Sunday, April 14, 2013

Great Prices, Better Customer Service, Is A Great Online Shopping Site For E-Cigs And Supplies!

The Good: Good shipping, Good selection, Superior customer service (the best!)
The Bad: Not the most precise descriptions of products to truly benefit new customers.
The Basics: is the site online to purchase electronic cigarette supplies!

My wife was, when I first got to know her, a smoker. She gave up cigarettes for me, which was pretty awesome. That’s love. However, after two years of marriage, she really wanted to smoke again. Sigh. So, we reached a compromise; after doing a lot of research, we learned that e-cigarettes, which produce steam, not smoke, did not stain, smell, or have the carcinogenic first or second hand effects of regular cigarettes. It is, for the most part, a harmless endeavor and when my wife decided to get re-addicted to nicotine, I was just glad that she wasn’t doing it in a way that would kill her, me or make all of our stuff smell. Now, several systems removed from the first electronic cigarettes, my wife has found a few sites that provide e-cigarette supplies and fluids. I’ve gotten in the habit of buying her e-cig supplies as a gift, largely because (unlike in New York where we lived together for the first three and a half years of our marriage, where the e-cigs are a growth industry) there are no e-cig supply shops within two hundred miles. So, I’ve whittled down the sites she and I buy from and the best one we’ve yet found is Value Vapor (

I've been doing business with Value Vapor online for two years now. is the web-based presence of the Austin, Texas, based electronic cigarette product distributor. ships out of Austin daily and they pride themselves on their low prices, which they certainly deliver upon. sells e-cigarette systems and liquid nicotine. They have exceptionally competitive prices and it worth noting that Value Vapor does not produce the equipment they sell. As a result, I find that it is worth mentioning that Value Vapor, as a distributor of e-cigarette supplies, is not responsible for the overall quality of the products. Our experiences with e-cigarette supplies have been that 1. They are the epitome of planned obsolescence and 2. The technology continues to be refined. E-cigarette systems have an initial price tag (usually in the $30 - $100 range) that has put a lot of people off to them. However, most good e-cigarette sellers point out that that cost is the equivalent to x packs of cigarettes and you get y packs of cigarettes worth of steaming out of the equipment (y usually being about ten or more times the value of x). And it’s a good pitch, but experience has quickly shown that atomizers, cartomizers, batteries and cartridges burn out at a vastly accelerated rate vs. the promises e-cigarette manufacturers make. Since my wife began steaming two and a half years ago, she has gone through six completely different e-cigarette systems. Given that we have had precarious financial situations throughout almost the entire last three years, you have to believe that she has tried every possible way to clean, recharge, and otherwise reuse and rotate her parts in order to make each system work for as long as possible.

What does this have to do with is selling a product which is known to have issues; the basic technology is much more fragile than manufacturers want to admit. Serious smokers who turn into equally serious steamers are burning through this equipment much faster than manufacturers want to admit. distinguishes itself in this regard in two exceptionally important ways. First, they have an exceptional inventory. Value Vapor is constantly evolving its inventory with the latest in e-cig technology and they sell a greater variety of e-cig systems and more of the newest systems than anywhere else we have found on the internet. The second way they distinguish themselves is in the customer service department.

Value Vapor has absolutely amazing customer service. In addition to a decent use of social media platforms (like Facebook) where they keep customers up to date about current merchandise and offer a number of giveaways, they frequently throw in freebies with orders (all you have to do is ask politely at checkout and returning customers usually get a little gift!) and they respond exceptionally quickly to e-mails and customer service requests that come through their online forms. But above that, they seem to recognize that the products they sell have a fragility and an planned impermanence. They respond quickly, efficiently, and to the benefit of their customers consistently to all issues that come up with the mechanics of the product they sell. Lesser e-cig companies – and we have (or more accurately “had”) dealt with a surprisingly high number – pretty much tell the customers to go to hell because they have nothing to do with the manufacture of the e-cig products (a vast number of e-cig systems come with manuals that are only written in Chinese, so it’s not like the manufacturers are terribly responsive to the needs of the U.S. market); Value Vapor does the exact opposite. They take incredible responsibility for the product they sell and work exceptionally hard to replace, refund, or otherwise work with customers to ensure they keep coming back. And to be fair to Value Vapor, my wife (who would give a ten out of ten if she were writing this review!) wanted me to note that the systems she has bought through Value Vapor have been the tertiary systems (in other words, we went through five e-cig systems prior to getting the systems through Value Vapor and since then, she has only had two and they have lasted the longest and been the most easy-to-use; the highest quality product).

Visiting, the visitor is brought from a basic security warning page designed to deter those under eighteen from proceeding to a stark sales page. is a straight-to-the-point sales-oriented website that does not waste time, space or bandwidth on unnecessary features or programs. Usually on the front page there is a list of the current promotion going on at the site.

First-time visitors to are encouraged to open an account, though anyone using the shopping cart will be able to register after they find the items they are looking for, if they don't want to "risk" it. does not keep credit card information on-file, but has secure servers for transmitting that information each time. Customers at may have multiple shipping and billing addresses stored in their account and I've found that useful for when I was in the process of a move or shipping items as gifts.’s account management is simple to use.

One of the nice things about placing orders with is the friendly customer service and the way they are on top of the information they have. What robs of a perfect rating (because it is hard to hold the website accountable for the general failings of the e-cig technology) is the lack of detailed information on the page. Many listings – especially for components to existing systems – lack enough descriptive information to provide those who find from making all of their shopping choices based on what is in front of them. So, for example, the “Blank Cartridges ‘True 901’ (Flat-Tip Black)” that sells for $.49 has the title as its description. This tells the shopper nothing about what systems it is compatible with, how to use it, etc. Given how new e-cig technology is, this is to the detriment of the website and the shopping experience.

Fortunately, has an incredibly knowledgeable, customer service-oriented staff that is fast with replies to e-mails. Ideally, a website like should not require the interactions, but Value Vapor more than makes up for that structural defect on the customer service and product knowledge end . . . all without having high prices.

The search engine on is a good one and I’ve had no problem finding any products in stock using that (as opposed to the list bar on the left side of the site). Product pages at include at least one image of the product (which may often be enlarged). While they might be low on product descriptions, they have amazing product selection and it is easy to assemble an order that has a great variety of e-cig parts.

As well, Value Vapor has frequent promotions and their customer service never diminishes when they (presumably) get slammed during their great deals. Check-out through is simple with a shopping cart interface which is as easy as clicking buttons (after one has established their account). Shipping usually occurs within twenty-four hours and e-mails an update to users as to the status of their order. has exceptionally-detailed shipping information that they provide to their customers. When we place orders with Value Vapor, we know exactly where in the world the order is (it is probably the most complete shipping record we get from an online seller!).

Customer service, selection and low prices all come together to make the seemingly simple website the very best electronic cigarette supply supplier on the internet!

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© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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