Smokin' Hot Knowledge Center
April 20, 2018
5 Essential Tips for Vape Retailers and Headshops
1. Curate a Comfortable Environment
Research supports that the physical layout of your shop plays a crucial role in your business’s success. In order to make your shop appealing to your customers, it is important that you make it a comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and “cool” environment. If customers don’t feel comfortable in your shop, odds are they will likely get what they came for and leave shortly after, or they won’t purchase anything at all. By making your shop an enjoyable place to spend time, you will encourage customers to stay longer. This will promote increased browsing time and may lead to additional sales. Curating a comfortable and engaging work environment will also boost employee morale and increase productivity.
2. Maintain a Well-Stocked Inventory
One of the most important elements of a vape shop is its inventory. Your inventory is your product offering, it will directly effect your sales, therefore your shop’s success. Your inventory is what will help differentiate you from other shops. Maintaining a well-stocked inventory consists of carrying popular flavors and brands, and constantly replenishing your shelves with fresh products. Part of maintaining a proper inventory is doing market research to determine which vape and juice brands are popular, and which particular flavors are selling the most. Nothing can hurt a shop’s reputation more than becoming known as the store with old, outdated vape mods and random, non-recognizable juice brands. Remember, the fresher and more recognizable your product offering is, the more likely it is that consumers are going to want to support your shop.
3. Create a Social Media Presence
Now that almost everyone utilizes social media on a daily basis, maintaining a professional and up-to-date social media presence has become a key element of business that you can’t ignore. Ensuring that you have all your business’s information clearly listed on social media is the first thing you need to do. This ensures that if someone finds you on social media, they know where to find your shop and how to contact you. Once your online presence is established, the next step is making sure you’re consistently updating your social media pages with original content. Whether you’re advertising new products or just posting a daily update, you want to make sure you’re constantly captivating your followers’ attention. The more exposure your followers get to your content, the more likely they are to become customers.
4. Provide Excellent Customer Service
Regardless of what industry you may be operating within, customer service is always a critical element when running a business. How you interact with your customers has an enormous effect on your business’s success. The more personalized and hands-on your customer service strategy is, the more it will benefit your shop. If customers feel like their needs are being catered to and that they are valued by the business, they are more likely to support it. If you don’t have a specific vape mod or juice that a customer is looking for, special order it for them! Small gestures can have big impacts when it comes to making an impression on your customers. If you can make your customers feel like family, they will want to support you like family.
5. Implement a Reward System
Research shows that it is five times more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to maintain current ones. Therefore, it is in your best interest to maintain them. Loyalty programs, or reward systems, are great methods for improving customer engagement and also generating additional sales. Rewards systems not only provide consumers with additional incentives to be repeat customers, but are also an efficient means of creating a relationship between the shop and the consumers. Offering small incentives to customers like a 5-10% off coupon, or implementing a point system can effectively increase your business’s market share. The customers will feel like they are getting a deal while you ultimately gain more long-term revenue in exchange for providing them with a minimal short-term discount.
April 12, 2018
Benefits of CBD
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is a compound that derives from the hemp plant. Unlike the compound, THC, cannabidiol does not have any psychoactive properties and is legal for use in products for consumption. Due to the many health benefits CBD provides, it is becoming more popular in the medical field as people are using it to treat a variety of medical ailments. There is still a lot to learn about CBD, but as the demand for it grows, the industry is conducting more research on it as a natural medication. Below, are some of the benefits that have been discovered thus far.
Pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties
While people typically use prescription drugs for pain relief, CBD is a natural alternative. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that CBD reduces pain and inflammation in mice by inhibiting neuronal transmission in pain pathways. Another study regarding multiple sclerosis found that a combination of CBD and THC buccal spray was effective in treating pain for those who suffer from the condition.
Helps with nicotine addiction and reducing drug withdrawals
People who currently smoke and want to quit could benefit from consuming CBD. A study posted to Addictive Behaviors pulled 24 smokers to be tested. Half of the group tested received an inhaler with CBD and were instructed to take it when they felt the urge to smoke. The other 12 had an inhaler with a placebo substance. Those with the CBD inhaler had about a 40% decrease in cigarettes smoked, while the placebo group had no change.
The properties in CBD could also be used to help those who battle with drug addiction by reducing the symptoms of drug withdrawal such as anxiety, mood symptoms, pain, and insomnia.
