Vape Shops Near You: Why They’re More Valuable Than Ever
Do you usually buy your e-liquid and vape gear online instead of going to a brick-and-mortar store like Virginia Beach vape shop Vaper Chasers? If you do, it’s probably because you agree with the popular belief that shopping online is always best way to save money and enjoy the biggest selection of vaping products.
The truth is, though, that shopping online hasn’t been the best way to buy vape gear for a while – at least, not in the United States. Two key events – the vape mail ban and the ongoing FDA premarket application saga – have combined to make buying vape gear online a pretty poor experience in most cases. At this point, though, we’re beginning to get ahead of ourselves. Why is it time to go back to your local vape shops? Here are four of the biggest reasons.
Spend Less on Vape Juice and Supplies
If you generally shop online when buying vape gear, the prices you’re paying in 2022 are quite a bit higher than what you paid in 2019. You’ve probably also noticed that all of the major online vape shops raised their prices at around the same time. That’s not a coincidence. In 2021, two major new regulations came into play, and those regulations profoundly affected the costs involved in running an online vape shop.
- Any store that ships vaping products across state lines must now comply with the Prevent All Cigarettes Trafficking (PACT) Act, which introduces onerous and extremely expensive record-keeping requirements. One of the things that online vape shops must now do is compile periodic reports for the tax collection authorities in all states to which they ship.
- The USPS is now barred by federal law from shipping vaping products to consumers. The USPS officially implemented the ban in October of 2021 and no longer delivers vape gear at all. UPS, FedEx and DHL have stopped shipping vaping products as well, so the only option that online vape shops have for order fulfillment is to use private courier services. We’ll talk more extensively about the problems with private couriers in a moment, but one of the biggest issues is the fact that they’re quite expensive. The vape mail ban immediately caused online vape shops’ order fulfillment costs to skyrocket.
Thanks to those two legislative acts, the cost advantage that online vape shops once had over local vape shops has disappeared. In the past, the only real advantage of buying vape gear locally was that you’d have the products immediately. If you were willing to wait a few days for shipping, though, you could save a lot of money by buying online. Today, though, you’re not likely to save any money at all by buying online – and as for waiting just a few days for the products to arrive, that isn’t the case anymore either.
Avoid Lengthy Shipping Delays
Priority Mail is an incredibly fast service – and one way to truly appreciate its speed is by having something shipped to you via a private delivery service. Since none of the major nationwide shipping companies carry vaping products to consumers anymore, the only way for an online vape shop to fulfill orders is by using a private shipper.
On one hand, it’s impressive that the country’s major online vape shops have been able to put private delivery networks together. Although rural addresses are sometimes out of luck, online vape shops are able to deliver vaping products to customers in most metro areas. Private shippers, however, generally don’t deal with small packages. They’re used to delivering products like furniture – things too large for most shipping companies to handle. They don’t really want to deliver vaping products, and they don’t want to be responsible for checking ID and collecting signatures either. Vape shops are paying through the nose to work with these companies, and they’re passing the costs on to you.
The real problem with private couriers, though, is that they’re dramatically slower than the postal service. Some people have reported waiting weeks for their e-liquid and replacement coils to be delivered. If you’re going to be waiting that long, you have to ask yourself whether buying vape gear online is really worth the trouble when you could just drive down the street and have the products in your hand today.
Get Real Answers Instead of Outdated Information
Have you noticed that when you search for information about vaping online, most of what you find is hosted on blogs and online vape shops that look as though they haven’t updated their content in a long time? That, too, is a result of the regulatory changes that have caused online vape shops’ costs to skyrocket. Put simply, running an online vape shop simply isn’t as profitable in 2022 as it used to be – and when an e-commerce store needs to cut costs, the production of new blog content will be one of the first things to go. At this point, a lot of the informational content on the average online vape shop’s website is going to be badly outdated.
When you have a question about vaping, the best people to ask are often the people behind the counter at your local vape shop. They have direct personal experience with all of the latest products, and they’ve also gathered user feedback about those products from hundreds of customers. You’re not likely to find higher-quality information anywhere else.
Find E-Liquids That Aren’t Available Elsewhere
The final issue on top of the mountain of other troubles that online vape shops are facing is the FDA’s ongoing Premarket Tobacco Application (PMTA) process. The FDA has denied virtually all of the applications that it has received for flavored e-liquids, and the agency seems intent on removing every non-tobacco vape juice from the market. Some of the companies that have been denied approval by the FDA have filed lawsuits and can continue marketing their products while the litigation plays out. Other companies, though, have closed up shop. If you’ve seen a lot of “sold out” messages while browsing the selection at your favorite online vape shop, that’s the reason why.
If you’re tired of buying from online vape shops that seem to be sold out of everything, the best thing that you can do is go to your local vape shop. You’ll probably find – for now, at least – that you can still find those discontinued products locally. More importantly, though, brick-and-mortar vape shops often carry local and regional brands that are too small to be of much consequence to the FDA and haven’t received marketing denial orders yet. At this time, local and regional e-liquid brands may actually be much easier to find than some of the larger national brands.
In the past, it was indisputable that you’d always find the best selection of e-liquid if you shopped online. Today, though, it’s actually quite likely that you’ll enjoy a better selection if you buy locally. You may even discover a few new local products that you’ve never tried before. That’s a welcome bit of good news for an industry that’s seen way too much bad news over the past couple of years.