Online vape sales soar amid specialist store closures

Vapers and smokers are making the switch to online and telephone ordering for their vape devices and e-liquids, following the government lockdown and decision to classify vape shops as non-essential retail.

This is according to the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA), which said the industry has been successful in remodelling its operations to offer home deliveries, helping to ensure that consumers aren’t tempted to switch back to traditional cigarettes.

As a result, many suppliers are experiencing major sales growth. For example, Oxford Vapours, which has three stores in the city, has turned to e-commerce to keep local vapers supplied with products, and had a 250% increase in online orders.

What retailers need to know to profit from vaping #1 with JTI

Oxford Vapours founder Dan Greenall said: “We have transferred all stock from the stores to our warehouse in order to have enough to meet online orders from existing and new customers.

“We’re also using Facebook and email to support our customers with any advice. I’ve also learned a lot about my own business as I have been picking and packing orders in the warehouse. It’s opened my eyes to new opportunities in the future.”

Similarity, Evapo, which has 37 shops in the UK in Bristol, London, Leicester and Birmingham, has doubled the size of its customer service team to handle increased online enquiries, and is now operating its warehouse over weekends to cope with the upsurge in online volumes.

Juul Labs adds Menthol flavour to range

The company also has certified ‘stop smoking practitioners’ on hand to provide expert advice on vaping devices and flavours via phone, live chat and email.

Andrej Kuttruf, chief executive at Evapo, explained: “We’ve relocated all of our customer service team so they can work from home and we’ve increased the opening hours of our online live chat service which enables us to give advice during these difficult times.”

John Dunne, UKVIA director, said: “It’s great to hear that supplies are getting through to smokers and vapers despite shops being closed. We respect the government’s decision for the lockdown but it’s vital that smokers and vapers can still access vape products as they are 95% less harmful than conventional cigarettes.

Logic Epiq range gets nic-salt makeover

“The huge response from the vaping sector to turn things around in a matter of weeks so that vaping products are available to people across the country represents a monumental effort and reflects the entrepreneurial and agile nature of the sector.

“Vapers and smokers should also not forget that supermarkets and corner shops remain open and will be selling vape products.”

Read more about the effect of the coronavirus on the vaping supply chain in the next issue of Vape Retailer

Order your copy of Vape Retailer today, the leading vape magazine for the convenience sector. Click here for vape product news and category advice.