keep in mind that premium products do not necessarily come with exorbitant price tags.
This ties into a secondary but equally important point: don’t force your customers to search online for unique items as this prevents customer loyalty. Do you know we recently tracked a 50% increase to over 120,000 searches for organic e-liquid searches online per year? Try to offer at least one option for every categorical request you may receive (and this is why anticipating these requests was listed right at the top). SVBS
Sheerlie Ryngler is the Director of Operations and Creative Director at Vape Organics, the first certified organic e-liquid line. Sheerlie studied International Relations at UW-Madison and went on to graduate summa cum laude from the University of Haifa, where she received her MA in Conflict Resolution. She has been a passionate activist for a number of causes; for the past 1.5 years Sheerlie has focused her attention on the vape industry and believes that standards of excellence and commitment to progress are crucial to ensuring its continued success. Please feel free to contact Sheerlie at [email protected] or visit her website at www.pureorganicvapors.com.