Starting a business in the vaping industry can be a great way to make a living. If you’re a former smoker who quit by switching to vaping, you know firsthand how life changing that switch can be. You feel better, smell better and spend less money to boot. It’s a pretty great thing – so it’s not surprising that you’d want to explore the possibility of starting a business in the vaping industry if you have entrepreneurial tendencies.
Before you rush to start selling vapes online like V2 Cigs UK and the other big boys, though, you need to know a few things about how the industry works. Many entrepreneurs who have used e-cigarettes to help themselves quit smoking have gotten the same idea as you. There are also plenty of vape shops owned by people who don’t vape themselves but are aware of the industry’s enviable profit margins. You’re going to have a lot of competition – and that’s only one of the marketing challenges that all vape businesses face. Here are some others.
Writing Product Text Is an Enormous Time Sink
If you’ve ever visited a major vaping website or a local vape shop, you know that the product selections are often enormous. A good vape shop carries a wide selection of vape kits, vape tanks and coils along with hundreds of e-liquid flavors from dozens of different brands. A product selection that’s modest by a vape shop’s standards is enormous by the standards of most other industries. That’s a major challenge for you because it means that building your inventory is going to require a substantial investment – and that’s not the only problem with having a large product inventory.
If you’re going to sell your products online – which is almost always a good idea because it exposes your vape shop to a much larger potential customer base compared to selling only locally – you’re going to have to add those products to your website. Each product will need to have a unique text description. If you copy your product descriptions from your distributor or from other vape shops, you’ll never receive substantial organic traffic because Google virtually always ignores text that isn’t original. A typical online vape shop requires tens of thousands of words of product text, and that’s not a trivial task. You’ll either need to spend a lot of time typing or prepare to hire an outside writer to provide your product text.
Website Organization Is Difficult for Vape Shops
Writing product description text isn’t the only problem that you’ll face when developing an online vape shop. You’ll also need to spend a fairly significant amount of time determining how you’re going to organize your products. If you do some research and investigate your competitors’ sites, you’ll see why this is the case. A typical vape shop carries hundreds of different e-liquids, and people want to search for those e-liquids in different ways. You can organize the e-liquids on your website by brand, flavor, nicotine strength and nicotine type, just to name a few possible search parameters. If you try to try to organize your product selection in a way that pleases everyone – and you aren’t careful with your website’s structure – navigating your site can potentially become very confusing, very quickly.
During the development phase, it’s a very good idea to construct a mock-up of your vape shop’s proposed navigational structure by creating a tree on your computer or on a whiteboard. Spend as much time as necessary to construct a structure that allows people to search for products according to their desired parameters without becoming confused or frustrated.
Generating Web Traffic Isn’t Easy
The fact that there are already so many vape shops in the world means that you’re going to have a difficult time generating web traffic at first. You can’t just launch a website and expect people to flood in; it isn’t that easy. Your product selection will be essentially the same as your competitors’ selections. Your competitors, however, are older and better established. Until your site gains authority, it won’t show up on the first page for most product searches.
While you work to build domain authority, you’ll want to generate web traffic in any way possible – and one of the best ways to do that is by writing informational content for your blog. Compared to product-oriented content, informational content usually has a much better chance to rank well on Google because there aren’t as many websites competing to rank for informational queries. Informational content also has a chance to earn organic links, which will help your site rank for more competitive terms over time.
Writing blog posts for an online vape shop, however, isn’t as easy as it once was. Your goal is to bring traffic to your website, and the only way to do that is by structuring your articles around keywords thatreceive significant search volume on Google. As soon as you begin researching your keyword ideas, though, you’ll find that many of the most popular informational keywords have nearly as much competition as product-oriented keywords. Finding an ideal target keyword for a blog post – one that receives significant search volume but doesn’t have much competition – will take a great deal of time.
No One Wants to Link to a Vape Shop
As mentioned in the previous section of this article, it’s difficult to rank well on Google for competitive search terms until your site has a significant level of authority. You gain that authority when your website earns links from other sites. In general, the more inbound links your website has, the easier it’ll be for you to rank for product-oriented searches – and those are the searches that generate revenue.
You’d better prepare yourself, however, for the fact that website owners are often reluctant to link to vape shops regardless of the quality of those shops’ informational content. No matter how informative and interesting your site’s content might be, you’ll find that simply waiting around for links is seldom an effective strategy. When you publish an article that you believe is genuinely helpful to readers, you’ll need to set aside plenty of time for outreach if you want the article to generate links.