Cigar Upselling Techniques – Tips and Tricks

It’s the second quarter, and you’re looking at total sales so far in 2022. Did you notice it? There’s a significant number of new customers walking through your doors (or those virtual doors online). However, sales are up by less than 1%. What gives? Firstly, there are numerous factors that can cause stagnation in your sales. Many of which are out of your control and in this article we will examine one factor that is within your control. It is something you can do well as an industry expert: cigar upselling opportunities. 

Strategic Organization of Your Cigar Shop

Let’s start simply. The first factor to consider in cigar upselling techniques is the strategic organization of your cigar humidor and accessory displays. In my experience managing a brick-and-mortar retail cigar shop, placing affordable cigar accessories at the checkout counter is an easy way to create upselling opportunities.

In your humidor, it is important to place high-priority brands in a place of prominence. Over time, you will notice that certain shelves in your humidor may sell better than others. High-value cigars deserve high-value real estate. Cigar brands placed on certain shelves may almost sell themselves, while those on other shelves may be doomed to sit. It’s important to place cigars you wish to upsell in places that are easy to access. This is so you can smoothly transition the customer’s attention from their typical selection to the cigar you wish to upsell. Do you wish to upsell a regular Avo customer to Davidoff? You don’t want to force your customer to walk across your humidor to listen to you pitch a new and unfamiliar brand. How you organize your product is vital to cigar upselling.

Finding Cigars That Are Actually Easy To Upsell 

Another aspect of cigar upselling is finding cigars that are easy to upsell. The first step in finding cigars to upsell is to learn and grow your knowledge of premium cigars as a whole. Read about how they are made, ask your cigar sales reps to describe everything they can about the cigars they sell, smoke everything in your humidor, and while you smoke them, think about what cigars you have smoked that are similar and which are wholly different.

 If you smoke a Nicaraguan cigar like La Aroma de Cuba and then smoke another Nicaraguan cigar like one made by My Father Cigars, then equipped with that knowledge you may be able to upsell that La Aroma de Cuba customer to a pricier My Father cigar by showing how if they like La Aroma de Cuba, then they might also like My Father Cigars. The key to figuring out which cigars to upsell is through dedicated research and personal experience.

Some cigars are easy to upsell because of their novelty or rarity. An example of this is the highly sought-after Fuente Fuente Opus X by Arturo Fuente. In many shops, they will limit Opus to two cigars per customer because of such a huge demand for them. One trick you may use to sell more cigars, Fuente in particular, is to tell a customer that if they spend another fifty to a hundred dollars on Fuente cigars, you can waive the limit to sell them a third Opus. Use your customer’s fear of missing out to your advantage.

Cross-Selling Cigar Accessories

Another way to boost sales from your existing customers is not just by upselling them on cigars, but by cross-selling cigar accessories to your customers. Cigar smokers need more than just a cigar in order to smoke. They also need cutters to cut the cap, lighters to light up the cigar, humidors to store them, and humidity and climate control devices to ensure they remain in optimal condition. Also, customers who have brand loyalty also like accessories that are branded to specific cigar brands. Easy ways to provide opportunities to cross-sell is by placing affordable cigar accessories such as cutters, lighters, butane, or humidity packs on or around the checkout counter. Cross-sell by saying something like “Do you have your cutter or lighter with you?” or “Need any humidity packs for your humidor?” Sales like this can easily boost a sale by 5 to 10 dollars and these increases add up quickly. 

Another easy way to cross-sell is by slowly outfitting new cigar smokers with accessories. Whenever they walk in for the first time, you may sell them a cheap lighter, cutter, and a cigar or two. After a few weeks of them buying a cigar or two at a time you may start to teach them a bit about other brands they can venture out with when they’re ready. But, where are they going to keep them all? Cross-sell them on an affordable travel humidor by asking them about their storage. A couple of months later, they decide they want to start collecting cigars. This is where you make your first big sale with them by selling them on a high-quality humidor to store their collection in the right way. This natural progression is organic and important: cross-selling increases your cost per transaction, but it also creates lifelong customers.

Upselling Online

Mastering the art of upselling in your online store can help ensure larger sales and repeat customers. 

  • Setting up an email list can be crucial to your online cigar shop. You can offer a slight discount for new email sign-ups, and in return, you have a higher chance of a repeat customer now added to your email list.
  • Abandoned cart reminders help ensure that people who go to your cigar shop’s website end up making a purchase. If they sign up for your email newsletter, then you now have their email on file. Meaning you can set up your email system to send reminders to customers who added products to their cart but did not check out.

Tailoring Each Sale To Your Customer

If there is one thing to take away from this article, it’s that it is so important to know your customers. Each customer has unique needs and is open to cigar upselling in different ways.

  • Some customers want a better bargain. So, upsell them on bundles, boxes, or any other sales that seem to be a great bang for the buck. 
  • Other customers appreciate luxury and status so upsell them on expensive, extravagant, and rare cigars and accessories. Upsell them on an opportunity to show off. 
  • Some customers are new and may need a humidor, lighter, cutter, humidification devices, etc. Don’t let Amazon take their business, upsell them on your inventory of cigar accessories. 

It is important to listen to your customers and establish trust so that they are. In turn, willing to listen to you and take your suggestions. Get to know their palate, their habits, their family life, and what they are looking for in a cigar. Shops we work with have built lifelong relationships with customers. Customers come in looking forward to what their shop is going to be recommending today. Don’t miss an opportunity to be that for your own customers. Make it an experience, each and every time.

If you need help defining that experience, or need Cigarketing’s help with your marketing efforts beyond upselling, reach out to our team, we’d love to chat with you.

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