Since its founding in 2011, Vapouriz has become one of the biggest independently owned vape brands in the United Kingdom. After opening its first store in 2015, Vapouriz has since grown to five own-brand locations and two franchise stores through its franchise program Vapestore.
After opening that first shop and deciding to go multi-location, Vapouriz realized they needed a POS with the capabilities to support more than one store — so they turned to Vend. We spoke with Tristam Eriksson, Retail Business Development Manager at Vapouriz, to find out why they chose us and how Vend has helped them succeed. Read the interview below!
Tell us a bit about how you got started. What’s Vapouriz all about?
Vapouriz proudly remains one of the largest independently owned vape brands in the UK, ranking in the top five independent vaping businesses in 2016 (Grocer). Our company has been an innovator in vaping technology and UK e-liquid production since its establishment in 2011 by CEO and founder Brett Horth. Our current headquarters are in Merrow, Guildford, with our first retail outlet launched in the town centre in 2015.
In 2016, we launched four own-brand stores, as well as our Vapestore franchise programme. We currently have two franchise stores and five company-owned stores, all using Vend.
Vapestore’s purpose is to provide an impressive range of vaping products and e-liquids to suit our diverse clientele. We have created an environment for vapers that steps away from traditional vaping outlets and that’s designed to feel fresh, current, and welcoming to all walks of life. Additionally, specially trained staff ensure all customer expectations are exceeded regarding product and service, and platforms like Vend ensure we have the capacity to continue to go above and beyond.
What’s your local community like?
Vapestore has a strong presence across the southeast with stores in key locations, enabling coverage and strong brand awareness. Our stores are typically located in larger towns with high footfall, so we tend to share retail spaces with other large UK companies. We’ve joined most local business-improvement projects run by either council or business groups, as creating and nurturing those community relationships aligns with our business values and encourages continuous business development.
What brought you to Vend, and how have you found it? Would you recommend Vend to retailers like you?
Upon the success of our first store, we made the decision to go multi-site. Unfortunately, the system we’d been using wouldn’t support our multi-site requirements, so naturally we began searching for a replacement. After some initial research online and within our industry, Vend soon caught our attention.
The Vend website also has many useful resources — and twinned with studies showing similar businesses using Vend successfully, it seemed like a no-brainer. We’d recommend Vend to any business, both single- and multi-site.
How does Vend work for your business (e.g. increasing your stock efficiencies, improving customer loyalty, saving you time)?
Vend has enabled us to bring a new level of CRM to our customers. We’ve been able to optimize Vend’s loyalty program to generate communications that are relevant to each customer type, from shopping habits down to preferences and “recall” techniques if we need. This has enabled us to engage with our customers using new insights (spend, visits, preferred products, etc.), which encourages proactive business to customer relations. We’ve even set up evening events for selected customers to attend, creating excellent brand loyalty.
Other ways Vend has helped us:
Material: Vend provides lots of training material (website, webinars, videos, guides, etc), making it an easy system to implement and train staff on.
Implementation: Vend was very quick and simple to set up, and they provided plenty of support during and post-implementation.
Interface: It’s very easy to use, and the navigation and layout are easy to work with.
Reporting: The sales, inventory, and staff reporting areas really add value. Having excellent reporting capabilities permits dynamic assessment of your business and staff, thus allowing informed decisions to be made efficiently.
Inventory management: Vend makes inventory management simple without compromising functionality or process.
Multi-site reporting: For those operating multiple locations, this retail dashboard is an excellent interface to monitor and manage your retail performance in any given timeframe.
Your business is very inventory-intensive. How do you keep track of all your stock?
Firstly, we focus on store layout, ensuring products are neatly stored and easy to locate. An organized product layout normally supports an accurate inventory.
Secondly, we perform regular stock counts and have created a stock count rota to ensure this information is kept up-to-date.
We also invest time into regularly reviewing our reorder levels to ensure availability is maintained, with the aim to combat fluctuating sales patterns. We also use negative stock reporting and slow-seller reports on Vend to ensure our inventory is thorough.
What’s the best thing about using iPad in your store compared to a traditional cash register?
iPad have many benefits! Firstly, their size: they take up much less counter space than a traditional till and can be removed from their stands and used around the shop floor (assisting customers, performing stock counts, showing training videos, etc.).
They’re also easier to train staff on due to the popularity of Apple products and the simplicity of the Vend app. This really helps to bring our stores into the 21st-century-trade sector, and it keeps us one step ahead of competitors.
Secondly, impression management: having an iPad gives a high-end, professional feel to the consumer experience. It enables us to access information efficiently, taking the customer through our products and making them feel at ease.
Finally, when used with the Vend display and when not in use, your iPad can still add value to your store with images and marketing material.
Did you use our in-house professional services? How did they help transition you over to Vend?
We were supported by Luke Glackin from Vend during our transition, and he was fantastic in making it as smooth as possible.
The process was simple — and with plenty of support and guidance from Luke and the Vend team, Vapouriz and Vapestore are pleased to name Vend as our go-to platform and to highly recommend it to all-size businesses, with single or multiple sites.
Where does your passion come from for what you do?
Here at Vapouriz (and at our sister company Vapestore), we take pride in being the best at what we do and what we offer. We incorporate this approach into company-wide objectives and decisions, thus creating a culture of striving to improve and to build on performance.
Individual passion is fuelled by a range of factors, such as dedicated employees, teams, and managers; engaging a solid customer base; and exciting industry innovations. The vaping industry is a new and exciting market to operate in.
Do you have any advice for retailers that you wish you’d known?
Never underestimate how well you can know your business or industry. Knowledge is power! Vend has enabled us to drill down the mechanics and variables of e-cigarette retailing and to streamline our operations and procedures.
Also: look after your customers, or someone else will. Vend acts as an invaluable CRM (customer relationship management) platform, permitting us to be extra-attentive with our top customers but also to identify and incentivize those who might’ve dropped off the radar.
What’s your best retail tale?
Some of the products we sell can help people save a substantial amount of money on the way to quitting smoking. A fantastic success story came from our Kingston branch: a husband and father of two paid for his entire family to go on holiday in less than six months of using our products.
He popped in after booking the holiday to personally thank the store team for supporting him in making that step to quit smoking by switching to an e-cigarette, which in turn helped him save enough to pay for the trip and significantly improved his health and lifestyle.