To ensure that you do not jeopardize your orders we have framed a set of 33 questions that you should ask your wholesale vape suppliers before doing business with them. By asking these questions you will learn inside out about the suppliers and plan accordingly.
In order to give a holistic view about the wholesale supplier the questions are categorized into different categories which are:
- Company Information
- Product Range
- Product Development
- Ordering & Pricing
- Pricing Policy
- Logistics & Delivery
- Customer Support & Service
- Brand Marketing
- Customer Testimonials
Now, let’s look at the questions for every category.
- How long has the vape Wholesale Company been in business?
While this information is important and length of operation is usually a testament to the brand’s integrity in the marketplace, the vape industry is relatively new. As a result, there are many new wholesale brands, distributors and suppliers emerging.
So how do you separate the ‘fly by nighters’ for the serious industry players?
To answer this question we need to understand a little more about the brand.
- Is the vape wholesale supplier a manufacturer?
This question is very important. As a retailer, it is always best to deal with a distribution company that is also the manufacturer. Not only do they have the product knowledge and expertise to help you with technical questions about their products, in the event of any problems or issues you have direct contact with the manufacturer.
Be warned! There are many wholesale distributors who claim to also be manufacturers. While this is true for vape juices the same cannot be said for your hardware supplies like vape kits, batteries, mods, and accessories.
The reality is that almost all vaping kits, batteries, mods, and accessories are manufactured in China, so if you want to cut out the middleman and have a highly competitive retail outlet you will need to source your hardware supplies directly from China.
- Is sourcing your vape hardware, manufactured directly from China risky?
The truth is many wholesale suppliers and retailers source their products manufactured directly from China. The key is to look for legitimate, quality assured manufacturers like Shenzhen First Union.
Shenzhen First Union, established in 2004, is one of the largest manufacturers of vapes in the world. The company exports vapes and vaping devices to more than 50 countries and employs over 5,000 staff, including 150 professional R&D engineers.
Companies like this are not going to disappear before your eyes. Shenzhen First Union has an extensive network of manufacturer-owned, brands and wholesale distribution outlets worldwide. Which removes potential problems related to importing, product labeling compliance and slow delivery.
- Where is the vape wholesale supplier located?
The physical location of your wholesale supplier is very important for a number of reasons. Ideally, you want to do business with a wholesale supplier who is based in your country.
If you are importing from overseas it could impact issues relating to customs, import taxes, shipping costs and delivery times. In the event of product problems (which do happen) you could also face communication barriers and time delays.
Tip: My advice is to look for and deal directly with a Chinese manufacturer who also has brand wholesale supply and distribution warehouses in your region or country.
- How many brands does the Wholesale vape supplier carry?
While this seems like a pretty straight forward question you need to consider your shop or website customer needs and of course, your human resources. Do you want to specialize and only sell a particular brand or do you want to offer your customers a wide selection of different brand equipment?
This is a decision you will need to make based on your own requirements.
For example, if you are a corner store or gas station simply looking to expand your in-store product offerings, maybe you only need a nice stand or display case offering one brand with low to mid-priced disposable products. In this situation, you would only need to deal with a single brand wholesaler.
If you are a specialist vaping store that wants to stock a wide range of brands and products then your considerations when choosing your wholesale vape supplier will be totally different. There are basically 3 alternatives.
- You could choose the convenience of dealing with a wholesale aggregator who imports multiple brands but you’ll probably pay more for your wholesale supplies.
- You could deal directly with multiple different brand suppliers which could result in better deals (because there is no middle man) and access to a greater product range. However, this means more work and more relationship management.
- Finally, you could find a happy medium between the first two alternatives by dealing with the manufacturer directly with a company that directly owns several reputable brands and an extensive range of products.
I highly recommend the third option here.
6a. Does the supplier carry
- and accessories
6b. If your supplier is also a manufacturer do they have quality assured manufacturing processes?
It is important to make sure you are dealing with a professional quality assured manufacturer. The last thing you want is to be flooded with a host of faulty product returns or even worse faulty products that explode. A professional manufacturer will always display their production quality processes and certifications.
- Does the supplier distribute E-liquids?
With so many e-liquids now available this question is not as important as it used to be, however, it pays to do your research on popular brands and flavors.
The vaping wholesale market place is becoming somewhat divided between vaping hardware and accessory suppliers and juice manufacturers. When selecting your juice suppliers the key is to only deal with quality assured manufacturers.
Your legitimate wholesale hardware supplier is a good place to start your research on which juices to stock.
