Nick Geens JTI
Nick Geens, head of Logic and reduced-risk products at JTI

When vaping shops closed their doors in March following government guidance to combat the coronavirus pandemic, retailers experienced a rise in footfall and sales.

The challenge for retailers has been retaining these shoppers and, according to Nick Geens, head of Logic and reduced-risk products at JTI, offering the right range is key.

“Retailers must recognise which products are proving particularly popular with existing vapers in order to meet customer demand,” he says.

“There is a big opportunity for independent convenience retailers to become a destination of choice for vapers.”

Reaching out to suppliers like JTI can help retailers expand their knowledge on merchandising the vape category. Geens recommends retailers focus on their range, use planograms and brush up on their knowledge within the category to offer expertise and inform their customers on what’s available.

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Jey Sivapalan, from 1 Stop Convenience (Go Local) in Derby, has spent time building the right range for his shoppers to take on nearby competition.

“We have a vape shop on the same parade as us, so it’s important we cater for the customers we have by asking them about the products they’d like to see in store. Logic Epiq has proved very successful,” he says.

Understanding the latest trends can reassure shoppers that you can meet their needs.

For example, JTI expects pods mods, like Logic Compact, to continue to grow in popularity.

Closed systems is the fastest-growing segment in vaping, with open systems the biggest segment in the category. In fact, JTI has predicted that pods will overtake e-liquids in sales value.

Logic Compact is the number-one closed tank device in retail and is designed for vapers looking for convenience. Stocking Logic Compact starter kits, which contain a charger and a pack of pods, ensures shoppers have everything they need.

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Retailers told betterRetailing they have experienced a sales uplift in tobacco, accessories and vaping as shoppers look for compliant products in the wake of the menthol ban. In the past 12 months, suppliers have launched new menthol flavours, like Logic Epiq Polar Menthol, to meet the needs of shoppers trying vaping for the first time.

According to Geens, JTI expects menthol e-liquids to drive experimentation with different flavours. “Menthol e-liquids are a great starting point for menthol smokers switching to vaping,” Geens says. “Once converted, these customers may start to experiment with other popular products, like fruit flavours.”

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Twenty-eight per cent of consumers say they are more likely to choose a fruit flavour, while 20% choose tobacco or menthol, making it important that retailers offer a selection of each to drive sales.

Sivapalan has found that while tobacco accessories and roll-your-own tobacco sales grew the most in the run-up to the ban, his shoppers are beginning to try menthol vaping products for the first time.

“We’ve had mixed reactions to the menthol ban, but it’s important to offer alternatives that help to drive repeat custom.

“Customers are buying strong menthol vapes, often returning to try a new strength and buy the same flavour. I expect vaping sales to continue to increase as shoppers experiment with what’s right for them, but I expect tobacco sales to grow, too,” he says.

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THREE JTI PREDICTIONS

Menthol flavoured e-liquids will prove more popular over the coming months as shoppers look for alternatives

JTI recently launched two new menthol e-liquids under its Logic Compact brand – Berry Mint and Polar Menthol (18mg), with an RRP of £5.99. Logic Compact now offers nine menthol flavours and is designed to help retailers offer customers a wider choice of menthol vaping products. JTI also recently launched Peppermint and Berry Mint (18mg) under its Logic Epiq brand.

Nicotine salts and value e-liquids will continue to provide a great profit opportunity

Two of JTI’s products under the Logic brand – Logic Compact Intense and Logic Epiq – are recognisable to shoppers and provide high margins. Logic Compact Intense, RRP £5.99, offers consumers a smoother and more intense flavour, while Logic Epiq is part of JTI’s value range and has an RRP of £2.50-£2.99.

Pod mods will continue to grow in popularity

Closed tanks is the fastest-growing segment within the category, while open tanks is the biggest. To drive sales and meet your shoppers’ needs, offer products like Logic Compact, which is a pod mod system designed for vapers looking for smaller devices. Its starter kit has an RRP of £10.

Vape Retailer

The leading vape magazine for the convenience sector, Vape Retailer’s mission is to demystify the vaping category through industry-leading insight and actionable advice.