Many companies and tobacco brands report that their customer breakdown by gender hovering around 80/20, with males being the predominate sex. This figure does not mean tobacco retailers should completely ignore their female customers. In fact, for those retailers looking to expand their customer base, they should try to grow their female customer base. This, sometimes, can be easier said than done when the bulk of the tobacco industry is built around a male lifestyle vibe.
Amy Tejada, a tobacconist working in New York, had this advice to offer to other tobacco retailers: “It would be great if retailers would hold their female customers with the same regard as their male customers. Women appreciate when retailers ask questions before assuming their preferences simply because they are women. ”
Delicia Silva, known to the industry as Cigar Vixen, added: “Women are women, whether we smoke cigars or not. We enjoy hanging around other women, having ‘girl time’, enjoying a glass of wine with a cigar, unwinding from work and planning our futures. The marketing and outreach remains targeted to a male audience, some manufacturers have changed ads to appeal to a slightly younger demographic but still doesn’t necessarily target women. This has always seemed backwards to me because if you can appeal to a woman, men will follow. Not necessarily vice versa.”
Want to attract more female customers to your tobacco store or cigar lounge? Here are some additional tips for how you can make your tobacco retail store more welcoming toward female clients:
Hire More Women:
Want more women to feel welcome in your store? Start by putting more women to work in your store. Female staff are valuable on many levels, from knowing how best to communicate with female customers to informing you what these customers really want. If you want to build female buyer confidence, start by hiring them to help you run your store.
Update the Decor:
If your store or lounge looks dated, your female customers may be turned off. Make your store attractive by practicing good merchandising habits, keeping it clean, using proper ventilation to eliminate the smoky smell and making the decor feel updated and fresh.
Have a Restroom for Women:
Does your store have a shared restroom for men and women or one specifically for each sex? Let women know you’re thinking of their needs than creating a clean space for them. And please, keep the toilet seat down.
Offer Something Rare:
A good humidor program can bring women to your store. Be sure to offer a diverse selection of boutique brands, limited editions, and rare or hard-to-find cigars to keep
your cigar enthusiasts hooked. See what your current female customers are buying and create a women’s section in your humidor or elsewhere in your store based on these products.
Move the Regulars:
Do you have a group of men who are always in your store? Are they usually gathered around the humidor, near the entrance, cash register? It may be difficult but find a comfortable place for them and and ensure those important hot spots in your retail store–such as the humidor, merchandise displays, cash register and entrance are kept clear and free for women to freely move around in.
Treat Your Customers Like Family:
Your retail space may be a business, but it needs to feel like a home to your customers. Make sure your employees are making all of your customers feel at ease and comfortable in your store and that the overall atmosphere is cool, calm and collected.
– Story by Antoine Reid, an editor and digital content director for Tobacco Business Magazine. You can follow him on Instagram @editor.reid