With the 20th May fast approaching, meet three retailers protecting their business by stocking the closest alternative on the market
With just two months until the menthol cigarette ban comes into force, thousands of retailers are thinking carefully about how they can retain their menthol customers beyond 20 May.
While some retailers may wait for customers to request alternative products post-ban, many have taken immediate action to safeguard their business. By learning more about the alternatives available and stocking a range of products, these retailers have placed themselves in the best possible position to compete with online and high street specialists.
At Philip Morris, we are helping retailers learn more about IQOS – a heated tobacco alternative unaffected by the ban. Relatively new to the UK market, 80% of smokers who try IQOS for 7 days switch completely from cigarettesi.
For the first time, retailers have the opportunity to sell a special IQOS Menthol Heated Tobacco kit directly to customers by signing up to our dedicated retailer hub - menthol-ban-retail.co.uk
A small number of retailers have already had the opportunity to sell IQOS to their customers – and the results are overwhelmingly positive and proving to be a boost to their business.
Shahid of United Supermarket said he was confident that selling IQOS would help protect his sales once the ban starts.
“With cigarettes going dark for some time, we’ve been on the lookout for alternatives. When an IQOS rep approached us about heated tobacco, I was blown away - it’s what I always thought e-cigarettes should be,” he said.
”Stocking IQOS has definitely brought new customers into the store, particularly people looking to move away from smoking real cigarettes.”
Shahid said that word had got out that he stocks the IQOS device and heated tobacco sticks (known as ‘HEETS’) which are used in the device. He now sees new faces in his store all the time looking to buy the products.
Shahid commented: “I’m really pleased Philip Morris has introduced the Menthol Heated Tobacco kit. The ban is a concern, but the kit means I can easily offer my menthol cigarette customers the closest alternative. I’m confident it’ll help protect my sales.”
Maria of Lexies said that she had seen a steady increase in sales since she started to stock IQOS.
“We always try to keep our store current and ensure we stock the latest products and innovations that could be of interest for our customers. When we first heard about heated tobacco we went online to do research and the first site that popped up was IQOS. We were keen to give it a try.”
As with any new product, Maria felt she had to work to get her customers interested at first, but once they understood its benefits, more of them switched to IQOS from cigarettes.
“Since stocking heated tobacco, we’ve seen a steady increase in sales,” Maria said. “Because we are an IQOS reseller, people who are actively seeking out where they can get their hands on the device come across our store. This means that we are gaining new customers all the time too.”
As the clock counts down to the ban, Maria said she was busy advising her customers on what alternatives she has in stock. “I run through what’s available, but always highlight IQOS as the closest alternative,” she said.
“The new IQOS Menthol Heated Tobacco kit is the perfect product to get them started because it’s everything they need in one pack – an IQOS and two menthol HEETS flavours. It’s a must stock.”
Imran of Clifton Off Licence said that selling IQOS and HEETS had been great for his business as more people look to switch to heated tobacco.
“I’d recommend other retailers to stock IQOS, especially as it’s the closest alternative. The liquid used in vapes just isn’t the same and a lot of people don’t like the flavour,” he said.
Stocking IQOS has also helped Imran feel prepared for the menthol cigarette ban as he’s able to offer his customers the closest alternative to menthol cigarettes.
“As soon as they try HEETS menthol flavours – Blue and Turquoise – they’re amazed. I’ve had super positive feedback so far. Now I can offer the Menthol Heated Tobacco kit too, which is going to add even more value to my business,” he said.
Retailers should register at menthol-ban-retail.co.uk for more information on how to stock IQOS.
For further information, go to https://menthol-ban-retail.co.uk/.
i Philip Morris Limited consumer insights data. Based on regular SMS conversion checks (opted-in consumers) during the period 10/11/2018 - 06/06/2019. https://uk.iqos.com/
This material is restricted to those who are involved in the business of the sale or distribution of tobacco who are aged 18 years or over. This material should not be made available to the public or sent to anyone else. IQOS is not risk free and is for adult use only.