CBD has a pharmacological profile that is similar to atypical antipsychotic drugs. Studies show that CBD has been reported to be effective during clinical trials in those who have schizophrenia.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States and is often accompanied by other ailments. CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety in patients, and because of this, researchers are also suggesting that it can be useful in treating other conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In 2011, a study aimed to explore the effects CBD would have on people with social anxiety that were participating in a public speaking test. A sample group of 24 people, who had never been treated for their social anxiety, were given either CBD or placebo an hour before they were due to speak. Those who had taken CBD showed signs of reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort during their speech. The placebo group tended to experience more anxiety-triggered symptoms.
Potentially Fights Cancer Cells
Multiple studies have shown that CBD has antiproliferative, pro-apoptotic effects that inhibit cell migration, adhesion, and invasion. A 2006 study found that CBD potently and selectively inhibited cell growth of a breast cancer tumor, while not harming non-cancer cells in the body. Another study in 2011 found that CBD induces cell death in breast cancer cells with little effects on the non-cancerous, mammary cells.
Researchers also found that CBD can be used for a prolonged period without any negative effects on the patient. Not only does it work on eliminating breast cancer cells, but research also suggests it could be effective for patients with lung and colon cancer as well as leukemia.
Cannabis, in general, has been used for centuries to help relieve nausea and vomiting. Studies show that both THC and CBD help ease nausea and vomiting in animal studies.
Treats Seizures and Other Neurological Disorders
Stanford University conducted a study of 19 families with children that had epilepsy. Before trying CBD, the families had tried, on average, 12 different antiepileptic drugs. 16 families reported a reduction in their child’s seizure frequency while taking CBD, and a few families even reported complete seizure freedom. While reducing seizures, the CBD also improved alertness, mood, and sleeping habits.
In 2014, another study was conducted on children with treatment-resistant epilepsies. They were given purified 98%, oil-based CBD. After three months, 23 of the patients had a 50% seizure reduction.
Promotes Heart Health
A 2013 study reported that CBD protects against vascular damage caused by high glucose, inflammation or type two diabetes in animals.
Who can it help?
While the effectiveness of CBD is still being researched and tested, in theory, it could help anyone with any of the previously mentioned ailments; anyone suffering from pain, addiction, anxiety, stress, PTSD, nausea, schizophrenia and more. CBD is becoming more popular for treatment, as it is natural and potentially safer than prescription drugs.
CBD can be used for a multitude of things. Since it is still being tested and researched with new products being developed, some uses have more information available than others. Here is a running list:
Based on current research, there are not many side effects when taking CBD. Some include dry mouth, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, and drowsiness. It may also increase tremors in patients with Parkinson’s disease if taken in a high dose.
April 11, 2018
What is Cannabidiol and where does it come from?
Cannabidiol, popularly known as CBD, derives from low THC cannabis plants (.3% or under), known as hemp plants. Cannabidiol is one of 85+, naturally occurring cannabinoids in hemp plants. Hemp plants with high potency in CBD make it possible to extract CBD oil that contains a plethora of essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.
What is the difference between hemp plants and cannabis plants?
Cannabis plants and hemp plants are both parts of the Cannabis plant genus, but they differ in their chemical composition. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are found in both plants, but in hemp plants, there is 0.3% or less of THC, which makes CBD the dominating compound.
What is the difference between CBD & THC?
THC is the chemical responsible for producing psychoactive effects. Since there are such minimal traces of THC in hemp and such a high level of CBD, there are no psychotropic properties of hemp plant extracts. This is because there are no psychotropic properties of CBD.
CBD and THC both interact with the endocannabinoid systems of our bodies, which helps regulate pain, appetite, memory, mood, sleep, and immunity. CBD’s effects on these aspects of your body are non-psychoactive and have shown no adverse neurological, psychiatric or clinical effect. Meanwhile, THC can produce memory impairments, lowered reaction time, increased heart-rate and coordination issues.
Is CBD legal to obtain and consume?
Since CBD and THC both derive from the same plant family and have similar chemical make-ups, there is also much confusion surrounding its legality. Federally, cannabis is illegal but Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill established the legitimacy of industrial hemp. Industrial hemp is distinguished as a separate product from marijuana or cannabis. The bill defined industrial hemp as a type of cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC on a dry-weight basis, thus making hemp plants and CBD completely legal. Now that families, legislators, scientists, doctors and more are becoming more informed on the legalities of CBD, it’s potential surrounding our physical and mental health is being recognized and researched.
How is CBD obtained?
