The industry may be booming, but that doesn't mean you should sit back and relax.
Quite the contrary.
As a smoke shop, it's up to you to attract new smokers to your shop with a range of products, customer service, and an experience that makes both new and regular customers feel welcome.
Providing guidance may not single-handedly boost sales, but it's something you need to incorporate at the foundation of your marketing and sales experience.
Today, we'd like to take a closer look at a few things you can do specifically to attract customers, boost sales, and create customer loyalty,
Let's get started.
1. Make sure your website, social profiles, and shop represent your brand.
Everything from your website to your in-store customer experience needs to represent your brand as a smoke shop.
Make sure you're using the same graphics for your stickers, digital graphics online, and other images.
You're creating a brand experience for your customers, and it needs to be exceptional if you hope to generate word-of-mouth and more customers. If you haven't done so already, considering hiring a graphic designer to help you with your logo and overall branding.
If your website or social media profiles aren't branding like your store, you run the risk of creating confusion for your customers and ultimately losing them.
2. Stock your shop with a wide range of productsIt's important to stock your smoke shop with a wide range of products.
Doing so will ensure you have something for everyone, which reduces the risk of missing sales due to lack of inventory.
You want to make sure you have a range of basic products like bongs, pipes, and accessories, as well as emerging products, like dab rigs. Keep your shop stocked with a range will ensure your customers always find what they're looking for.
We understand (more than most) how risky it can be to stock up on products when you're unsure if they'll sell.
The simple solution?
Ask your wholesaler for guidance when purchasing. We work with a lot of retailers and we're always happy to discuss products.
3. Update your inventory based on season, sales, and trends
Once you have a range of products stocked, it would be beneficial to update your inventory based on a few indicators ...
Stocking your shelves with a few seasonal products is a great way to keep your displays timely and reflective of your customers' mindset. For example, you might want to stock up on a few Halloween related products considering we're now in fall and your customers are more than aware of it thanks to trends they're seeing from other businesses, like coffee shops, malls, and theme parks.
Another key indicator to evaluate is your actual sales. What's selling pretty well? Order more of that.
And finally, pay attention to the trends in the industry. If you haven't stocked up on vaporizers or dab rigs yet, you're missing a huge opportunity to sell products.
The best option ...
Develop a relationship with your local wholesale smoke supply provider for news on emerging products and special deals. This will allow you to save money and keep your shop stocked with the latest products.
4. Build your email listYour email list is one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal. Why? Unlike social media and mass advertising, email is a direct connection to your customers. When you send an email, your customers see it in their inbox. It carries more power than a social media notification because we still consider our email inbox as more of a to-do list. We do this because we're protective of our email addresses. We hesitate to give companies our email addresses because we've all been at the end of abusive marketing tactics ... we've all been spammed. For this reason, we consider messages in our inbox a little more important than social notifications. Here's what you can do to boost sales: Ask your customers if they would be interested in hearing about upcoming sales, new products, and events. Remember, people are protective so you have to sell them on the idea.
Let them know they can unsubscribe anytime, you only send email occasionally, and you promise never to share their information with anyone. Build your email list and let them know what's going on. Doing so will help you boost sales.
5. Leverage your social media followingIf you haven't noticed, we're glued to our phones. Next time you go to the coffee shop or store, take note of how many people are staring downward at their phones. We're constantly checking our social media profiles for updates from friends (and companies) because we want personalized news. We want to know what's up. We want stuff to talk about and do. You need to take advantage of this opportunity. Create social profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and tell your customers about them after every sale. Promote your profiles on your receipts, on your website, and in your store. Why? Allowing your customers to connect with your smoke shop via social media is an easy way for them to stay in touch. As you already know, it's important to stay in touch with your customers ... it's how you let them know about sales, new products, or invite them out to a special event. Take your social media profiles seriously. It's more than a fun past-time – it's business. And it can mean all the difference between hitting that sales goal for the month or missing it.
