Whether they do it to stop smoking or just for fun, people love vaping these days! This might just be one of the fastest-growing industries in modern times with new vape shops opening their doors to customers all around the world.
Based on the interest in vaping, the market is predicted to grow to $67.31 billion by 2027, compared to $22.46 billion in 2022 and $18.13 billion in 2021.
Vapes are now a very popular replacement for cigarettes, but smokers are not the only targeted audience by these shops. Many non-smokers are getting in on this trend, buying vape juices with little or no nicotine just for some fun.
If you’ve decided to enter this industry and start your own online vape shop, you are looking at a very promising market. However, the high demand also equals big competition, so succeeding in the market requires much more than some social ads or a good website.
To help you out, we’ve created a guide on how to start this business with a bang.
Step 1: Decide what you’ll need to invest
The vape shop will come with expenses, and we aren’t just talking about creating the website to sell on. Before you start planning to open your shop or thinking about what name you’ll give it, you need to figure out what you’ll invest in.
Let us take you through the list of essentials for a successful online vape shop. Based on this, you can decide how much you need to invest in this business and form your business plan based on it.
Want to start a vape shop? You’ll need a vape POS system!
The first investment you need to think about when starting a vape shop is a POS system. If you want to start a vape shop online – or even in a physical location, you’ll need something to organize your sales, facilitate the payments, and help you keep track of everything.
Lightspeed can offer you all this and more. As one of the top-rated retail POS systems, Lightspeed improves the customer experience at the virtual checkout counter, but also collects important customer information, manages your inventory, and even keeps track of the staff.
With a built-in compliance feature, the POS system will give you free time to focus on other aspects of your new business, while keeping you safe from legal problems. Think of it as an advanced cash register for your vape shop, a place where you can integrate most of your business operations and gather information to make smart decisions about your new store.
What will you sell? Time to consider your choices of inventory!
Seeing how this industry is so popular, you have many choices of wholesalers that can provide you with vaping products to sell in your store. The idea is to find suppliers with quotes that fit your budget, but also quality products that you can sell more easily.
Your search for inventory should start as easily as possible. Vaping is a big industry, so you’ll have plenty of things you can stock up on. You need to decide what you want to begin with and invest in and look for the places that offer this.
Make a list of what your inventory will include. You might want to stock up on mods, e-liquids, starter kits, and parts to sell to your customer. The product is the primary reason why people will buy from you, so there’s no room for error here. If you skimp on quality or offer a very limited choice, your chances of succeeding aren’t high.
What will you be spending on marketing?
Since your store will operate online, at least for the time being, you need to get people familiar with it. This can’t happen overnight and a few Facebook ads certainly won’t bring you the capital you need.
If you want to succeed in the online world today, you need a smart marketing strategy. This costs money, so you need to figure out what you want to invest in before you open your store.
For starters, there’s the matter of SEO. Search engine optimization is what gets your store higher in search results so that when your target buyers look for vapes and similar products, they come across your site or pages.
Here comes the matter of who will do your SEO, what you’ll invest in it, and what strategies you’ll use to promote your brand in engines. Will you hire a professional? Will you create a blog that’s regularly updated with new content? How will you find the keywords to use?
Another grand part of marketing is the where. In the early stages of planning, you need to decide where you’ll promote your business. Chances are, you’ll want to use email marketing and social media to reach your audience. After all, these are the most effective ways to get people familiar with a new business.
More than 42% of the global population today uses social media, which makes this the perfect channel for your marketing strategy. But, how do you create a social strategy that works?
The recipe for success here is money and consistency.
If you want to market your new business, you need to set aside a budget for ads on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You might want to invest in a social marketer that will handle your accounts, a person to write your posts, as well as tools like Linktree to help you share your links on social channels.
If Linktree is not to your taste, HighLevel is a Linktree alternative that’s worth your attention. Consider this as the option you can use to share multiple links on social channels, and save tons of time and money in the process.
Lastly, you should consider influencers. Influencers today have a lot of credibility and can boost your brand’s image faster than anything else. Social proof is the leading force when it comes to purchases, so scour the Web for some influencers and decide what you’ll need to invest in this, to begin with.
Consider licensing, employee costs, and storage expenses
One of the biggest mistakes of new businesses is under-capitalization. Simply put, this refers to running out of money and not being able to continue with your new store.
That being said, you need to plan for the big expenses that come with a vape shop before you decide to open it.
While you might be saving on things like rent or bills, an online store isn’t a cheap thing, either. In addition to the POS system and your inventory, you’ll still need to get your license, pay customer service and other employees, and cover the costs of storage for your inventory.
Step 2: Create your business plan
As soon as you’ve settled the number you can afford to spend – and need to start your new vape store, you are ready for action.
Start with your business plan. Opening any kind of business without a detailed plan is extremely risky. If you want to minimize mistakes and avoid risks, this is a must-follow step for you.
Now that you know where you’ll get your inventory and what you’ll invest in, it is time to write it all down. Choose a name for your store, create the site, and start writing down everything you need to do before your site goes live.
In your plan, note down more than just the expenses. Write about your plans for the first weeks, months, and years after opening your store. Plan how you’ll allocate the money you earn, keep the customers you’ve attracted interested, and how you’ll expand your business going forward.
At this point, research is the strongest tool you have. Research your competition and the target buyer to figure out which steps to prioritize and what to focus on.
Step 3: Market your online store to the right audience
The last step before you open that store for the public is to figure out who you sell for. This will help you form your marketing strategies from this point forward, and will tell you what to stock up on.
The primary targets of most online vape shops are:
- Cigarette smokers. Many smokers today try to break this nasty habit by using vapes as a healthier alternative, or as an option to gradually stop smoking altogether. If these people are your target audience, you might want to invest in marketing that educates them about the health benefits of vaping, for example.
- Vape users. The second targeted audience is people that are using vapes already. These people search for big inventories and are familiar with the products, so they look for quality and a good price.
Surely, you can target both these groups or different subgroups that belong to them. Even so, if you have a more limited budget, you might want to focus on one until you grow your new business.
Have you done all this? It’s time to open that vape shop!
Vape shops are a smart choice for a business today. This is a highly demanded market, which brings you a lot of promise if you have a quality vape shop. Many people buy vapes online these days.
Even so, no business can succeed without planning and effort. Once you’re done with the 3 stages above, you are ready to open your online vape store. But remember – this is a work in progress, so invest yourself into it to thrive on the market!