“Should I buy vape gear from a vape shop near me, or is it better to buy online?”
The vaping industry started as a purely online phenomenon. Like so many other Chinese-developed products, the first e-cigarettes simply made up one more product category on an endless list available to entrepreneurs who wanted to try their luck as importers and resellers. No one knew that vaping would become a permanent fixture around the world or that it would cause tens of millions of smokers to abandon tobacco products for good within its first decade. All anyone knew was that vaping had enormous potential, both as a profit-making vehicle and as an unprecedented game changer for public health.
Some of the e-cigarette brands that launched during those early days are still in existence today and have become – or been bought out by – enormous corporations. Today, it’s obvious that there is a market to support brick-and-mortar stores devoted entirely to vaping products. In those days, though, the only way to see if a market existed for vaping products was to sell those products online. Over time, e-cigarettes began to appear in convenience stores, gas stations, pharmacies and supermarkets. Then, mall kiosks began to appear. Finally, brick-and-mortar vape shops began to pop up throughout America and the rest of the world.
Today, you have no shortage of options when you want to buy vape gear. So, what’s the ideal way to shop? Should you go to a vape shop near you, or is it better to buy online? The short answer to that question is that there is no right answer; there’s only what’s right for you. That being said, there are several angles to think about when you consider what your ideal shopping scenario might be, and some of those angles may not have occurred to you before.
Let’s dig in!
An Online Vape Shop Always Gives You the Best Prices and Best Selection
The number one reason for buying your vape gear online has always been – and will always be – that buying online always means you’ll enjoy the best prices and the best product selection.
One of the biggest challenges of running any type of brick-and-mortar store is the fact that you have to set up attractive product displays. Product displays make it possible for people to walk in and see a store’s product selection simply by looking around. The problem with product displays, though, is that there’s only so much room available in any physical space – and displays aren’t exactly the most efficient use of that space.
Online vape shops, on the other hand, don’t have to worry about setting up attractive product displays because they don’t have storefronts that customers can visit. An online vape shop can have a warehouse that’s stacked floor to ceiling with every type of vaping product imaginable. There’s simply no way that any brick-and-mortar vape shop can compare with the product selection of a good online vape shop.
Buying your vape gear online always means that you’ll pay less for vaping devices, tanks, coils and vape juice. There are two main reasons why that’s the case, and the first reason is that online vape shops usually have lower facility costs. In the world of real estate, storefronts are often some of the most expensive places to rent. Online vape shops, on the other hand, can use less expensive warehouses and office spaces.
The second reason why the prices are so much better at online vape shops is because online shops buy products in much greater bulk and can therefore negotiate more attractive pricing structures with wholesalers. The end result is that, in many neighborhoods, the typical prices at the local vape shops are double – and even triple – what a good online vape shop would charge.
Buying Online Is Usually the Best Choice for New Vapers
Buying your vape gear online doesn’t just mean that you’ll enjoy the best product selection. If you’re to vaping, buying online is practically a necessity if you want to enjoy your first vaping experience. That’s because brick-and-mortar vape shops often almost exclusively carry the high-end vape mods that experienced vapers prefer at the expense of the smaller pod-based systems and vape pens that work best for new vapers.
Convenience stores and gas stations do carry beginner-oriented e-cigarettes, but those devices use pre-filled pods and cartridges, which are subject to strict flavor restrictions and are only available in tobacco and menthol flavors.
As a new vaper, what you really want is a small vaping device that you can fill yourself with bottled e-liquid. You’ll only find a good selection of that type of device if you buy online.
No Matter Where You Buy Your Vape Gear, You’re Supporting a Small Business
When talking about the benefits of buying from a vape shop near you, some people cite the fact that shopping at a local vape shop is supporting a local business and helping to provide jobs to a few people who live in your city. That statement is true, of course, and there is definitely some value in keeping your money within your local community.
It must be said, though, that buying your vape gear online also means that you’re supporting a small business and helping to provide jobs. After all, very few online vape shops are one-person operations. Everyone needs help with marketing, web development, order packing, warehouse management and other tasks.
A Vape Shop Near You Delivers Instant Gratification – But You’ll Pay for It
As we’ve already mentioned, the top benefit of buying your vape gear online is that you’ll enjoy the lowest prices and the best product selection. So, what’s the biggest benefit of buying from a vape shop near you? It’s simple – the biggest benefit is instant gratification. Instead of waiting for an order to arrive in the mail, you can have that new device, tank, box of coils or bottle of e-liquid in your hand right now.
Of course, instant gratification has a price – but some people feel that the added expense is worth it.
Even if you generally prefer to skip the instant gratification and order your vape gear online in the name of getting a better deal, though, having a vape shop near you can be a valuable thing if you happen to break a piece of vape gear or unexpectedly run out of coils or e-liquid. When you get low on vaping supplies and forget to reorder in time, you’re going to be very glad that you can drive down the road and get what you need immediately.
Buying Vape Gear Online Means You Can Browse at Your Leisure
Are you the type of person who hates looking at products while someone hovers over you? Do you have difficulty entering a store and leaving without buying something? If either of those statements rings true to you, you are absolutely going to love the experience of shopping for vape gear online because you can browse at your leisure. You can examine every detail of every product. You can leave the site and try to find a better price elsewhere, or you can look for third-party reviews of a product that interests you. You can spend weeks looking for that perfect mod or tank. You can go to the same website dozens of times without buying anything and without anyone looking at you strangely – and most importantly, you can browse for as long as you like without someone hovering over your shoulder.
If you enjoy taking your time and shopping until you’re absolutely certain that you’re getting the best product for your needs at the best possible price, there is no question that buying your vape gear online is a far better experience than buying it locally. Shopping for vape gear online means that you never have to worry about pushy salespeople and can always take whatever time you need to make sure that what you’re buying is absolutely right.
A Vape Shop Near You Can Provide Personalized Product Recommendations
One of the fun things about buying from a vape shop near you is that you may eventually get to know the store’s owner or salespeople. Those people, meanwhile, will get to know you and may care enough to learn what your product preferences are. When you’re in the mood to try something new and aren’t sure what you should buy, a good salesperson will always be quick on his or her feet with a personalized recommendation based on what you’ve bought and enjoyed before. In that sense, there’s no beating the personal touch.
On the other hand, though, online vape shops – and online stores in general – are better than ever at using artificial intelligence to provide automatic product recommendations. Also, one thing an online vape shop has that a brick-and-mortar shop doesn’t is a massive collection of data. The product recommendation engine of an online vape shop can draw from thousands and thousands of previous sales to make connections that a human salesperson might miss. In that sense, the automatic recommendations that you’ll get from an online vape shop may actually be more on point than what you’d get from a human salesperson.