6. Publish helpful tips for beginners on your websitePeople turn to the web for answers about smoke supplies. The web is chock-full of content you can watch, read, or listen to, so your customers will likely turn to their computer or phone when they have a question about a particular product or smoking experience. Here's the thing ... The more helpful you are, the more trust you gain ... and customers buy from sources they trust. Think about it this way: You pay your employees to sell your products and provide customer service – selling your products is more than ringing up the product, sliding your customers' credit card, and saying "thank you." Selling is answering questions about the product. Publishing helpful information about your products online is no different – it's all about answering questions, providing helpful customer service, and guiding people toward the best products. Doing this online may boost sales in a big way because you're targeting the opportunity to help people before they decide to enter your store. That's huge. Create a blog on your website, search the web for common questions, and answer them on your blog. You can do this across your social media profiles as well.
7. Create a unique retail experienceYou want people to remember your smoke shop. The more memorable it is, the more likely you'll generate word-of-mouth in your area. Friends will tell friends about the shopping experience, which can either help or hurt your business depending on your retail experience. If you opt for simplicity, make sure the decor of your shop reflects a simple experience. Clear clutter from your location and keep it tidy. Conversely, if your shop is decorated like a pirate ship, make sure you have the props and decor that impresses people. Whatever your style, the goal is to get people saying "that shop is the best." Want to surprise your customers? Change it up every month and develop a reputation for being the shop you have to see to believe. Keep it fun for your customers!
8. Run seasonal sales & "ending soon" promotionsWhen it comes to offering seasonal sales and promotions, there's one industry that does it exceptionally well ... Car dealerships. It doesn't matter what time of year it is, car dealerships are relentless when it comes to advertising a sale or promotional event. Next time you turn on your television or radio, take notice of just how many local car dealerships advertise the "all-new" vehicle, the sales event "ending soon," or the holiday promotion. Why do car dealerships do this? It works. Advertising sales and promotions tells us what we all want to hear ... "You can save money." This sparks our interest as consumers and we feel compelled to take advantage of the opportunity ... despite the fact that these "sales" are constantly churning in a way that keeps the pricing consistent for the dealership. So, what can we learn from car dealerships? Hosting sales and promotional events month after month is a smart strategy to sparking customer interest, which in turn can result in more sales. Take a look at the type of sales car dealerships promotions for inspiration and brainstorm ideas for your own promotions. For example, car dealerships offer "end of the season" and "beginning of the season" sales designed to celebrate the beginning or end of every season. Map out your sales events on the calendar and promote them to your email list and social media following in advance.
9. Keep your POS system updated"Sorry, our system is down." That's something you never want to tell a customer. Your point of sale (POS) system needs to be up and running at all times, so make sure your prioritize its maintenance. There's nothing worse than missing sales because of a technical difficulty you could have avoided. Your job is to make it as easy and painless as possible to purchase products from you. If you can't, your customers will go somewhere else. Make it clear how easy it is to pay. You can do this by adding stickers to your storefront window, adding graphics to your website, and promoting how easy it is across the social media landscape.
10. Host product demonstrationsHave you ever been to a wine or liquor tasting at your local alcohol beverage retailer? The idea is simple: A retailer will host a tasting of a selection of their products as a way to help their customers experience new products before committing to making a purchase. During the tasting, the sales associate will provide insight, background, and information about the selected products. This gives the customer a taste for products they otherwise may not have experienced as well as the guidance needed to make an informed decision whether or not to purchase the product. As a smoke shop, you should be doing the same. While you may not be able to provide a tasting for your customers, you can still provide a demonstration of how certain products work. For example, you could target smokers interested in dabbing by demonstrating how a dab rig works, how certain accessories enhance the experience, and what the process looks like. This would give beginning dabbers an idea of what products they need to get started, which could transition into sales for you. As mentioned, leverage your social following and promote these demonstrations. Doing so will give your customers the info they need to swing by your shop and participate.
If you're interested in boosting sales, which we're guessing you are, take these tips and outline what you need to work on.
If your in-store retail experience is doing well but your social media profiles are outdated, consider starting there and expanding as you make progress. The more progress you make with each of these tips, the more likely you are to boost your sales as a smoke supply shop.
Let us know if you have any questions.
We're always happy to help!