The rise in vaping and the accelerated decline in cigarette smoking are obviously intrinsically linked, and the need for a safe delivery mechanism for nicotine is clear. Thus, vaping has become big business, the concept visible everywhere with the number of outlets that promote and sell vaping products exploding.
For the average punter, the choice can be bewildering. Even deciding on whether to use a physical or online vape shop can be confusing as to which offers the best service. However, depending on where you are in your vaping journey, for the majority, online is usually the best route and we will show you why.
Vaping shops have become ubiquitous in most towns and cities. Springing up in every high street, they mimic the role of old-school tobacconists when cigarette smoking was in vogue for the first three-quarters of the last century. Their typical town center presence begs the question, why use an online vaping store rather than a high street emporium?
Vaping is a sensory experience, the ability to touch and smell would lead to thinking a physical shopping experience is a better option. However, there is a glut of reasons as to why a vaper may prefer the online approach to the over-the-counter experience. These go beyond the expected convenience aspect to cover other areas such as choice, reviews, and discretion.
Convenience can be an important factor with any vaping purchase. The whole success of online shopping as a medium is predicated on this principle. You don’t need to traipse across several blocks or navigate busy roads to get your vaping needs sorted.
Instead, You can peruse at leisure from the comfort of your armchair and have your order for vaping accessories and preferred brand of e-liquids completed and paid for in less time than it takes to boil a kettle.
Possibly the most important element that an online vape store can do is to open up your options. By its very nature, a physical shop will be limited by its stock, whereas a vaping e-commerce website isn’t .
Online vape shopping makes the whole of the available vape market accessible at the click of a mouse or the tap of a finger. Ordinarily, you are pretty much certain to be able to locate exactly the right vaping product that you are after.
Just because your eventual purchase might be a mouse click on a checkout button rather than the tinkling of a shop’s cash register’s bell, doesn’t mean the shopping experience started on the website of the purchase.
The sensual nature of vaping has already been mentioned. Taste, smell, and nicotine hit are the usual criteria from which buying judgments are made for vape juice and e-liquids, while weight, build and design will influence the choice of vaping devices.
There is however, nothing to stop an enterprising vaper scouting out their preferred option at a retail establishment, holding and testing them before taking their purchase online. They can access hundreds of prices in a single search, so are far more likely to get the lowest price.
Customer reviews are usually paramount to any online buying process and provide websites with more transparency than over-the-counter stores. Sure, poor reputations can get around for high street vaping that fail to serve their customers fairly or adequately, but this might only come to light after a poor shopping incident.
With online shopping, reviews sit front and center. A search will often pull up the reviews with the site information you seek, while a visit to TrustPilot can also fill in the blanks. In essence, you are far less likely to have a bad online vape shopping experience than you are in a shop. True, search can be manipulated, but it is such a highly competitive field that it is tough to pull off.
Of course, vaping can be a very personal hobby. There are circumstances where you might not want colleagues, close friends, or family to know that you vape.
These reasons can be anything from just being a private person to knowing that people you respect don’t approve of vaping. It could also be because you need to mask a nicotine addiction or allay the worry of people who are yet to be convinced of its safety.
Online shopping offers a veil of discretion for your vaping habits. It is a secret between you and the online site that you trust with your business.
Buying vape products online clearly has a lot of advantages over over-the-counter retail vape establishments. A fair assessment also requires us to evaluate any disadvantages that you should also be aware of before jumping into the e-commerce world.
Issues that can arise include accounting for shipping, lack of interaction, possible problems with quality control, and the ease with which you can deal with technical issues and return. All need to be considered and evaluated against your priorities.
The biggest element lost when shopping for vaping products online is the human process. Being able to discuss your vaping needs, seek help or advice is limited to your ability to read the ‘blurb’ and trawl through the frequently asked questions section.
Even the chat box is likely to be staffed by an AI bot. Email responses are the most likely route to a human connection.
Shopping online for your various vaping needs will involve a delay. Desire for an immediate nicotine fix cannot be sated with an online purchase. Generally, a minimum of 24 hours for your parcel to hit your mat should be factored in, but it could be much longer.
Shipping costs are another factor. The economies that you expect from online shopping will evaporate if your order is not big enough to amortize the delivery charge.
Because you don’t get to physically handle the vaping products that you want to add to your cart, you are at the behest of your online supplier in terms of the quality of the products they select from their stock.
It is not unknown for returned products to be reshipped to fulfill other checkout orders. Pre-opened packaging is usually a giveaway, but ultimately the ability to pick the exact stock item from a display does not exist for the online vaping shopper.
With a lack of quality control over the vaping item shipped in mind, how easy is the returns process? It is not as if you can just walk back into the shop and swap a faulty vaping device you just bought for another.
Repacking and a trip to the post office or the mailbox are likely to be in order if you are not happy with specific items or even the whole delivery. In essence, unless a major box retailer with a delivery company in their pockets, the onus will be on you to affect the physical return.
Does the range of choice, cost-effectiveness, increased transparency, and discretion trump the lack of human interaction, no immediacy of delivery, and potential problems that could result from substandard products?
Your vaping journey, and where you are along it is important. If you are at the beginning, then the advice from an over-the-counter high street or mall store is likely to rank higher in your priorities than price and convenience. But almost all the other disadvantages of buying your vaping products online disappear with due diligence. Read reviews, check out reputations, and you will be fine online.