If you’re a vape retailer in the UK, you’ll probably already know many hoops you have to jump through before you can even think about advertising your products.
In August 2018, the UK Science and Technology Committee published a report recommending that advertising restrictions on e-cigarettes should be reviewed to better reflect the evidence of the relative harms of e-cigarettes compared to regular cigarettes.
The Committee also recommended that the ban on e-cigarette manufacturers “making claims for the relative health benefits of stopping smoking and using e-cigarettes” should be changed to better inform smokers about the health benefits of switching to e-cigarettes.
Despite this, laws have only gotten tougher, and there are strict rules in place surrounding where, how and what vape shops can advertise. You also have to be especially careful to make sure you aren’t unintentionally promoting your products to under 18s.
Health experts in England have recently called for a ban on promotions that they believe will appeal to children, including naming the products after popular sweets and the use of cartoon characters on labels. If such laws were implemented, brands across the country would have to completely review entire collections of vape products, despite the presence of stringent age verification systems on all reputable sites.
It’s not just in the UK either, as e-cigarette giant Juul recently agreed to a $40million settlement in North Carolina following allegations of marketing to underage consumers.
In a statement, Juul said, “This settlement is consistent with our ongoing effort to reset our company and its relationship with our stakeholders, as we continue to combat underage usage and advance the opportunity for harm reduction for adult smokers.”
So, how can you legally advertise your store, and what does this mean for vaping advertisement moving forward? Here’s everything you need to know about promoting your vape shop.
What are the advertising restrictions on vaping?
In 2016, the EU Tobacco Products Directive came into force, restricting the promotion and advertisement of e-cigarettes in all EU States. It means that e-cigarettes and other nicotine-containing vape products can’t be advertised via:
- TV or on-demand TV
- Information services like internet advertising and commercial e-mail
- Printed publications such as newspapers and magazines
This also prohibits e-cigarette product placement or any sponsorship promoting e-cigarettes on radio and TV programmes.
There are also rules for online advertising, which cover the following:
- commercial email, text messaging and other messaging services, except for existing customers who have signed up for such promotions
- online advertisements in paid-for spaces, including banner or pop-up ads and online video advertisements
- paid-for search listings and preferential listings on price comparison sites
- paid social media placements
- in-game advertisements, including augmented reality and virtual reality environments
- commercial classified ads
- promotional marketing online
- in-app advertising
With so much red tape to navigate, finding innovative methods to market your shop and its products can be a bit of a minefield. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of some of the best ways you can legally advertise your store.
Great ways to advertise your vape store
Posters & storefront information
It’s important to make your storefront attractive and inviting if you want to draw in new and passing customers. Whilst you can’t display any pricing in the windows, you can place facts about the benefits of switching to vaping using well-designed posters.
Having knowledgeable staff who are enthusiastic about helping people quit smoking is key if you want to make a good first impression and achieve a loyal customer base. Another tip is to offer an in-store loyalty programme, whether that be via a point system or stamps that award customers a percentage off their purchase after a number of visits.
Attend vaping events
There are lots of events you can attend throughout the year, including the World Vape Show. There are many held across the country, and as well as helping you reach new customers, they're a great opportunity for networking. Whether you’re looking to find new suppliers or link up with other vape stores and new brands, you’ll meet them all at vape expos.
Use social media
If you haven’t already created social media accounts for your vape store, then that should be top of your to-do list today! You need to be careful about linking to products and your choice of terminology, but you can promote your store, post tutorials and video content.
Work with Influencers
There are a lot of prevalent vaping enthusiasts on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Twitter who you can follow to get insights on new vaping products. It’s a quick and easy way to keep up to date with the latest trends and discover what devices people are raving about.
Larger vaping companies work with selected influencers to showcase their products to the vaping community via free product send-outs rather than paid-for advertising, and it is purely up to the influencer to decide whether or not they want to promote what they have been sent.
Boost your website with content marketing
Rising up the google rankings isn’t easy, but if your want people to be able to find your store when asking vape questions online, then learning a little about content marketing is a great place to start.
There are plenty of free tutorials and courses online that can talk you through the basics of content marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO), but it essentially involves creating good-quality blogs, graphics or video content to post to your website. Your content can cover anything from the industry’s current trends, latest vape news and store updates, and the better your SEO, the higher you’ll rank in google.
Finding new ways to market your vape store is never an easy task, but putting in the work on your website or storefront and trying to boost your presence on social media is a good place to start.
For inspiration, why not check out our website? Our blog is full of vape and smoking news as well as industry advice to help you get started. You can also follow us on social media to keep up to date on all our latest posts!