We sure are seeing a lot of vapor shops (and hybrid tobacco/vapor) open up. This market is growing faster by the day. At the same time, we are also seeing a lot of stores close.

Forbes says “It is estimated that the global e-cigarette market could increase to $10 billion by 2017. Some analysts even predict that e-cigarette use will eclipse that of combustible cigarettes in ten years.”

If you haven’t figured it out, this is a very serious business with a lot of opportunity. So why are some stores closing at an equally fast rate?

It’s simple; customers are smarter than these operators thought. Customers are already getting smart enough to demand only the highest quality product and they want it made in the USA (not just stamped with “USA” on the label). The news is also doing a great job discussing the deaths and more caused by synthetics.

No matter how pretty the synthetic stuff is packaged, if it’s not quality, your customers will figure it out and may never return. They will simply take their chances on the store down the street.

Here is an example.

This time, last year, we watched a store open down the street from one of our offices that had a budget of over $98000 to open. We attempted to talk to them about what we do. Not just about selling our product and our experience in this industry, but also about best business practices, employee product training, best customer service practices and more. This level of service is offered to every one of our wholesale accounts.

We tried to help. We tried repeatedly. We could never get them to take the time to listen. Exactly six months later – they closed. All the employees are out of jobs, there is an empty building on a busy corner and yes, the owner is still responsible for the 2 year balance of a 3 year lease.

This stores failure was a combination of thinking their customers were not smart enough to know better, the owners demand for high margins over honest high quality product, and little to no concern for better business practices.

At this point in this industry, it is in fact the time to function in accordance with the science of running a business. If you are not sure what this means – get help! There are a tremendous amount of resources available for the small business owner.

Think long term. If this is a business you have created for long term success, it requires a very different mindset than that of an investment you simply want a return on. We are in a business that helps people transition away from smoking cigarettes. Something most smokers have done their entire life. Respect this fact and understand that you are the ambassador that is responsible for helping this person and changing their way of life. The customer stories that we hear on a daily basis are truly inspirational and the satisfaction of knowing that we contributed to their well-being is priceless.

Be a Leader, a Pioneer, a Trailblazer-not a path follower. SSA

Danica Headshot copyDanica Niketic is the Vice President of Business Development for Worlds Finest Vapors. She is responsible for defining long-term strategic goals, building key customer relationships, identifying business opportunities, as well as maintaining extensive knowledge of current market conditions. Contact her at 310.212.3111, [email protected], or visit www.worldsfinestvapors.com.