Retailers that become a vaping destination before the menthol tobacco ban in 2020 will give themselves the best chance to survive.
That was a key takeaway from a panel on vaping at the Local Shop Summit event in London last month. Nick Geens, head of reduced risk products at JTI who chaired the panel, said one way to ensure success was by having regular conversations with shoppers explaining the different types of products available to them to help generate initial interest.
“This can be done in a number of ways, mainly through PoS, but also by opening up a product and going through it in detail with potential shoppers,” he said.
Andrew Newton, who runs Nisa Local in Cradley, Dudley, said he approached this initially by giving staff members who smoked a vape unit to help them better understand the product.
“Margins in the category can be up to 80%, and with vape shops generally closing earlier than convenience stores, it gives us independents an edge over them,” he added.
Meanwhile, Vince Malone, of Premier Tenby Stores & Post in Tenby, said since he started to sell tobacco products in February, including vape kits, trading overall has increased by 40% since last year, with 15% of that growth attributed to tobacco and newspapers.
He added: “Retailers need to look at the category as an area that is likely to make them a lot of money – but it will be a journey.”