What is ‘Big Tobacco’?
Well first of all, it’s actually more of a who is Big Tobacco.
These are the corporations that own huge percentages of the tobacco industry and who dictate pretty much everything that gets out to the masses. If you’re on the wrong side of these guys, chances are, you won’t be getting too much exposure in mainstream stores.
Unfortunately, big tobacco has infiltrated the vaping market in a last ditch attempt to take back control of those who have transitioned from smoking traditional cigarettes to embarking on a vaping journey.
Are they a problem?
In short, yes.
Because all that these companies care about is profits, they will prioritise this over absolutely everything.
Profit is number one.
This is bad news for you and your customers, as it means that there are hundreds of big tobacco owned vaping products out there on the market. This equates to countless competitors all vying for your customers’ attention and enticing them into buying products that are of inferior quality.
It also makes things harder for you, as it can make it somewhat harder to sift through the waves and waves of marketing hogwash to find the very best products to stock. Stocking subpar vapes and vaping paraphernalia can lead to haemorrhaging of profits in the long run so being able to source and acquire the top stock is a task that requires a lot of due diligence.
Thankfully, this is where our article is going to help you out.
By giving you the fundamental problems with big tobacco products, we can help you to confidently relay this information to your customers, thus giving them as much information as possible to aid their decision and helping your business grow as a result.
The issues with big tobacco products
We’re only going to list a few of the main problems with big tobacco vapes/products, but in reality, we could have listed about 50. Such is the undercurrent of false promises and poor quality that plagues the industry’s big players.
Let’s get into them.
A big tobacco vape kit might be cheap, but it sure as hell won’t be for long.
This is something you will have to relay to your customers time and time again, but it will never lose its importance.
Just because it is cheap at the time of purchase doesn’t mean that it’ll stay that cheap. They will have to spend lots more money on repairs, refills (which will be more frequent with the un-optimal hardware of cheap vapes) and soon enough, a new model.
The problem is even worse with the big tobacco’s vape pens specifically.
The fact that these big tobacco brands like JUUL charge people twice as much for their 2ml pre-filled pods as they do for a standard bottle of 10ml liquid tells you everything you need to know about the daylight robbery that they are committing.
Sustainability and long term costs need to be factored in to any purchase, but it is even more pivotal in the vaping market. For this reason, 2 x 1.5ml pods for £5.50 from Blu is definitely not the investment that you or your customers should have to make.
There will be added costs for you too.
If you offer a warranty, your money will be spent on doing free repairs along with lost time spent chasing new leads. These big corporations don’t want to hear about any damages or faults in their products – they simply don’t care. This can be a huge amount of stress to deal with your end if you’re acting as the middle man.
It pays to go for quality – both for you and your clients.
Lack of variety
There is a distinct lack of variety in big tobacco-owned products like Blu or Vype. Most of the time, these big brands just stick to a vape pen, as this is closest thing to a cigarette and as far as they’re willing to go in terms of pushing design boundaries.
They then market their products as minimal, easy-to-use alternatives to other vapes, which is a cover up for a complete lack of diversity amongst their range.
And don’t forget the flavours too!
Now, we’re not saying everyone that gets into vaping is going to want a stupendously complex array of flavours to choose from, but the industry as a whole has worked so hard to provide new, exiting and genuinely realistic flavours, that it is criminal to just shun them in favour of a very select few.
Big tobacco generally gives a selection of about 5 flavours – if that – that are a tad dull and don’t excite anyone in particular, which is going to eventually drive your clients away if you were to sell them.
You’re going to want a wide selection of equipment and flavours if your store is to flourish, so such a lack of it here from these big brands is something you’ll have to steer well clear of.
No real innovation
Let’s be straight for just a second – big tobacco doesn’t get vaping.
They do tobacco, cigarettes, cigars – whatever it may be – but they just don’t do vaping like the experts.
This is why they are light years behind when it comes to research and development when compared to vaping specialist brands.
