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How a Vape Store Doubled Their Sales With These 3 Simple Things

So I used to be a pretty heavy smoker, stress does that to you but I also enjoyed it. I quit a few different times and always went back to smoking until I started vaping. If you’re someone that has switched to vaping, you probably spend a little bit of time at your local vape shop, checking out new equipment, trying different juice flavors, and just hanging out.

Well I started talking to the owner of the vape shop pretty regularly and became close. We talked politics, world events, economics, and eventually marketing.

He made an offer I couldn’t refuse…

The 3 Things That DOUBLED The Sales of a Vape Store

The reason I’m sharing this, isn’t to brag or pat myself on the back. I can do that enough, without blogging about it. I’m sharing this because often times people in this industry (marketing not vaping) underestimate the impact we can have on a business.

People tend to under price their services, or they just think that what they’re doing isn’t making a big difference.

Business owners aren’t stupid, but sometimes they just don’t have the technical “know-how” to implement certain strategies.

There are a few lessons you can learn from this post:

  1. Identifying opportunities with an existing customer base.
  2. The importance of aggressive retention.
  3. Bringing in new customers through online visibility.
  4. Analyzing the competition and diluting their reach.

So let’s get started.

#1 – Implementing a Customer Retention Program

This business has been collecting emails and phone numbers from the very beginning. They had about 400 cell phone numbers they’ve collected since opening.

They had a good idea, collect their information and do a monthly drawing for a bottle of ejuice, and sometimes batteries and other items.

When someone would win, they would tag them on facebook which gave them some additional social exposure.

This was stuff they did on their own. All I did was improve their current system.

They had a nice collection of phone numbers so I implemented an SMS texting system for them to enter the numbers and send out weekly specials, and perks of giving them your number. We implemented “buy one get one free” offers, along with spend X amount and get X% off.

Something so basic and easy to set up has dramatically improved their business. Existing customers came back more often, they spent more money even though they were taking advantage of sales, and this also increases word of mouth marketing which is a very big deal among “vapers”.

This was a quick win, with long term lasting power.

A small time investment, very minimal financial investment, without even trying to reach a new audience or acquire NEW customers, resulted in about a 65% increase in sales.

(EDIT: I should also mention that a rewards system was implemented with a business card/hole punching thing where if you buy a bottle of juice, you get a hole punched, once you get 5 holes you get a free bottle of juice, Wednesdays are special days where you get 2 holes punches for 1 bottle)

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#2 – Being Visible Online, and in Search

The next problem area, is an area I saw another opportunity for some quick wins.

They didn’t have a website, and I wasn’t going to build one because I didn’t think the competition was high enough to do that and I wanted to keep expenses low.

They didn’t have a Google My Business listing, no citations, no directory listings, all they had was a facebook page.

First thing I did was create their GMB listing, do everything I could to optimize the listing. I also setup a Youtube Channel for their business and created a slideshow video made with Animoto. It was pretty simple but they loved it, and the purpose was to get a high powered citation, and rank it for the city + vape shop.

I also registered a domain for them, their business name was available so I registered it and setup a redirect to the facebook page.

Created about 80 citations, got them listed on Yahoo and Bing along with niche specific directories and forums. The forums were posts about “Recommended Vape Shops in city name or location.” This brought a little bit of relevance to the business but also more exposure because these forum threads were ranking for some decent terms.

After a couple weeks went by they noticed an increase in calls and drive by traffic, people traveling through the city that weren’t from around there. They found them through Google.

They popped up in the local rankings at #2, then another week went by and they hit #1.

This obviously brought in a new customer base, but also gave them additional opportunity by collecting more opt ins for SMS campaigns. Every new customer has an average value, and that average value increases by about 50-60% average on a monthly basis if they opt into the SMS list, by filling out their information for a monthly drawing.

So the funnel exists, attract, convert, then customer retention and customer value optimization.

Very basic stuff right? Just the online work that was performed results in an additional 25% increase in sales.

#3 – Implementing A Rewards App To Piggyback off Competitors

I knew the first two things would work. I didn’t expect it to be as huge as it was but I knew it would work and help their business regardless.

The 3rd thing implemented, I must admit, it was a shot in the dark. An educated guess that may or may not work.

There is one MAJOR competitor. There’s a few others around but there’s only one other real competitor that probably has the majority of the market share in the area.

I have friends that are really into vaping and they go store to store, and this competitor is one of the places that gets most of their business.

I did some research and tried finding out why, along with asking people and they said it was because of the belly app. Belly is an app where you get points for spending money at a store and you can get rewards. They like to collect their points, and they’ve had the app before even knowing about the competitor.

If you have the belly app, you see suggested retailers for different things and can get points by spending money there.

Their main competitor has been using this, and has been pretty successful with it.

After thinking about this, I came to the conclusion you don’t really have to be implementing other forms of marketing to compete, the owner of that store chases people off and it’s only a matter of time until my vape shop(not mine but you know what I mean) takes more market share. So the thought was why not get “Belly” so we show up to their entire customer base whenever they open their belly app at the competitor?

This may seem a little weird and maybe ineffective since there already is an “offline” reward system, but why not also implement an app based reward system while also diluting the main competitor’s efforts, and piggy back on their own marketing?

They already have a proven list of buyers… signing up for this app that people already have been using there, and instantly getting exposure to their customers seemed like a good idea.

Did I know if it would really work? No, I had no clue… just an educated guess based on analyzing the competition and trying to piggyback on their own efforts.

The result? 20% increase in sales.

The three things implemented, brought over a 100% increase in sales. More than doubled the business.

What You Can Takeaway From This?

I said you were going to learn 4 major points.

  1. Identifying opportunities with an existing customer base.
  2. The importance of aggressive retention.
  3. Bringing in new customers through online visibility.
  4. Analyzing the competition and diluting their reach.

Identifying opportunities with an existing customer base, that was easy with a rewards system along with SMS campaigns for retention and optimizing the average customer value. This was also an example of aggressive retention… the “lead magnet” was the monthly drawing for a free bottle of juice, this gave them the phone number and emails and names of the customers to remarket them.

Obviously the online marketing also worked, and it worked without a website.

The last thing talked about was the “Belly App” and using it not to be innovative in marketing but to piggy back on the competitors marketing and get exposure to their customer base. Often times you can analyze your competition, dilute their reach by implementing the same techniques, getting to be in the same places. It’s almost like 3rd party validation with the chance of being better than what their customers are used to. It was a risk, but a small risk with big reward.

The Bottom Line

If you’re a consultant or trying to get started in marketing, web design or SEO you have to realize and be confident of your ability to make a difference to a business. It’s often times the work you do that can allow a business to hire an additional employee(s), increase their profit, market share, and really make a difference in their life.

You also need to be willing to look for easy opportunities. Why is it that marketers like to pitch the possibility of more, new business instead of implementing programs for customer retention which is probably the most important thing for an existing company?

You also have to be creative… I knew local search was a great way to get more visibility, and I was able to accomplish that without even having a website! How many opportunities are you missing in low competition areas because you don’t want to do local SEO for someone that doesn’t have a website?


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