We all know the internet changed the world and how the world does business. The cigar business was no different. Internet sales are a huge part of the industry now, but a true cigar enthusiast still loves the experience of heading to their local cigar store. Each has distinct benefits, but you don’t have to choose one. Cigar lovers can have the best of both worlds.
The Benefits of an Online Cigar Store
Convenience and Product Information
Like shopping for anything online, the advantage is you get to do it from home. Online sellers provide an array of inventory with thorough descriptions and colorful photographs. Often the information about a cigar’s blend, body, and construction is more detailed than what you might find on the shelf at your local cigar shop. This can be extremely helpful especially if you’re new to the cigar world or not sure what you’re looking for. Add in customer reviews and recommendations, and it’s almost like having a certified tobacconist at your disposal.
Cigar Store Selection
Sure you’ll find Arturo Fuente smokes at your local shop, but will they carry Opus X?
In most cases, small cigar stores won’t carry everything you’re looking for. For instance, Davidoff only supplies to select stores and requires an extensive vetting process before stores can carry their lines. Your average store won’t have them.
However, anything and everything is available online including rare and hard-to-find brands. Even a large retail shop can’t maintain the back stock or compete with the variety of premium cigars that online merchant’s offer.
Lower Prices Online
Online distributors benefit from high volume and low overhead. They don’t have to pay rent and utilities or staff like brick-and-mortar establishments, so they can afford to charge less. Plus, you won’t have to pay hefty taxes, as the online warehouses are almost always on low/no tobacco excise tax states. The state tobacco excise tax alone in some states can be 30% or higher. If you’re looking for a more economical route, shopping online is the answer, but don’t rule out supplementing your stash by visiting your local cigar shop.
The Benefits of the Cigar Store Experience
There’s nothing like walking into a cigar store. The personal greeting from the owner.The aroma of premium cigars wafting from the lounge. Stepping into the humidor and perusing the display of premium cigars. The benefits of shopping for cigars on-site don’t end there.
Immediate Gratification in a Cigar Store
One advantage of shopping on-site is immediate gratification. You can spend an hour browsing the selection and walk out with your cigars or even better light one up right after you get your receipt. There’s no waiting for deliveries, no chance of orders getting lost in transit, and no chance of receiving the wrong order.
Customer service online is excellent, but nothing beats talking with someone in person. Cigar shops are staffed with knowledgeable employees and most times certified tobacconists, who are always glad to steer you in the right direction. One of the best features of cigar life is talking cigars with experienced smokers. Need a good full-bodied cigar at a reasonable price? How about a short smoke for a novice smoker? Need a cigar to impress the boss or your father-in-law? Any good cigar shop owner can answer your questions and provide guidance.
Camaraderie and Smoking
Recently, strict smoking laws have not been kind to the cigar lifestyle. There aren’t too many venues to enjoy a fine cigar. However, many brick-and-mortar stores showcase lounges or at the least small smoking areas for their customers. Some may charge a fee, but in a world that is becoming increasingly virtual, it’s always nice to sit down and share your smoking hobby among like-minded people.
You may pay a few extra bucks in person, but it’s a small price for the ambiance and genuine warmth you get when you become a regular at your local shop, and supporting a local business is always a plus.
Online or on-site? There’s no need to choose. Why not do a bit of both? There’s no harm in looking for that rare trophy cigar online, but shop in person, sit down, have a smoke, and talk cigars.