VPZ is an e-cigarette store with a difference. One of the key objectives for the brand is to create a warm, welcoming and attractive place for consumers to visit for advice, consultation and education on the health benefits of vaping when compared to smoking. Their first store opened in Edinburgh in 2012 and shortly after they expanded across Scotland with 64 stores. Due to the success enjoyed across the founders’ homeland, VPZ has now turned its attention to the rest of the UK where they are looking to expand rapidly. Their vision is for 300 stores across the UK within the next few years, in locations spanning from premium shopping destinations such as Westfield in London to a variety of secondary towns, where some of their most successful stores are located.
To facilitate VPZ's ambitious growth plans by streamlining their acquisition process through accurate, comprehensive and consistently available data.
To achieve their vision of 300 UK-stores, VPZ's target is to open one store a week - an impressive feat for any retailer. With hundreds of potential sites, they needed a source of relevant and recent insight to support them to identify and prioritise locations which would have the best chances of success.
To support this work, they enlisted the help of the Local Data Company, who initially analysed the existing store network to identify which market variables correlated to the highest sales densities. This included analysis on the surrounding retail offer, population size, competition levels and other environmental factors such as vacancy rates and structure of the location. The result was a list of variables that contribute to store performance which provided a framework through which to assess all future locations.
With such a rapid roll-out plan in place, VPZ needed ongoing access to a tool that would give them access to consistent GB-wide data to help them to manage their large funnel of prospect sites. Today, they are using location insight platform LocalDataOnline to directly access data on over 3,000 markets.
Using this online platform, VPZ pull together an information pack on each prospect site which includes data on competitors, surrounding brands and activity, location set up including retail hotspots and other environmental factors. Through the platform they can get a deep understanding of that location and how it is used by consumers - without having to physically visit every single site in the first instance. They can also gain insight on how competitors have performed in that location – have any closed? And if so, what were the reasons? They can use this information to build comparable pictures of prospect locations and visualise how a VPZ store would fit into that local economy.
The LDO platform is also used to identity new competitors in this active market. When they come across a new vaping retailer, they can use the platform to look in detail at the network – how many stores do they have, where are they and how quickly are they expanding/contracting? They can also analyse the quality of their competitors’ pitch, are they opening in increasingly high-quality locations, or do they appear to be down-sizing or contracting?
With plans for a rapid expansion, VPZ value the speed in which they can access data on locations without relying on analyst time and resource. Within LDO, there are pre-set reports which can be pulled with fresh data at the touch of a button. Vaporized use the platform in a variety of situations, from weekly property review sessions to meeting with franchisees who want to know about the competitive landscape surrounding their stores.
VPZ can also create cost efficiencies by using Local Data Company data to identify potential regional store clusters. Once they have identified a number of new sites in a particular location or region, they can manage this process to ensure that training teams, store fit out and stock deliveries can be combined for all stores, resulting in cost savings.
With the help of the Local Data Company, VPZ is now opening shops at a faster rate than the previous financial year. This is due to streamlining of the process through quick access to relevant and accurate data, enabling quick decision making and efficient management of site openings. They can manage a large funnel of potential locations and have the flexibility to prioritise sites within a pipeline of quality locations – a great place to be for an ambitious and game-changing brand.