Chief Executive Gillian Golden opened proceedings by giving an overview of The IBVTA(1). It is a non-profit, non-political trade body, set up in 2016 by some of the UK’s leading independent manufacturers, importers, distributors, and vendors. It has been established to support the independent vape industry irrespective of company size or operation.
She spoke about the great lengths the independent sector has gone to in order to rise to meet the challenges put in its path over the last 12 months. The session offered up a section on “Seizing Opportunities” to reignite and maximise the spirit and passion that delivers excellence in customer advice and experience.
Gillian mentioned how vape stores can “hit the ground running” by offering discounts on stock or special prices on starter kits, and talked up how the speakers could offer a wealth of ideas.
Liam Humberstone, The IBVTA’s Steering Committee, Engagement & Stewardship Lead, said how, “there are new normals anymore, and we need to focus on what we do really well within our sector. Number One: We’re very good at welcoming ordinary adult smokers into our stores and effectively helping them to if not quit then cut down. For experienced vapers, we provide them with a choice but also have the opportunity to turn those people into advocates.”
Liam spoke highly of the well-trained teams stores have, who provided excellent quit advice prior to the lockdowns, and went on to suggest that companies make use of the brilliant online training offered by the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training(2). The free training in cessation advice comes with tests and certification which adds to the overall quality of service being offered in-store.
Despite the regulatory landscape remaining the same, bad news impacted store sales – not just because of Covid. Liam spoke about how the misinformation surrounding the EVALI lung outbreak took something in the region of 20-25% of sales away from vendors but the good news is that he anticipates the TRPR review and the future relationship with The Office for Health Promotion (one of the two bodies Public Health England is set to be split into) will prove positive for The IBVTA and vaping.
Planet of the Vapes was highly spoken of by UK Vapour Brands for the quality of our product reviews. It was great to hear of the high regard we are held in by the industry. We were also mentioned by The IBVTA’s e-commerce guru, who told the audience how Planet of the Vapes can play a vital part in maximising company visibility in online searches.
Participant also heard from Trading Standards, about the current data from the UK vape market, ensuring adequate insurance is in place, making sure that payment processing is ready for opening, and how to ensure that under-age sales can be prevented by responsible retailers.
- The Independent British Vape Trade Association - https://www.ibvta.org.uk/
- National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training - https://www.ncsct.co.uk/publication_training-and-assessment-programme.php