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Old February 2nd, 2010, 02:27 PM
Status: Offline
Hookah Nut
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 210
Default Re: Is there room for another vendor?

there is definitely more room for another vendor right now, with that said, you need to offer things that others don't, as well as a good solid price.
just a few things i've noticed...
-most of the vendors are in the southwest/west side of the US, no love for the people on most of the east coast. For those of us who live in new york, there is really no shops in the tri-state area with decent selection unless you go into new york city, and a 2 hour round trip+train tickets/subway cards can get expensive for a few boxes of shisha..especially when i've found a ton of shops are hole-in-the-wall and can be extremely sketchy.
-another thing, read reviews, figure out what people like, and sell it.
one of the things, especially for newer hookah smokers, a lot of them don't know the difference in the brands, or which is better, etc. one of the things I remember looking far and wide for was a "company sampler" sort of package where a small discount is offered for a package of pre-determined amount(5x50's, 3x100's etc, but again, it's a sampler so no huge packages) from a handful of different companies. That way, people can get an idea of what they like as far as a company goes. Either make pre-determined flavor packages, or give the consumer a choice of flavors in a given package.
-Pulling from the last point some, a single company sampler is also a great thing. I know when I was first ordering, I had major trouble figuring out what to get because there are just so many flavors, so maybe offer a few packages that YOU think are good, as an example, a starbuzz 100g sampler, choose your offer 3 tins of your favorite starbuzz flavors. (but remember to also offer the general choose your own 3/5/what have you)
-Also have GOOD product descriptions, or have a page that explains the various caviats of the different flavors. for example, I was buying tangiers for the first time, and on the dropdown list of flavors from H-S it said lucid (+3.00), and also had things like "peach" and "kashmir peach." I figured out what lucid was pretty easily, BUT it took a lot of searching, and finally a chat with CS to figure out what kashmir was. I find that the easier it is to figure out the differences between flavors, the more likley I am to order.
finally, for the love of god, USE USPS! (unless you can't ship tobacco/other hookah items via USPS, but as far as I know you can?) USPS is generally cheaper, AND faster than Fedex or UPS. Priority mail is much less expensive, and takes a maximum of 3 days to get across the country. This is one of my biggest gripes with almost all of the vendors that I've ordered from, i'm paying a lot for shipping, and it takes a week+ to get to me because it's coming from cross country, UPS ground.
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