自然，线上零售商的需求已大大增加。其中一家零售商Vape Club的业务增长了150-200％。“通常，当我们遇到比正常情况（例如圣诞节）大的订单量时，我们会增加人员配备。但是，在这种情况下，这是不可能的，相反，我们延长了轮班时间，并在周末增加了轮班时间。”董事总经理Dan Marchant说。
Oxford Vapors向前迈进了一步，并且根据NHS的建议，还显示了大型的教育信息图形，其中包含有关电子烟的优点和电子烟的一般信息。“电子烟商店的好处之一是他们为希望戒烟的烟民和电子烟烟民提供的专业建议。在我们的墙上贴上这样的建议将有助于在新商店环境中进行宣传。”店主Dan Greenall说。
Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, most specialist online vape retailers had remodelled their retail operations to sell their products online and offer home-deliveries. Most businesses had to add to their warehouse space, increased the size of their customer service teams and set up online and telephone-based advice channels for vapers and smokers.
Naturally, online retailers have experienced a considerable increase in demand. One such retailer, Vape Club, has reported a 150-200% increase in business. “Normally, when we experience larger order volumes than normal such as at Christmas, we would increase staffing levels to cope. However, this hasn’t been possible due to the circumstances and instead we’ve extended shift times and added ones at the weekend,” said Managing Director Dan Marchant.
Subsequently, now that businesses may reopen their outlets for the first time since the country went into lockdown last March, vape shops need to set in place social distancing markings, install perspex screens at sales counters, head visors must be worn by retail staff and restrictions on the number of customers must be adhered to.
“We’ve been extremely busy installing all the necessary measures so that we completely adhere to the government guidance to ensure the safety of our staff and customers,” said Doug Mutter, Manufacturing and Compliance Director at VPZ, one of the largest independent vape shop chains in the UK.
“We would ask our customers to be patient as we follow distancing guidance which may limit the numbers of customers in store at any one time. We are also encouraging card payments (preferably contactless) and we have removed all testers and device samples, so nothing can be touched and passed around, but our expert trained staff are on hand to offer full advice as always.”
Andrej Kuttruf, Chief Executive at vape retailer Evapo, which has 37 stores in the UK, added that besides the new in-store safety features, vape shops will also be opening on restricted timings. “Our stores will be open on restricted opening times 10am – 5.30pm, 6 days a week. We have prepared Sneeze Screens at the till, hand sanitizers for customers, masks and gloves for our store teams and floor liners to indicate social distance. Our store teams will be wearing head visors and we are also selling a wide range of PPE and hand sanitizers to the public.”
Oxford Vapours are taking this a step further and also displaying large educational information graphics, based on NHS advice, on the pros of vaping and general information for vapers. “One of the benefits of vape shops is the specialist advice they give to both smokers looking to quit and also vapers. Having such advice featured on our walls will help this process in the new shop environment,” said owner Dan Greenall.
While ECigWizard, which has 54 stores across the UK, has also provided additional cleaning products and hand sanitizer along with clear instructions on increasing cleaning at key touch points.
John Dunne, Director at the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) commented: “The industry has been phenomenally agile and resourceful in initially having to transition overnight to an online business model when shops had to close during the lockdown and then start up again with a very different operating environment.”
“The lengths to which the industry has gone to get their shops ready for the new government guidance on social distancing in-store means that customers can feel very reassured about shopping in their local vape stores.”