Small businesses across the country are feeling the negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fortunately, for some states, dispensaries are considered "essential" businesses by local governments and have been able to remain open during social distancing and "Safer at Home" ordinances.
That doesn't mean they aren't feeling it, though. Sales are down, budgets are tight, and employees are being laid off.
It's even worse for smoke shops.
Most smoke shops are not considered essential and cannot remain open throughout this time. Some stores may also have to close their doors permanently if things don't go back to normal soon.
As a wholesale distributor for the smoke shop industry, we know all too well the hard times shop owners are facing financially. We've been talking to our shops to see what they are doing to keep the money flowing.
It turns out, there are a few ways to generate revenue even if your physical storefront is temporarily closed.
How to continue making a profit at your smoke shop during COVID-19
There are a few ways you can make up for lost sales at your brick and mortar smoke shop, vape store, or dispensary. You just have to get creative! You may already be doing some of these things, but now is the time to up the ante.
Ramp up your online sales.
Do you have a website for your store? Feature some of the products you have in stock on your site. Even if you don't have a web store, you can take photos of items on your shelves and offer to ship to your customers.
You can also use social media to cross-promote your website. If you are not yet active on social media, it's time to get with it! Instagram has become the leading social media platform for small businesses, and there are tons of ways to feature products on your feed and in your stories.
Plus, you can set it up to sell products directly through the app! It's so easy and a great way to gain an online presence while keeping your business afloat during tough times.
When things get back to normal, it'll be a great way to supplement your income and advertise your smoke shop or dispensary.
Offer a curbside service for pickup.
If you can, offer curbside service for customers. They can call to place an order or check out products you have in stock on your social media accounts or website. Then, safely pack it up for them to pick up at a set time.
Depending on where you are, this may not be a viable option, but it is definitely worth looking into! Check your local news sources and health department websites to see what you are allowed to do during social distancing.
You can also start selling essential products such as toilet paper or hand sanitizer to help your customers get everything in one stop. Just remember to always be safe and never put yourself or your customers at risk.
Deliver directly to your local customers.
If you or your employees have access to a truck or van, offer home delivery in your area. You can also utilize ride-share apps to make the deliveries for you if you don't have a vehicle.
Just like the curbside pickup, you can have your customers call in or use social media and your website to place the orders. Guarantee an available delivery time, and if you can, provide this service for free.
Your customers will appreciate the fact that their favorite smoke shop can still hook them up with their smoking accessories during social distancing.
Use Windship Trading's drop-ship services.
Yes, we will drop ship products for you!
We are happy to offer drop shipping services to all of our wholesale customers, especially while we all get through these rough financial times. Anything we can do to help our shops stay in business and keep the cash flowing is a priority.
How does dropshipping work?
Chances are unless you also have an online store, you probably are not too familiar with dropshipping. Here is how it works.
Get with your sales rep for updated information on product stock levels and availability. If you don't have an account manager with us yet, we can fix that! Click here to fill out a wholesale application.
Once you have a good idea of what products are available, update your website with photos, specs, and pricing. You can also use Instagram or any other social media platforms you prefer, as we discussed in the first section about online sales.
The best part for you is that we do the leg work! Send us over the order with the customer name and shipping information. We'll fulfill the order using one of our three wholesale warehouses located across the United States. Once the order has been shipped, we will send you an invoice with tracking that you can then forward to your customer with your own invoice. It's that easy!
We'll get through this together.
By using creative sales tactics, social media marketing, and other online resources, you can keep your store open when everything calms down. For now, remember to remain diligent to ensure the safety of your employees, customers, and yourself.
These are very tough times, but we have your back! Together, we can find ways to stay profitable and keep your smoke shops in business.
Be safe, and stay well!