Several factors make Cue Vapor a top draw among adult tobacco consumers in the c-store channel.
By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Editor
Since e-cigarettes came to market a number of years ago, the e-tobacco category has garnered wide-spread attention from American consumers.
According to Vaping.com, there are approximately nine million vape users in the U.S., and more than 20 million across the globe. That translates to more than $3.7 billion per year spent on related products.
Among the brands leading the vaping charge is Cue Vapor, which since its introduction in 2016 has seen rapid growth in both distribution and consumer acceptance, much of it coming in convenience stores. Cue’s main tagline is: ‘Satisfaction. At Last.’ which highlights that consumers can finally stop searching for an e-vapor product which meets their needs. Cue is here to deliver superior satisfaction in a simple and convenient way.
HOW IT WORKS
The Cue Vapor System delivers sub-ohm vaping performance – which is frequently sought by cigarette smokers who previously tried e-cigarettes or other complicated e-vapor devices and are now seeking a simple and/or more satisfying alternative. Until Cue, sub-ohm vaping technology had only been accessible to consumers through cumbersome devices sold primarily in vape shops and online.
“The formats for these products have traditionally been too complicated for adult cigarette consumers seeking a satisfying alternative,” said Jacopo D’Alessandris, president and CEO for E-Alternative Solutions. “With its revolutionary Click-n-Vape technology, Cue Vapor is vaping made simple with no coils to change or tanks to fill. One just has to insert the desired flavor cartridge in the Cue device, push the button and vape!”
MASS MEDIA SUPPORT
“We know the vast majority of tobacco consumers smoke cigarettes,” said D’Alessandris. “Many of these consumers are looking for alternatives to cigarette smoking. With cigarette sales in volume decreasing consistently year over year by five percent on average, Cue Vapor provides a meaningful alternative to these smokers by providing satisfaction and simplicity without the hassles of more complex sub-ohm vaping products.”
“A multi-million-dollar advertising campaign including TV, radio and print is helping Cue build brand awareness and driving those seeking the product to stores,” D’Alessandris added.
This campaign is meant to drive national awareness for the brand through infomercials, but also to drive consumers to regional retailers carrying the product. Local TV and radio spots tag specific retailers carrying Cue, and a convenient store locator page on the cuevapor.com website also identifies every retailer currently carrying the product. These tactics make it incredibly simple for adult consumers to find the product when they want it.
At retail, first-class merchandising and POS signs capture the attention of adult tobacco consumers. Cue Vapor is sold and distributed by E-Alternative Solutions, LLC, a sister company to Jacksonville-based Swisher International (Swisher), and, thanks to a close relationship between the two companies, it benefits from Swisher’s sophisticated field sales support. In addition, EAS’s experienced and professionally-trained sales team supports retailers with category management services, helping ensure the consumer is getting the most from each store’s e-vapor category space.
“Cue Vapor’s unique go-to-market strategy has replicated what vapor stores have been doing for years but brought it to a more traditional class of retail and to a mass market audience,” D’Alessandris said. “More specifically, Cue has utilized infomercials as a primary means to educate consumers about vaping and to bring awareness to this revolutionary system. No other tobacco brand has used direct response television in such a way, and with so much investment behind it.”
CUE’S SUCCESSFUL PARTNERSHIP WITH TWICE DAILY
Among chains benefiting from Cue’s market popularity is Tri Star Energy LLC, which does business as Twice Daily. The company has 87 stores, 90 percent within a 50-mile radius of its headquarters in Nashville, Tenn., said company merchandising manager Rick Staley.
“Cue offers a lot of variety, and better vapor production than any other product we had in our set,” he said. “Once people try it and find the flavor and nicotine level they like, they come back to buy more cartridges. Cue Vape also provides “plus business” for the stores, expanding the amount of purchases consumers make, he added. “It’s surprising how many other items are sold along with vaping materials, Staley said. “So, Cue Vapor increases the market basket.”
As for merchandising, Staley allocates behind the counter eight feet for cigarettes, four feet for moist snuff tobacco, four feet for e-cigarettes and three more feet for cigars. Promotions are touted via off-the-shelf danglers. “I have a lot of support from Cue on marketing and promotions,” Staley said. “Here in Nashville, we have the Country Music Awards, and EAS is going to set up Cue tents in the parking lot at the store, giving people coupons for $5 off the Cue Vapor System product to incentivize them to try it and drive them into the store.”
Consistent with what D’Alessandris calls “the overwhelming early success of Cue,” the partnership with Twice Daily keeps expanding this year. In particular, Twice Daily has just increased its e-Vapor Kit offering adding the Blue and Pink colors. After only a few weeks of sales Staley noted, “I’m very happy with them.”