In the United States and much of the rest of the world, the vaping industry began largely as an online-only phenomenon. Online sellers bought e-cigarette kits in bulk from Chinese manufacturers and resold them – often at very high profit margins – through their websites. Before long, though, competition appeared and drove prices down. Simultaneously, local vape shops began to appear everywhere. If you live in a medium-to-large city, it’s likely that you have several vape shops competing for your business. Between local and online vape shops, you have no shortage of possible sellers from which to buy your next mod, tank or bottle of e-liquid – and that’s a good thing. Finding the best seller, though, isn’t so easy.
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The conventional wisdom is that you’ll get the best prices if you buy vaping gear online, and you’ll get the best service if you buy locally. In reality, though, things aren’t that simple. If you’re like most people, you’ll probably end up splitting your money between local and online vape shops. Before you make your next purchase, though, I’d like to put forth a few facts that you may not have considered yet.
Online Vape Shops Usually Have the Best Prices
With most types of products, you’ll get the best prices if you buy online. That phenomenon isn’t unique to the vaping industry; it’s why companies such as Amazon have been so disruptive to brick-and-mortar stores. A local vape shop has to contend with expenses such as power bills, insurance payments, building rent and staff salaries. All of that money has to come from somewhere, so most local vape shops charge relatively high markups compared to online vape shops. With online vape shops, on the other hand, the owner might be the sole employee. An online vape shop has no building expenses unless it stores products in an off-site warehouse. With no significant facility or staff expenses, an online vape shop can afford to sell products at very low prices. Unless you’re haunting the clearance shelves at your local vape shops, it’s likely that you’ll spend less money if you buy your vaping gear online.
Local Vape Shops Give You Instant Gratification
You might save a few dollars if you buy your next piece of vaping gear online, but you won’t have that gear instantly. Depending on how quickly the seller packages products for shipping, you may wait a week or more to receive vaping gear that you buy online. If you’re buying a new mod to replace an outdated mod that still works, for example, waiting a few days to receive your new device might not cause any trouble. Suppose, though, that you’ve just taken the last coil out of a box, and that coil turns out to be a dud. Are you really going to stop vaping for a week while you wait for a new box of coils to arrive? No, you aren’t. When you need a piece of vaping gear right away, you’ll be glad that you have a local vape shop.
Local Vape Shops Serve Their Communities
One of the greatest things about spending your money locally is that a portion of the money stays within your community. Local vape shops create jobs. Vape shop owners also pay taxes that fund schools, road improvements, emergency services and more. Would you like to make your community an even better place in which to live? It all begins with supporting your local businesses.
Online Vape Shops Give You Access to All Vaping Products
Local vape shops don’t have unlimited storage space, so they need to stock the products that their customers want to buy. Online vape shops, on the other hand, can store their products in warehouses. Some online vape shops don’t even bother to maintain inventories; they use outside drop shippers who handle warehousing for them. When you buy your vaping gear online, you have access to virtually every vaping product that exists. If you want to buy a device that’s a bit out of the ordinary or need to pick up a box of coils for an obscure tank, you’re most likely to find what you need if you shop online. The one downside of having such a vast product selection available, though, is that it can be hard to choose the right one for your needs. That’s why reviews and price comparisons come in handy.
Online Vape Shops Offer Easy Returns
Every once in a while, you’re going to get a vaping product that doesn’t work as expected – or doesn’t work at all. In most cases, you can return a non-functional product to the store for an exchange or refund. When you buy from a local vape shop, though, the shop’s return policy might not be obvious. One of the benefits of buying from an online vape shop is that you can see the shop’s return policy in writing before you buy anything. If you buy a non-functioning product online, printing a return label and sending the product back is usually a simple process. When you return a product purchased online, you also don’t have to worry about explaining the problem to someone who might be hostile and defensive.
Local Vape Shops Can Personalize the Buying Experience
When you’re not sure what you want to buy, nothing beats a few words of advice from someone who knows your preferences. If you’re a repeat customer at a local vape shop, the people at the shop will eventually get to know what you like and can make product recommendations when you’re undecided about what product you want to buy. If you like e-liquids with citrus flavor notes, for example, the people at your local vape shop might let you know when they’ve just received a shipment of new citrus e-liquids. An online vape shop might have a good design that makes it easy to browse a large product selection, but nothing beats having someone available who knows what you like and can suggest products you’re likely to enjoy.