Smith Trinh, the owner of Atomic eCigs in San Jose California, has a wild reputation online – wildly impressive that is. With thousands of followers on Instagram, a perfect 5 star review on yelp (which consist of over 120 reviews), and 16,000+ YouTube subscribers Smith and the staff of Atomic eCigs are clearly doing something right.
A few years ago, after watching his brother help others get off cigarettes by selling pen starter kits, Smith decided to get in the business as well.
“I wanted to help others quit cigarettes and I started by selling out of the back of my trunk. I helped my customers with the kits and finding the right nicotine dosage for each person so they could slowly leave cigarettes behind,” says Smith.
Being one of the first in the area to offer this service, Smith found that the business was starting to grow at a rapid pace. He was going to school, working, and selling the starter kits out of the back of his trunk – and beginning to get bit overwhelmed with how time consuming the process was.
“Then one day I thought about opening my own vape shop. A place where customers could come to me instead of me driving out to their houses. That is how Atomic eCigs was started,” explains Smith.
From the start Atomic eCigs was not your average vape shop. Smith wanted the concept of the store to be different from anything he had ever seen. Instead of the glass displays in the front, where staff would potentially be hovering over you and making you feel obligated to make a purchase, Smith had his display cases designed to fit inside the walls.
“With this shop layout, we are not hovering over the customers or bothering them while they are browsing. By having the shop designed like this, it gives customers their own space and they can just simply turn around at any time and we will know they have a question or need help. Then a staff member can head over there with one of our iPads to show them more information on the product they are interested in. It’s a system that has worked amazingly well for us,” says Smith.
Another reason that Atomic eCigs is able to blow away much of their competition is due to the fact that they have amazing staff. Outside of the shop, the staff members maintain popularity in the vape world on their own personal social media accounts. These guys live for this industry and it really shows. Customers feel a strong sense of trust from Smith and his staff and that is not something that comes standard with vapor shops in today’s industry.
“These guys are pretty much vape famous and they provide the shop with a very strong and unique team. With over 16,000 YouTube subscribers and videos that have over 200,000 views, people recognize our staff from the internet and then come in to shop, talk vape, or even get a picture with one of the guys. It’s like a movie in the shop, it’s very entertaining,” he laughs.
“People no longer see us as just a retail location, they see us as a place where they want to come and kick it and hang out and get to know some of the guys and we get to know them. Our business operates on a very personal level because of this. We make incredible bonds with our customers and in the end they become a personal friend,” explains Smith.
Because of the personal bonds that Smith and his staff are able to form with every person that walks through their doors, customers always come back. In addition to excellent customer service the shop also gives back to their customers by hosting events throughout the year. From Super Bowl parties to St. Patrick’s Day barbeques, the shop stays involved with their community and the people who not only keep their doors open, but make it possible for them to excel in this industry. Atomic eCig also hosts trick and cloud competitions and sometimes throws half anniversary parties just for fun.
“If there is any reason for us to throw a party at all, we will. We take any opportunity to give back to our customers that we can,” laughs Smith.
Physically being in the shop and being hands on is a big factor in the success of Atomic eCigs according to Smith.
“Every shop needs a present leader. You need a leader to grow. Sometime in today’s industry you see shop owners that are not ever in their shop, and that doesn’t work anymore. The industry is relatively young and the owner needs to be there to support the staff, keep things organized, watch over what is happening on a day to day basis, and keep everyone inspired. The best way to run your shop as an owner is to be there and be a part of your team. You can’t just be a ghost who operates from behind the scenes,” says Smith.
In today’s industry with so many vapor shops popping up every day, Smith has found that social media marketing is extremely valuable. Customers can learn about Atomic eCigs on most social media platforms and then stay up to date there as well. The shop has a Facebook page, Twitter, YouTube account and is diving into Snapchat for more real time marketing as well.
“When it comes to marketing your business online and on social media platforms, take the time to get high quality pictures and video. If its low quality, people will just slide past. With video, make sure it isnt grainy or noisy and take the time to edit properly. You don’t want a lot of dead time, your video needs to make the point quickly so people get what they are looking for without having to jump around to find what they need,” explains Smith.
The California vape shop has undoubtedly found the recipe for success. By paying close attention to detail and creating a shop atmosphere that is inviting and fun to hang out in, Atomic eCigs has built a strong customer base. By forming close knit relationships with their customers and actively managing multiple social media pages, customers can really get to know and trust the staff – during and after store hours. In today’s vapor shop industry, it is important to work hard and set yourself above the rest in order to succeed. Smith and the staff of Atomic eCigs have done just that and they are constantly striving to be better every single day. They go above and beyond what is required of them to make their customers happy and it is easy to see that will continue to be successful in the years to come. SVBS