- Does the vape supplier have quality assured manufacturing process for the production of E-liquids
Was the e-liquid you’re buying made in a lab, a factory, or someone’s damp garage? The production of e-liquid has been a largely unregulated industry for years. While things are beginning to change it is important to ensure that you are only selling E-liquids produced in a facility with high clinical standards.
A good way to check this is to ask if the company is quality assured with ISO compliant manufacturing processes.
- Is the vape supplier willing to share its vape ingredient list?
With so many new vape juice manufacturers entering the market this is a very important question. Not all vape juices are created equal so a juice manufacturer that is not prepared to disclose their ingredients list is a big red flag for me.
As a vape juice retailer, your customers are going to ask you questions about ingredients and will expect you to be very knowledgeable on the subject. If your supplier won’t give them to you, what will you tell your customers?
Tip: Only buy your wholesale vaping juice supplies from transparent companies. Reputable vape juice manufacturers have no problem displaying their ingredients.
Vape Product Development
- Does the vape supplier have a product development team
When choosing which suppliers to partner with it is important to find out about the company’s future product development plans. The last thing you want to do is start a relationship with a supplier that has a limited product range and a very limited product development strategy.
A key variable in your vape store’s success is going to be having a regular stream of new and or updated products to drive existing customers up sales and attract new customers.
To put it plainly where would a brand like Apple be today if they only ever released one version of the iPhone?
Important follow-up questions should include:
- How many new vaping hardware product models do you release a year?
- What is your product release schedule for the next 12 months?
Ordering and Pricing
- Does the vape supplier have a Minimum Order Quantity?
Minimum order quantity simply refers to the smallest size order offered by the wholesaler. This could either be a unit order (eg. Number of vape kits) or monetary value.
If you feel a supplier’s MOQs are way too high for you, move on. Even if they are willing to make a special case to meet your needs beware. To them, you are a small fish so you probably won’t receive the type of customer support you are looking for.
- Does the distributor have a wholesale buyers catalog?
When dealing with a wholesale vape supplier pricing transparency is very important. If the company doesn’t have a wholesale buyers catalog this would raise a red flag for me.
As a retailer, you need to feel confident that you have guaranteed fixed price supply lines.
- Does the vape supplier offer tiered wholesale pricing?
In its simplest form tiered wholesale pricing simply means the more you order the cheaper the unit price. However different wholesalers offer many different types of tiered and discount pricing packages. For example, loyalty pricing for retailers who commit to guaranteed monthly orders or bonus discounts for those who reach a total order threshold within a given time period.
As a retailer, it’s important to ask this question, as without the ability to secure tiered pricing you could be throwing money down the drain and losing potential profits.
Retailer Pricing Policy
16. Does the vape supplier provide RRP?
The list price, also known as the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), or the recommended retail price (RRP), or the suggested retail price (SRP), of a product, is the price at which the manufacturer recommends that the retailer sell the product.
- Does the vape supplier have a MAP Policy?
A MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) policy is simply a rule dictated by the manufacturer that guarantees a minimum lowest price allowed to be publicly displayed for a product on sale.
As a retailer, dealing with a supplier who has a MAP policy is important as it maintains pricing integrity in the market, especially in online advertising, enabling you to compete for business outside of price.
Without a MAP policy you could find yourself in a price war you can’t win with a larger resell competitor or even worse a market degraded product.
- Does the vape supplier have any HARD MAP Products?
A hard MAP product is one that has a strongly regulated, manufacturer set, retail price. A hard MAP product allows for zero flexibility in pricing.
Purchasing, Logistics, and Delivery
- How can I order your Wholesale vape products?
Does the company have online ordering or do I have to order by email or direct contact?
- Do you offer payment terms and/ or monthly account services?
Every company has different payment options and terms. While some wholesalers offer account-based services others require upfront payment before shipping your order. There may also be different options based on qualifying criteria.
- What is the lead time between placing a bulk wholesale E cigarette order and actual shipping?
While many wholesale distributors offer same day shipping for small orders the same may not be true for larger orders. Before you order it pays to find out the lead time between placing an order and it being ready for shipping.
- How long does delivery take once my vape order is ready for shipping?
Obviously delivery times are going to vary depending upon the distance from the wholesale supplier If you don’t get your order when you need it, neither will your customers. Don’t let something like shipping get in between you and success.
- Will the vape wholesale supplier supply you with a tracking code for your order?
