Just like the 1964 Bob Dylan song alludes to, these are trying, volatile, and increasingly uncertain times in the vapor industry. With the initial FDA compliance date of August 8th having now passed, many retailers have exercised a great deal of trepidation in what products they sell and to whom they give their business. Operating–much of the time–out of fear, an unintended consequence is we’ve seen a decrease in consumer confidence. As with any business, the full faith and trust of your customers is paramount to increasing your bottom line. Change, of any kind, is often met with resistance simply because it alters the status quo by its very nature. Most are motivated by pleasure or by pain, and the pain of declining sales is enough to capture the attention of savvy business owners. So, let’s put a few/ things into perspective in a concerted effort to assuage the fear of retailers and turn the tide of consumer confidence toward ringing cash registers.
First, you must abandon yourselves from the idea that as of August 8th, 2016 the majority of retailers and e-liquid manufacturers closed their doors. There is no evidence or even valid speculation to suggest that the show will not go on. Many e-liquid companies have been preparing for the likely scenario of stringent FDA regulations. Fortunately, for those who have been proactive and vigilant, their products and services will still be offered. To be sure, even the manufacturing companies who have no intention of ever navigating through the tedious, expensive FDA application process will be legally allowed to sell their products until August of 2019. In other words, everyone in the manufacturing sector of the industry could–and should–remain open for business for at least another three years. So, there is no need to liquidate your inventory, fire your employees, and close your doors. You must also not fail to recognize the potential for pending lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the FDA regulations. Should litigation be successful, the entire landscape of this market would favorably change.
Granted, a tremendous amount of misinformation and confusion exists regarding what retailers can expect, and it is based on exaggeration, ignorance, or bold-faced lies. Thus, it is of critical importance that we examine the facts. If you are a retailer, you essentially have only three major changes to embrace. One, your store will no longer be allowed to offer coil builds to RDA customers. Actually, this may benefit most store owners. How much more effective would your employee’s time be spent if he or she were busy focusing their attention on marketing and selling more of your products rather than exhausting valuable man hours on time-consuming coil builds? As in-store building transitions into an antiquated practice, your cost of payroll will consequently benefit. Second, the days of free sampling are coming to an abrupt, and arguably long overdue, end. You are within the scope of the law to allow sampling in your store, but you must charge at least a nominal fee for it. We would offer a word of perspective on the whole concept of free sampling. When is the last time you went into a bar and asked to sample their very best before buying a drink? Finally, selling house line e-liquids made by your store is a practice that will no longer exist unless the retailer intends to register as a manufacturing company with all of the accompanying fees for doing so. Now is a better time than ever for retailers who exclusively sell their own line to stock up on premium e-liquids in an effort to remain competitive and solvent. Sure, your margins are undoubtedly better by selling liquids you make yourself, but you will more than likely appeal to a significantly larger customer base by offering higher quality products that are in greater demand within the industry.
The path forward may appear uncertain, but the worst reaction to what we are currently dealing with is to curl up into a ball and stop spending your money. Your ability to comply with and navigate through change is the decisive factor in whether you will succeed or go bust. SVBS
Nathan Coccimiglio is CEO and Founder/SFATA Utah Chapter President. Nate has applied his business acumen and passion into the vaping industry by founding Cash Vape. Shilo Platts is Vice President of Sales/SFATA Utah Chapter Press Secretary. He he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology with a certificate in criminology. from the University of Utah. For more information, contact Cash Vape at 801.938.9345, or email [email protected], or visit www.cashvape.com.