Step into the next generation
blu’s Chris Street passes on his advice to making the most of e-cigarettes
- E-vapour represents an exciting opportunity for wholesalers, but currently only a minority of vape sales stem from traditional retail outlets – suggesting a real growth opportunity for convenience store owners prepared to upskill and invest in the category. Wholesalers should read up on the category to understand the different product types, how they work plus the terminology. This way, you can best advise your customers on what vaping products are right for them and their store.
- Successful ranging is all about striking the perfect chord between maintaining focus and ensuring consistent availability of best-selling lines, while also offering products that tap into any potential growth opportunities. Stock at least one open system and one closed system from a leading brand, but also consider stocking new product offerings to help customers tap into the latest category trends.
- Developing and leveraging strong relationships with suppliers can help wholesalers get – and remain – ahead of the curve when it comes to capitalising on category trends and NPD.
- By increasing the visibility of e-vapour in depot, you can help generate a real buzz around the category. For instance, merchandising blu products outside of tobacco rooms in other high-footfall areas. Wholesalers should speak to their designated rep to find out what potential blu cash and carry POS solutions are available to them. 5Consider running competitions, lunch ‘n’ learn sessions, taster events and other eye-catching in-depot activations and offline promotions in order to generate positive word of mouth among local retailers, foster loyalty and entice new customers. Play your part
Play your part to beat illicit
The fight against illicit tobacco continues, as brands attempt to clamp down on the illegal sale of products – and wholesalers can do their bit to help.
By making sure pricing for retailers is fair and that customers are educated about the penalties and dangers of buying illicit tobacco, wholesalers can play their part to ensure purchases remain on the straight and narrow in their area.
There’s lots of work being done by brands to target illicit trade, including JTI’s Don’t Be Complicit In Illicit, which is a nationwide anti-illicit tobacco campaign aimed at motivating retailers and members of the public to take action against the illicit trade.
Part of the launch included JTI’s Don’t Be Complicit website, featuring an easy-to-use report function, as well as a wealth of information on the scale of the problem and its implications across the UK – with a mystery shopping operation in Bolton revealing that almost two out of three stores visited were selling illegal tobacco.
JTI also worked in partnership with TM Eye to enable the successful prosecution of an illegal seller in 2018, which highlights the impact brands can have. Imperial Tobacco is another company at the forefront of the movement, with its Anti-Illicit Trade Manager, James Hall, pointing out the dangers of stocking it.
“The illicit tobacco trade represents a significant threat to many communities,” he said.
“It may be perceived as harmless by some, but the reality is that it bankrupts local retailers, floods villages and towns with unregulated products, increases exposure to minors and often has links to organised crime.”
Don’t forget cigars!
Getting a balanced stock offering in depot is important for success, according to STG Head of Sales, Alastair Williams
“In terms of core range, it’s really important for wholesalers to tailor their cigar range to their store and customer demographic. By encouraging retailers to engage with shoppers and discussing what they’re looking for, it arms you with information to adapt your range to ensure it meets their needs and reduces the risk of shoppers going elsewhere. “It’s also worth remembering, cigars are exempt from the packaging restrictions which apply to many other tobacco products, so will naturally stand out on the shelf when retailers open their doors. Wholesalers should remind retailers not to hide cigars away at the bottom or top of shelves where they can’t be seen.”