SmokingPipes.com: Uploading Profits

Here’s how Smokingpipes.com has used the power of websites and social media to make big profits on pipes and pipe tobacco.

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Blogs and creating shareable content for your customers can help bring more of them to your store, whether it’s a traditional brick-and-mortar store or a website. A blog, Twitter account, Facebook page or YouTube channel can be used to educate your customers on the products you sell, and get them excited and engaged with your brand. Those visitors to your blog or social media can then be converted into long-lasting customers. However, cautions Swearingen, you must show consistent effort by updating your blog and social media pages regularly to build enough traffic to move the profit needle.

Turn Challenges Into New Opportunities
Like many tobacco retailers, Smokingpipes.com has been impacted by the FDA deeming rules but it hasn’t let the new challenge slow the company down. Smokingpipes.com was compliant with the FDA rules within 90 days after they were first announced. Swearingen says that the company is in a good position to operate with the new regulations and now has turned its attention toward improving its business overall.

While the FDA will make it difficult and expensive to introduce new products to the industry, there are other ways to exercise creativity in a restrictive market. Smokingpipes.com has taken the FDA challenge as a chance to improve its website, from introducing an age-verification process to screen customers buying tobacco products to improving its website to offer a better customer experience.

“We are testing a whole new platform for our website,” reveals Swearingen. “It’s mostly going to look the same to everybody, but it’ll be a responsive website design. It will make it very easy to browse on tablets and phones.”

The bottom line? Taking challenging times as an opportunity to evaluate your business and find areas that need improvement can help you grow your business in difficult times. Whether it’s refining your marketing plan or improving your website, there’s always something in need of your attention. Improvements to your business can also be used as a way to show your customers that you’re aware of their needs, listening to their feedback and are interested in providing excellent customer service.

Story by Antoine Reid

This story first appeared in the May/June 2017 issue of Tobacco Business magazine. Members of the tobacco industry are eligible for a complimentary subscription to our magazine. Click here for details.