July 12, 2021
Doug Mutter, director of the UK’s largest chain of vape stores, VPZ, gives his view on a crucial period for the category
The on-going difficulty for retailers like us is the after effects of COVID-19 and lockdowns. At VPZ, we understand that customers respond better to one-to-one engagement with store staff, being able to see, touch, feel and try products with the guidance from a trained staff member.
Without the ability to do that, or with a new reluctance to shop on the high-street, this experience isn’t as prevalent as it was before and some customers have less confidence to try new products which can impact the uptake of some products.
Recent data from our VPZ consumer survey indicated that smoking rates have increased, but most worryingly, the amount of cigarettes smokers are consuming has also increased. Giving customers the option to shop in-store to get advice and see what products are best suited for their needs is more important than ever.
The category is currently undergoing a transformative moment with a whole host of new technologies, form factors and consumer experiences- all vying for the future of vaping as we know it. The overwhelming trend is towards smaller and more compact devices, with a tendency towards simplicity and ease of use, over complex features and in-depth customisation. The most exciting innovations definitely revolve around this new paradigm of “small & simple”, and the incremental improvements each generation of these products brings, ultimately adding more and more to the overall pool of innovation within the category.