As the vape industry continues to grow and attract more users, it will become increasingly important to understand the differences between the types of customers purchasing product and each groups particular buying habits. For example, a 50 year old who is using electronic cigarettes to help quit smoking will buy different types of product than a 21 year old absolutely enamored with the vape scene, pretty cut and dry right. One is into mods, re-buildable tanks, and high-end batteries, while the other is into “something that works.” Therefore, stocking your shop with the right kind of products that meet the needs of your customers can dramatically increase your sales and retention.

The simple breakdown goes something like this; If your shop carries too many products specifically geared for one type of customer, say high end vape connoisseurs, it can alienate the other, and lead to a percentage of your vape customers going somewhere else to buy goods. So let’s look at some very simple definitions and distinctions we can make in order to better understand our customers, and maximize sales.

Three Types of Customers:

1. The Newbies– The newbie might have been pressured to buy an ecig from a friend who’s really into the vape scene or just felt like it was time to take a step toward a healthier lifestyle, either way, the newbie—if taken care of correctly from the beginning—will become a customer for life. Typically, they have no idea how or why electronic cigarettes work, let alone care to put any sort of effort into understanding the ins and outs of each device; they just want something that will work and not give them problems. It is important for you to guide the newbie and help them with any questions they may have. The telltale signs of a newbie are as follows:

a. Intimidation about the selection of products they can choose from.

b. Hesitance about picking an e-liquid they will like.

c. Questioning whether the money they are about to spend is worth it.

d. Questioning everything and scoffing at the idea of having to do something seemingly more difficult than light a cigarette.

2. All Day Vapers– These are the people who vape with basic to intermediate batteries and tanks, to those who are all about the new sub-ohm tanks with replacement coils. They represent the majority of vape customers and therefore they should represent the majority of your focus—these are your easy upsells. They come in with questions about everything, from why the CE5 they bought 2 months ago is not working to whether or not the investment into a new $100 device is really going to make that much of a difference. With all day vapers, it’s important to have the right kind of selection—enough midrange goods for them to maintain their style of vaping and enough higher end goods to entice them to upgrade their device. The telltale signs of your All Day Vapers are:

a. Asking the right kind of questions about vaping, i.e. “will the Kanger ProTank give me a better hit than this CE5” or “What do you think is better, the eGo C Twist or the Vision Spinner II.”

b. A desire in his eye to purchase a high-end device.

c. Typically, but not by any means 100% of the time, All Day Vapers will buy the higher to higher mid-level nicotine strengths.

3. Hobbyist- Hobbyist are so into vape culture that they can pretty much explain in detail every item in your selection. They are opinionated and want the best bang for their buck. These are the ones who build coils, understand the science behind electrical currents enough to know that they need batteries with higher amps to complete their mod that pushes 50 watts, and they blow clouds like you wouldn’t believe. They are the drivers of vape culture and propagators of the new. The telltale sign of the Hobbyist are as follows:

a. The Hobbyist will have strong opinions as to which PG/VG blends—50/50, 70/30, 60/40—are the best for each device.

b. They constantly say words like, “kenthol”, “ohms,” and “mod.”

c. They will typically—and rhetorically—ask, “Do you even vape!?”

Each customer type is important and requires some thought in order to take advantage of their different purchasing habits. The Newbie needs to be guided to products that are easy to use, reliable, and easy to maintain. All Day Vapers want to maintain their vaping habits and upgrade as the market continues to improve—giving you perfect opportunity to upsell. Hobbyist expect you to know the best products and keep them ahead of the game. Think about it like this, if you own a typical corner store smoke shop—meaning, not specifically specializing in vaping goods—mainly dedicated to tobacco, glass, and only recently vapor products, you will have more success predominantly offering beginner to mid-range vape goods than high end drip tanks and mods. This type of strategic product selection will give you an advantage in sales because it is specifically geared for your specific customer base. Now go ahead and learn who your customers are and discover what you can do to meet their needs! SSA

James Deighan Headshot Photo

James Deighan is Director of Marketing with JJuice LLC. Mr. Deighan has over 4 years of experience directly involved in the vape industry and 2 years as acting director of marketing for JJuice LLC. Prior that that, he had 4 years of business experience in Sales, Marketing, and Strategy at Qivana LLC.  He can be reached at 801-331-8919, or by email at [email protected] or visit his website at www.vapejjuice.com.