Once cultivated, hemp plants are lifted from the ground and taken to an extraction facility. Ethanol and C02 extraction are the most commonly used methods for extracting CBD oil from the plants because they are the two cleanest ways to extract it for human consumption. These methods involve filtering plants through a series of chambers that control temperature and pressure. Next, hemp undergoes an additional step known as chromatography. This is a mechanism used to remove and dispose of unwanted plant materials from the extracted oil. The majority of CBD oil products also undergo what is known as decarboxylation. This process involves heating the cannabinoids into a form that allows it to immediately interact with the endocannabinoid system, making the compound more usable throughout the body. Finished CBD hemp oil products are tested for a final time to ensure the safety, quality and cannabinoid content of the products before they are distributed. This inspects that all CBD hemp oil products are 100% organic, non-GMO, contain zero traces of THC, and are certified in Good Manufacturing Practices.
How is the oil used in CBD products?
There are various types of CBD products you can use. Some of the most popular forms are CBD oils, sprays, capsules and topicals. The majority of the popular CBD products are in liquid form and provide many benefits. These liquid products are extremely easy to use and are some of the most affordable of CBD products. Not all CBD products are ingested orally. CBD oil topicals include salves, lotions, and balms that can be rubbed directly into the skin. Many topicals are also enriched with natural essential oils and botanicals. These topicals are great for muscle and joint pain because you can administer the product directly onto the part of the body that is inflamed or in pain.
How and where can I get CBD products?
Since CBD oil is considered a nutritional supplement and it derives from industrial hemp, it is legal to purchase and ship. CBD hemp oils are available to purchase from providers online, in many wellness and organic health stores, and in medical marijuana dispensaries. When obtaining CBD products always make sure to check that they are labeled, informing you on serving sizes and best storage methods to ensure that your products are being used and stored correctly.
July 12, 2017
When it comes to ecommerce, conversions are key. Turning a site visitor’s interest into a purchase is tricky. If you’re not selling face-to-face, is your ecommerce page correctly set up to do the sales pitch for you?
While there is not a single product page out there with a 100% conversion rate, there are basic, proven methods you can use on your pages to increase the chances of the customer hitting that all-important add to cart button.
Proper URL Structure
First things first, customers need to be able to navigate to your website. A clean URL structure is essential if you want your page to be indexed and hopefully ranked by search engines. Avoid multiple domains, keep them short and readable.
Good URL: vapestore.com/blog/7-best-vaporizers/
Bad URL: vapestore.com/d?=6r77<!~
On a basic level, avoid using unnecessary characters, omit stop words, and limit the number of redirects if you’ve decided to change a URL or delete a page. If you can put your exact keyword in the URL in a way that makes sense, great.
Formulating a Title
The page title and SEO title describe what is on your product page to both consumers and search engines. Titles should be short, concise, and accurately describe the product. Avoid long titles packed with specs and keywords. This can appear spammy to search engines, and searchers will most likely not click on search results with these types of titles. Save the details about the product for the product description!
The title should include the product name, brand name, and attempt to reflect a search query related to that particular product.
Correct title code:
Keep in mind that Google will display about 60 characters. If your title is any longer it will get cut off. You can use SEO plugins to avoid any character limit issues.
Compelling Meta Descriptions
A proper meta description is a summary of the contents of the page. The meta is the short snippet of text below the blue link in search results.
This example is a meta description for the homepage of an online headshop. To make the description compelling, they’ve included products they offer such as bongs, glass pipes, vaporizers, and accessories so that the searcher can decide if it’s a link they want to click on. They also mention that they offer free shipping in the U.S. which could make their search result more enticing to click on.
Meta descriptions can be any length. However, it is best to keep them under 160 characters to avoid them being cut off.
<meta name=”description” content=”This is a meta description.”>
Just like with titles, you can use this HTML code or use an SEO plugin to formulate the meta description.
These descriptions are not ranking factors, meaning that they should be crafted with only the consumer in mind and avoid misplaced keywords and ditch the meta keywords. Writing compelling copy that draws the searcher in is the best way to craft a meta description.
Rich Product Descriptions
The title successfully describes the product you are selling to both consumers and search engines. Providing details and specifications is the next step. Adding a product description to your ecommerce pages indicates to search engines that there is valuable content on that particular product page.
A correctly optimized product description should be no less than 300 words and avoid keyword stuffing. Although keyword density isn’t as important as it once was, keywords should only be placed in a way that makes sense.
Product descriptions are obviously written as a sales pitch, no matter how creative or witty. To capture the more skeptical consumer, consider adding a product review section in an easy-to-find spot on the product page, as well as social sharing buttons.
These forms of social proof can help influence purchasing decisions of future site visitors.
Images That Sell
Product images can be a make or break factor when it comes to closing a sale online. Even if your page has a beautiful layout, description, and review platform, a grainy product image can close the door on any potential sale that you may have had.