While order tracking is a standard part of most companies’ shipping process, it’s a question you don’t want to overlook. Order tracking provides transparency. Knowing exactly where you order throughout your purchasing journey definitely delivers peace of mind. You can use a wholesale order management tool such as OrderCircle to make your life easier when it’s to handling orders and shipping.
Customer Service and Support
- Will you be assigned a dedicated sales representative?
Having a dedicated sales representative who knows you and understands your business can make a big difference. Relationships are important for both you and the supplier and the allocation of a dedicated sales rep demonstrates that the company values your business.
When you have a problem or issue related to ordering, delivery, sales or product faults and warranties calling Mary who has helped you throughout your wholesale journey is much more productive than calling support. Nobody wants to be a small fish in a big pond.
- Does the vape supplier have expert staff and industry understanding?
Outside of your dedicated sales rep, it’s nice to know that you also have direct line access to expert support staff who can assist you with technical product information and other industry-related issues. Knowing that you can make a phone call, send an email or even start an internet live chat to get answers ASAP will bring you peace of mind and let you focus on the really important thing – sales!
- Does your wholesaler have a regulatory team in place to work with government agencies?
As a supplement to the above question, it’s important to feel confident that your supplier is fully compliant with industry standards and the ever-increasing myriad of government regulations with regard to sales, advertising, and packaging
The vaping industry is experiencing many challenges as governments move towards tighter regulations. Trying to personally keep up with a complicated array of federal and state or provincial laws will give you a headache.
Make sure your suppliers have a regulatory team who keeps you well informed so you can focus on growing your business with confidence
27. Does your wholesale distributor or the brands it supplies have a dedicated vape brand and product marketing team?
When choosing which suppliers to partner with and brands to stock in your store it is critical to ensure they have a strong brand marketing strategy and market presence to support your own marketing efforts. .
The truth is brand is an important consideration in the consumer purchasing decision. A brand lives and evolves in the minds and hearts of potential clients. Simply put, people buy brands that they know and trust.
Think Coca Cola, Nike, and Apple. The branding and marketing of these suppliers create an identity that resonates with their target market making it easy for retailers to sell their products.
Retailer Marketing Resources
- Does your vape Brand wholesaler support you with marketing and promotional resources?
This question is closely aligned with the previous question. Firstly, strong, reputable brands are dedicated to ensuring consistency of their branding and messaging across all marketing platforms both online and in-store.
A good brand wholesaler also understands that the wholesaler/ retailer relationship is a partnership with each party’s success being directly related to the efforts of the other.
It’s in the best interests of brands and wholesalers to assist retailers and online sellers in their promotional efforts.
So what type of marketing resource support can you expect from your wholesale supplier? Here are a few related questions that you should ask.
- Does your vape brand wholesaler have a marketing and promotional policy to ensure brand integrity?
As mentioned previously people buy from brands they know and trust. It’s important to feel confident that the brands you are selling in your retail business are not degraded by poor representations of the brand from other resellers.
Could you imagine any reputable brand allowing you to make your own in-store posters to represent their brand?
Ensuring your brand wholesalers have strict marketing and promotional policies and guidelines that cover both messaging and image quality is a critical consideration.
Don’t overlook this one.
- Does your vape brand wholesaler provide in-store promotional materials?
Time is money and it takes both to create high-quality product promotional posters, display stands, product brochures and the like.
It pays to work with a supplier who provides you with high-quality marketing and promotional resources
- Does your vape brand wholesaler provide downloadable online promotional materials?
If you have a website and/or a social media presence it’s important to know that you have access to high-resolution product images, marketing banners and product descriptions for your vaping e-commerce store.
- Does your vape brand wholesaler charge you for their promotional materials?
Finally, it’s important to ask if there is any cost associated with the provision of the brand’s in-store and online marketing and promotional resources. For my mind, these should be provided free of charge and be delivered as part of your wholesale order.
- Does your supplier have client testimonials to verify the quality of their vaping products and services?
At the beginning of this article, we outlined a six-step research procedure for choosing your vaping wholesale supplier. The final step in this process was to complete your due diligence by speaking to the supplier’s clients.
If you haven’t already found this information (usually displayed on the brand or suppliers website) a reputable supplier will have no trouble providing you with the names and contact numbers of a few clients you can chat with.
I highly recommend you don’t skip this step.
The vaping industry is growing at a phenomenal rate but as mentioned in the introduction to this article, not all vape product suppliers are created equal.
Our goal is to assist you to make informed wholesale supply decisions that best suit the needs of your business.
We want you to conduct your due diligence and avoid any potential issues that may impact your business success.