Everyday I get calls from retail clients asking how to increase retail sales of hookahs and accessories. I have a few tips I've picked up over the years from shops that sell dozens of hookahs a week.
Are your hookahs sitting 8 feet up on a shelf behind the counter? I see retailers doing this across the country, but how often do customers get to have a hands on experience with the product? Retailers that successfully sell through their hookah inventory have hookahs displayed prominently. Customers can interact with the hookahs and employees can start natural dialogue to begin the sale process.
As friendly as you think your staff and environment is, most customers feel intimidated or hesitant to ask questions because of all the vagaries of smoke shop vocabulary and etiquette. With that in mind, make it easy for your customers to get the product in their hands. Once a customer starts holding a product and asking questions, you chances of closing a sale go up 10X.
Just try it...pick one day a week, and put all your hookahs on the countertops. We bet you start selling not only more hookahs, but more shisha, coals, and accessories! Get your employees involved and make sure they know what all the accessories do, how to use them and why they should recommend them.
If you have any questions about your products, let us know. We can give you the information you need to make your staff hookah experts.
Selling Hookah Accessories
Look around your store. Are your hookah accessories sitting in the same place you left them in a few months ago? The longer they sit the less perceived value they have with customers and employees who pass them by week by week. Your salespeople often forget to even mention these accessories when closing a retail hookah sale. Our biggest client adds accessories to EVERY hookah on display and sells them as Premium packages. The customer has the option to decline the accessories and get a better price, but once they hear the benefits of the "Premium package'" very few do. Send your customers out the door with the best possible set up and you will see more repeat business and benefit from the added profit. Things like a bowl upgrade, washable silicone hose upgrade, even small things like a diffuser and flavor saver can help you add to your sales.
Hookah Tasting Events
One way to reach new customers is to advertise a hookah night. 1 night a week, they set up a couple hookahs to sample flavors, demonstrate some hookah "How to's and Hookah Hacks" and show off the value of upgraded accessories. One client does a weekly email to current clients, Facebook groups, and Craigslist ads to invite customers into the store to try new flavors and products. The first night was only two visitors and nothing sold, but after a few months of consistent promotion from the staff, the event draws in 30-40 new and returning customers who are very engaged with the business. Grow your repeat business and build a rapport with the community with little effort or cost.
Join the retail hookah conversation
What tips do you have for our friends? Please share any advice you have for retailers that has been successful in your store!