If you’re taking your own product images, invest in a quality camera and put your beloved iPhone aside. Make sure to get shots from multiple angles and save the images as a file type and resolution that is conducive to a product page.
So we don’t ignore search engines in all of this, don’t forget the image title and alt attributes!
Don’t Ignore UX
A lot of marketers get caught up optimizing their pages to appeal only to search engines and forget about the actual person who is navigating through the website, category pages, and product pages. User experience is massively important for both ranking and closing sales.
So you wrote a 500-word, keyword rich product description? Awesome. Your meta descriptions and titles are perfect for Google? Great.
Be sure that your product pages are visually appealing and are easy to navigate. Avoid dead end pages on your website and make sure that users can easily get from your home page to your product pages and vice versa.
Visitors should easily be able to select color options, click through images, find the add-to-cart button, and navigate to their shopping cart.
A good rule of thumb is to use your favorite ecommerce sites for inspiration. While your product pages should be uniquely crafted around the products you’re selling, there is no need to reinvent the wheel.
Now that you’ve crafted an optimized ecommerce product page, always look for ways to make it better. Take note of which products sell best on your website and use their pages as a template to bolster your products that aren’t performing as well.
Search engines value fresh content, so if you haven’t made any changes to a page in a while try revamping the product description or add new pictures and product videos.
July 12, 2017
When you’re constantly handling administrative tasks, business development, meetings, and interviews, you can barely find the time during the week to devote to anything else. Frustrating right?
The list can seem never-ending; trust us, we’re grinding every day just like you.
To the detriment of business growth and exposure, SEO and content marketing are often some of the first activities that get the axe from swamped business owners.
We believe that SEO is an essential business activity, especially in the fast growing cannabis industry where startups need to become visible online.
Here are a few actionable SEO techniques that you can get done during a lunch break, between meetings, or any other time you stumble upon a few precious, unoccupied minutes during the day.
1. Start a Blog
Content marketing is a rather large cog in the SEO machine. Search engines love informative, visual, and valuable content that satisfies the questions of searchers. Add a blog page to your website so that when you have the time, you can start publishing your own content.
If you have a couple hours free, consider writing a 750-word post to put up on your blog page. This can help drive traffic to your website and provides information of value to your website visitors.
2. Claim Your Google Business Listing
This is especially important if your business has a storefront. Before you do this you should double check that you don’t already have a listing, as duplicate listings can create some problems.
Adding high-quality images of the interior and exterior of your business will provide customers. Also, ensure that all of your information listed is accurate and up to date.
“Near me” searches and hyper-local marketing are becoming increasingly important in the SEO landscape. Claiming your Google business listing and accurately completing it is a small but useful technique.
3. Keyword Research
Discovering what terms your customers are searching for is critical. Brainstorm a list of keywords and keyphrases that you believe your customers might be typing into search engines to find your website.
Once you have a list compiled, start conducting some searches yourself to see if your website is displayed in the search results for these terms.
When you’ve determined the keywords you want to rank for, start incorporating them into your blog posts and website pages!
4. Optimize a Page
If you have an ecommerce store or large website this can be extremely beneficial. Take a little bit of time each day to optimize a page on your website, including category pages, blog posts, product pages, informative pages, etc.
This activity involves optimizing titles, metas, descriptions, permalinks, images, alt text, reviews, and more on each page. Check out our guide here to learn more about what goes into properly optimizing a page for search.
5. Get Active on Social Media
Even if you’re too busy to post regularly, you should set up social media accounts for your brand, making sure that they’re fitted with an appropriate image, website link, and description.
Creating these accounts provides your website with a few links that can benefit SEO, and you’ll be able to post when you have the time. Having active social channels that provide value and interaction can drive website traffic and even close sales.
6. Check for Broken Links
It’s always good to perform routine site checkups to make sure your website and selling platforms are running smoothly. You can do this manually by clicking around through your website and ensure that your site navigation is the way you want it. Also check menus, footer links, sidebar links, and anywhere else there might be a problem.
If you come across any broken links, 404 errors, or outdated content, be sure to create new content or correctly redirect the page to an appropriate spot on your site.
Find Out What Works for You
Not all of these activities will show immediate results for every type of business. However, sticking to an SEO and content marketing campaign will pay off in the long run. If you’re not able to fit all of these activities into your daily work agenda, try playing around with some on-page SEO, social media, and blogging to see which practices are delivering the most results.
This way, when you have more time down the road or decide to outsource activities, you’ll know exactly which efforts you want to delegate.