Shop Owners: Selling Outdated Products stems from a discussion in the office about brick and mortar stores selling outdated gear. Today, we are going to look at this from several different perspectives, from the shop owner, from the consumer and from the stand point of the industry in general.
Is There A Problem
We understand that for the majority of stores, items are bought in bulk to keep the cost per item down. That is how business works, buy low sell higher and make a profit. Everybody gets that, we deal with it in every industry we give money to. The reality of the situation though is that the vaping industry is unlike almost any other on the planet, save for the high-end electronics market. The technological innovations in this business are on par with Apple or LG. Could you imagine someone tried to sell you a full priced iPhone 4 in a phone store today? Your first reaction would be to laugh and ask them if they were serious, but then you would walk out of the door and go to a place with the latest innovations because as a consumer, you know what is on the market. This is where the vaping industry differs from others. A vast number of people walking into stores have no idea what a 200 Watt Temperature Controlled box mod is, let alone which one is the best for their personal needs and some owners are using this to their advantage.
To The Vape Shop Owner
As I already mentioned, we understand that you buy in bulk to keep costs down, but you understood when you bought 15000 top coil clearomizers that they would not be the latest and greatest innovation for long. You decided to get into an industry that never sleeps, where yesterdays great innovation is forgotten by next week and in all honesty I can not fault you for trying to make back your money. We understand that the MVP V2 was the GREATEST innovation when it was released with its 11 watts of power. Selling these things at cost in a bargain bucket is not a problem. I do not begrudge you trying to recoup your losses, but for the love of god, stop trying to sell these things as if they are 2015’s latest breakthroughs in vaping technology at 2013 prices. Not only are you giving yourself a bad name as soon as that customer finds out the truth of what you have sold them, you are giving an entire industry a bad name with your shady business practices. I used the two examples above for the simple fact that less than a month ago, I was in a vape shop (that will remain un-named) and saw this exact practice going on. Posing as a new customer I was offered an MVP V2 and 2 top filled clearo tanks circa 2012 as the most effective way to get away from cigarettes on the market today for $85. When I actually told the sales associate who I was, he confided that knew that what they were doing wasn’t right but the owner constantly pushed to get the old merchandise out of the door. I asked the owner, which was more important to him, the best products for his customers or grasping at straws old junk. I told him I would sit down with him to figure out plan going forward to regain some of his reputation ( which is non-existent with experienced vapers because everyone within 50 miles knows he has been scamming smokers for a while) and help him make money. I heard all the excuses of over heads and recouping losses, getting ready to go out of business etc. He was only in the business to make money and that was exactly why he failed. That shop is no longer in business at the time of writing this article.
As a store owner, it is up to you to provide the most up to date innovations at the best price, caring about your customers needs as much as the balance of your own check book. If you care about the consumers walking through the door you will succeed. Pay attention to the amount of a particular product you order, if you don’t believe you can move it in a month, don’t buy it. We don’t have the luxury of an industry that has been stagnant for generations, such as canned good, that we can order 500 of anything, unless we have the busiest shop on the planet.
To The Consumer
Most of you, reading this article will never be caught in the traps these people set because you know better. If you have the ability to get online and read, chances are you have already looked up the prices of the next 5 devices you plan to buy and know what they are weeks before they have been released. Today, I am not aiming this article at you because you may fall victim, but because you are the ones who can prevent these bad business practices. If you walk into a vape shop that has ridiculous prices on antiques that are so out of date they would make sun dials look modern ask them about it. Don’t be an ass but make sure that they are aware that as a consumer, you know that what they are selling is not in the best interest of their customers. Chances are they will get mad and try to throw a counter at you for pointing out their misguided ways, but point out that there are many trade associations across the country that would happily sit down with them and help them figure out a way forward in this industry. Some of these folks are, in all honesty, Just over their heads when it comes to the fast pace of our industry and could use a guiding hand. Unfortunately, there are those who just got in to make a quick buck and bet on the wrong pony and for those guys I want everyone to remember one thing: they can only stay in business if the consumers keep putting money in their pockets.
To The Industry
We want to give our consumers the best possible chance at success at every step. We all know that we do not need smokers first impressions of our industry to be stories of walking into a vape shop and basically being robbed by an unscrupulous business owner. It is our collective job to ensure that our success is their success. Anyone can open a vape shop, that much is true, but there should be some form of help offered to new owners to make sure they don’t fall into a pit they can not get out of. We need manufacturers to tell their clients that by next month the items they are buying will be replaced with bigger, brighter and shinier things. We need responsible ownership of the industry in general, our trade associations need to be on hand to take care of problems before they arise and to remove maggots from the apple before they get around to poisoning all the apples.
We need new vapers to have the best possible chance of success, period. That means the latest innovations in their hands when they take a giant leap and make the switch. Store owners will face hardships from an industry that never stops to take a breath and we, as consumers understand that. Consumers also understand how business works and that as a business owner you have to make back the money you spend to bring in bigger and better things. Be aware that as a business owner, you are investing in products today that nobody may want by next week and you must plan accordingly. Do not use smokers who are blind to what the industry truly has to offer to bleed dry for your mistakes. My time in the Army taught me one thing above all others. Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance, always be sure of what you are doing BEFORE you do it.
As always, enjoy your vaporizers and vape safe!