Brands like Vaporesso and Innokin are delivering innovations virtually every month, with new and exciting tech to enthral customers across the world. Compare that to Vype, who have basically had the same sort of products since their inception.
You can see why big tobacco is held in such low regard by professionals.
No customer care
The big tobacco world is frighteningly impersonal.
You will never see the face behind the brand. It is the true definition of a faceless corporation.
This means that customer care is virtually non-existent. Customers can’t head into their store and have a half hour chat about new exciting products that they’re looking forward to and what sort of vape they’re after next.
It’s all robotic and aimed at extracting a customer’s money and getting them back out as quickly as possible.
Your store can be the game changer that restores faith in vaping again.
You can be the person to consult with customers and talk at length about the new vapes that the specialist front runners are developing – you can be the one to showcase the very best of our amazing industry.
Never forget that vaping is an experience and not a transaction.
Why are ‘smaller’ companies better?
Now for the independent brands that are run by true professionals whose genuine passions are poured into their vaping craft – the small companies.
These guys are who you’d ideally want to adorn your shelves with. Most of them design and manufacture their own products, they are straight up with their customers but they’re probably not as well known to the public as brands like Blu.
Anyway, let’s have a look at the top benefits of these companies for your customers.
Far more customer-centric
Smaller companies are far more focused on what their customers actually want. They actively request feedback and input from their communities in order to develop better equipment year on year, which is why their final product is always so polished and most of the time – is issue free.
Compare and contrast this with big tobacco companies who couldn’t care less about their community. They simply bring out a product and market it as hard and fast as possible until customers feel like it’s the only option available to them. You can see how it can be an overwhelming experience.
By stocking the ‘vaping good guy’ brands such as GeekVape or Aspire, you show potential customers that there are alternatives out there and that they can even have their say in its next iteration.
Simply put – non-big tobacco companies make better products.
Whilst they may be produced on a similar sort of scale, they are more than just lumps of metal and plastic – they are works of art that these brands are putting their name on.
They are developed by genuine experts with a passion for the craft and not just a random scientist who has no interest in the industry except for the paycheque it provides.
Brands like GeekVape produce their products on a large scale but what they have managed to do that big tobacco companies have not, is to still make their products feel personal to the user, which gives a far better vaping experience overall.
Not to mention the fact that if anything were to go wrong with one of their products, they will almost certainly resolve the issue – no matter how silly or trivial it may seem at the time.
This leads us nicely onto the next point.
A long term investment
A vaping kit should be an investment – it shouldn’t be a throwaway afterthought. This is why quality is so important.
Sure, big tobacco brands like your Blu’s and your Vype’s might make cheap equipment, but cheap equipment isn’t designed to be long lasting equipment and that’s the hard truth.
By making the initial investment in a quality vape, your customer will save themselves a whole lot more hassle in the long run. It’ll also save you having to explain why their brand new vape is malfunctioning after a month!
It’s simple really – big tobacco is something to be steered well clear of. It pays to do your research on the best companies, most of whom are independent and aren’t stocked in mainstream, high street stores.
Obviously, simple-to-use, entry models still have their place in the vaping world (who doesn’t love ease of use?), but there are so many better options available from reputable manufacturers than the ones being served up by Blu, JUUL and Vype.
There are loads of options to choose from, products like the disposable STIG Pods or other open-pod systems such as the highly popular SMOK Nord Kit or Lost Vape Orion that are light years ahead of big tobacco brands in terms of build quality, innovation, user friendliness, customisability (flavours, etc) and even aesthetics.
In fact – these vapes are the latest craze at the moment, so you’d be definitely do well to get these stocked up quickly!
So there we have it.
We’ve covered everything you could possibly want to know about big tobacco; who/what they are, what sort of problems they pose to the vaping industry, why smaller companies are far better and our overall verdict.
If you can try to keep as much of this info as fresh in your head as possible, you will set you and your store on a good path.
Not only will you gain more satisfied customers, but you’ll gain far more long term customers.
Good business all round we’d say!