Just a few years ago convenience store electronic cigarette sales were blowing up the charts. C-store e-cig sales were growing exponentially. They products that are sold in C-stores were cigalikes offered by brands like Njoy. Then about 2 years ago C-store e-cigarette sales plateaued and the growth has slowed. Not because the popularity of vaping was decreasing, far from it. but because consumers were going elsewhere for mods, tanks and e-liquids that produce more vapor from more sophisticated devices.
A convenience store only has so much shelf space. One top of that, the products being sold by c-stores are not always representative of the best quality vapor products. A few years back, we sent out an ECCR reporter to take a look at gas station e-cigs. We found a variety of generic brands being sold by gas stations that really didn’t know anything about what they were selling. It wasn’t the fault of the clerks, it was simply a reflection of the newness of the industry at that time.
The most c-store friendly vape product is the cigalike. A cigalike takes up very little space and fits quite nicely behind the counter right beside the cigarettes. C-stores really do not have the space to carry a selection of mods, tanks and e-liquids. As the industry has matured and people found that they could get the best deals for e-cigarettes by buying online, and consumers moved away from cigalikes the business has changed. Be that as it may, c-stores are still being advised that they need to offer electronic cigarettes as they still represent one of the fastest growing segments in the c-store business.
C-Stores Urged To Carry Electronic Cigarettes
The message from ‘Convenience Store News‘ is that selling electronic cigarettes is a “must do” for c-stores. While it may be true that sales have leveled off and not growing as fast as they once were, they are still growing. The trend is moving away from tobacco and no regulation is going to put that genie back in the bottle. Despite the data that shows people are making fewer shopping trips than they have in the past, c-stores can still see growth in several areas. Enhanced Water, craft beer and wine, and electronic cigarettes are all examples of growing categories that c-stores are advised to focus on.
C-stores are still full of generic e-cig brands that vary by region. The quality of these products is often not up to current standards. There are better quality C-store brands like Blu Cigs for example. Blu was perhaps the most famous brand. A couple of years ago the Vuse electronic cigarette became the top seller after massive distribution and national advertising. Those two are likely to be the major featured c-store brands.
Another good quality c-store electronic cigarette is Fin E-Cigs. Fin has added a small mod in addition to their base model cigalike. It is probable that c-stores will eventually settle on 4 or 5 brands that will be stocked everywhere. The Big Tobacco brands will have a tremendous advantage because of distribution.
You may have seen the TV adds for the Log E-cigs and Logic Pro vaporizer. C-stores will want to capitalize on the marketing efforts of major brands like Logic.
Ultimately, seasoned vapers will still, in all likelihood, prefer to stick with more advanced products that c-stores will not be able to stock. The c-store brands will probably be fated to serving as introductory vape products. Once tobacco consumers try a vapor product from a c-store many will love on to the better quality American vape companies and to advanced products.
The big takeaway here, however, is that electronic cigarettes and alternative tobacco products are the future.