Retailers: HTPs Require Commitment to Training

Photo: VPZ

While offering various benefits, heated-tobacco products (HTPs) require lots of dedication from tobacco retailers to be successful, according to an article in the U.K. publication Better Retailing.  

Although vaping has rapidly taken off since its introduction in the U.K. two decades ago, HTP is a younger technology that has taken some time to build momentum. Philip Morris Limited (PML) entered the market in 2016 with IQOS, and Japan Tobacco International debuted its Ploom device in the U.K. in 2020.

In 2021, HTPs represented 18.6 percent of the total reduced-risk product market in the U.K., up 86 percent compared to 2020, suggesting considerable gains for retailers who can invest the time, energy and research that this category demands.

The retailers interviewed by Better Retailing reported hit-or-miss success with heat-not-burn products, with one shop owner keeping IQOS Heets in store for a single customer and another bringing in more than £1,000 ($1,183) per week with the product.

JTI advises retailers to maintain good stock levels and to have devices available for in-store demonstrations and for using platforms, such as JTI’s trade website, to generate repeat sales.

Kate O’Dowd, head of commercial planning for U.K. and Ireland at PML, urges retailers to not limit themselves by a “stock-and-sell” mentality. “Build connections with customers to understand their preferences so you can offer a smoke-free alternative that meets their needs,” she says.