When someone decides to operate a business the prime reason is, and has to be profit, in a capitalist society ‘Profit is King’. I’d like to look at the different paths to profit adopted by vaping supply companies, how market pressures alter their approach to business and how all of this effects you as a consumer.
Shaping business models
Have you noticed that you can buy a razor that is attractively packaged and manufactured to a high quality but is selling at a surprisingly low price? You will know that buying the replacement blades isn’t so cheap, this is because the real profit comes from the sale of blades and in order to tie you to buying their blades the manufacturer ensures that there is no compatibility between makes and models. Computer printer manufacturers follow a similar profit model, the printer cost is low but the ink cartridge price is not.
I worked in a shop which stocked a carriage clock, it was a particularly nice timepiece… solid brass with an enamelled dial. I was proud to sell it and better still I had negotiated a really great price which allowed me to offer unbeatable value to my customers. My ‘profit profile’ was that I could offer a good value to customers that appreciated a quality product, furthermore that led to future profits when these satisfied customers returned to make further purchases. You can imagine how shocked I was to see the ‘same’ clock for sale in a ‘catalogue shop’ priced below what I was paying when buying direct from the manufacturer. When we asked the manufacturer for an explanation we where told that the catalogue shop had commissioned them to produce an ‘exclusive’ version, essentially it looked the same but was made using anodised aluminium and plastic for the case and cardboard for the dial, anybody seeing this in the catalogue would think that they were being offered a very good price but would not initially see that it was very poor value. The catalogue shop’s business model was to get a quick, easy profit presumably assuming that there will always be more fools around ready to fall for an apparent bargain.
To quote John Ruskin:
“There is nothing in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and he who considers price only is that man’s lawful prey.”
Most of the major tobacco companies both in Europe and America have either entered the e-cig market or are actively planning to do so, it does not take a genius to see that their obvious path to profit from these ventures is to sell a product that is incompatible with its competitors thus obliging consumers to purchase that companies cartridges. One can further assume that these nicotine cartridges will not be cheap and are likely to be sealed to stop us refilling with other e-juices. This is the same profit model used by some razor manufacturers. ‘Big tobacco’ has the financial capital, marketing experience and distribution networks to overshadow existing e-cig sellers and make the sort of extraordinary profit that they have come to expect from the sale of tobacco.
Fly by nights
I’m not sure if the term ‘Fly by Night’ is still in common usage, if it is not it should be. It neatly encapsulates the type of e-cig outlet now popping up all over the place. There is no need for them make much investment to sell vaping gear, they can just buy some product from a wholesaler in China and knock together a website or market stall, they don’t need to be a vaper or even interested in vaping. Here the ‘catalogue shop’ profit model applies, they will buy product at the lowest possible price without considering quality so long as it looks OK, it can then be sold fast and cheap despite being poor value.
Rip off merchants
I think these sellers are the worst out there. You will have seen them, you may even have fallen for it. They have glossy websites and a poor quality product in a posh box, there is always plenty of spiel and a very high price tag. Their route to profit is to catch newbie e-cig converts who don’t know any better and fall for their hype. These merchants don’t often get customers making a return visit but with a high enough profit from the first sale they are quite happy. There is one born every minute.
There are only a small number of vaping suppliers like ECig Wizard who can offer you a wide range of products sourced from manufacturers who are known to offer good products and strict quality control. Companies like ECig Wizard are not after a ‘quick buck’ but instead aim to profit from continued sales to loyal customers who trust them because they offer value. As I write this a couple of the ‘Senior Wizards’ have just returned from China where they have been looking at manufactures and their goods in order to secure further supplies of the best that is available, by handling the goods and meeting suppliers face to face ECig Wizard can maintain the standards that so many of us have come to rely on.
We should all be aware of cheap copies of e-cig products. There are companies in China who produce good quality, well designed vaping products, unfortunately there are also many others who produce ‘copy’ versions of these products, these manufactures are not motivated to produce a reliable and quality product, all that matters to them is that their goods look like the real thing. Too often these are imported by sellers looking to make a quick and easy profit from you.
Another John Ruskin quote is: “Blue colour is everlastingly appointed by the Deity to be a source of delight” but I really haven’t got the first clue what he meant.
The views expressed in this article are personal ones, they are not necessarily shared by ECig Wizard.