With Oxford Dictionary coining “vape” word of the year, it is evident that the vaping industry is going through a massive expansion that can incur huge profits for entrepreneurs and investors.
People are ditching their bad cigarette smoking habit by switching to vape options. According to research conducted by WHO, the number of people who vape has increased from 7 million in 2011 to 35 million in just 7 years. In this article, we are going to explain how to start a vape shop online.
Not only is vaping a safer alternative to traditional cigarette smoking but it also gives you the liberty of making customizations. Whether you want to give a new look to your vape mod or want to try out a new flavor, you can also try out a new option according to your needs and expectations.
For a business head, this is the right time to venture into this lucrative field and enjoy unlimited profits. But building a vaping empire is not as easy as it looks, as it involves years of experience and guidance from the experts. Therefore, in this article, we would tell you about all the important “what’s and should’s” you need to know before launching your first e-cigarette website.
Understanding Vaping Industry
Before jumping straight into buying a domain for your website, you need to know about the terminologies and jargons related to vaping products and accessories. As a newbie vape retailer, you should make yourself familiar with the following terms.
E-Liquids and E-Juices
The main ingredient that gives you a flavorful experience as soon as you take a deep draw from your vape mod is its e-liquid or e-juice. Vape devices operate by heating this liquid, which is mainly made up of a mixture of vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. The percentage of VG and PG differs from one flavor to another, and it also depends on the consumers’ preference regarding the concentration of nicotine in their e-juices.
Coils and Heating
Each vaping device consists of a coil that is heated when the user presses the “fire” or “power” button. This heat-conducting coil is connected with a cotton wick, which helps in the production of thick vaporized clouds. Depending upon the voltage produced by your vape mod, you would have to keep on replacing the coil for optimum operation.
E-Cigarettes and Vape Pens
E-cigarettes and vape pens are usually considered the best options for novices who have never vaped before. These compact devices come in different configurations of coil and tank.
Vape Mods and Tanks
For vape aficionados, purchasing a heavy-duty vape mod is the only option, as it helps them optimally satiate their nicotine cravings. Vape mods are more complex compared to vape pens in terms of their configuration. The users have full control when it comes to choosing e-liquid and replacing coils. Vapers have to manually fill the tanks of vape mods every time they run out of e-juice.
Rebuildable (RBA) Coils
RBA, which stands for Re-buildable Atomizer, refers to a specific type of vape device that gives vape experts complete liberty to build up their mod from coil to organic cotton. You should also include RBA coils and accessories in your vape shop.
Consider the Startup Costs
From hiring SEO content experts to getting licenses for the related lawyers, there would be several costs that you would have to bear when starting an online vape shop.
When you sum up various costs associated with legalities and website operation you should have an estimate ranging from $7,420 to $10,020. This amount doesn’t cover the inventory cost, as that would depend upon the type of products you initially want to offer to your customers.
Some of the key products that you should list on your online vape store include the following:
- Replacement coils
- Battery chargers
- Drip tips
- Cotton and wire set
Regardless of the type of products you want to sell online, you’ll need to subscribe to Shopify to showcase your items in a cart to the website visitors. Shopify is an e-commerce platform that provides all-encompassing web design solutions to online retail sites. By paying the monthly subscription amount of $29, you would be getting all the eye-catching templates and payment gateways necessary to list your items. The drag-and-drop interface provided by Shopify is also something that has allowed it to remain at the top of the list, as it helps you run your e-business by establishing a dominant online presence.
Dropshipping is a famous business model these days, as it helps entrepreneurs with limited budgets to start serving their customers from the get-go. Dropshippers provide you the service of storing your products in their warehouse and transporting them to your customers by labeling your company’s name on the parcels.
What’s not to like about this business strategy? You don’t have to rent out a separate warehouse to store all the items and worry about the damages incurred by the shelf-life of each product. 3dcart has one of the best dropshipping options for people who want to sell vape mods and accessories online.
Branding: Graphics, Labeling, and SEO
With hundreds of e-shops offering vape products, you need to know how to stand out from the crowd and build up your unique brand identity.
You have to come up with a unique brand name, logo, and domain name. All of these branding aspects should reflect the soul and inspiration behind your brand, as the customers would first notice your company name or website URL before finding out what you offer.
You also need to hire SEO content experts that ensure that your website’s content is appealing to the readers. This way it would be easier to convert your visitors into potential customers in the long run. Even if you have listed high-quality vape mods on your website, it would be difficult for the viewers to make a buying decision if the product description doesn’t properly define the product.
Get Business Insurance
Once you have decided how your website should appear to the viewers and what products you would upload, you then need to plan about the business insurance policy.
For vape products, an insurance policy can cost a considerable amount of money, which would depend upon your sales forecast, the current value of your inventory, and the number of products in your stock.
Rather than hiring a general insurance expert, it is always better to contact someone who has specialized in the vaping niche. This would help you minimize the chances of facing financial losses in case of future liability or unforeseen events.
Because of the risk factor involved with the dealing of vape mods and e-liquids, it would be difficult for you to get funding approval from the major financial institutions in your city.
When starting a business from scratch you don’t have the credentials and statistics to prove your revenue generation. This is the reason it might be almost impossible to get a loan from a bank.
You would be left with few funding options like bootstrapping and getting loans from friends and close relatives. Before getting approval for bigger business loans you’ll have to gather resources from these financing options.
Leverage Social Media
Social media is inundated with vaping groups and communities so there is no reason not to utilize this to your advantage.
Despite the scope of social network platforms, you would not be able to use Facebook ads because the platform doesn’t allow the promotion of vape products. This doesn’t deter you from forming your company page and uploading your products there.
Once you have set up your Facebook business page, you can then post about your latest products in different groups. You should make a company page on famous platforms, especially Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit. You can also make a YouTube page and promote your products by giving out products to social media influencers.
Adhere to the FDA Rules
When it comes to the transaction of items related to smoking and vaping, you need to ensure that you are following all the FDA guidelines.
You would need to add an age verification popup page to ensure that everyone who visits your webpage is 21 years old or older than that. The age restriction can vary from one region to another; you would need to be aware of the criteria in your city.
Make sure to have a health warning on all products. Also, you would need to have a product description page for each item that explains the ingredients and manufacturer details.
Patience is the key when starting any business.
Rather than competing with other online vape stores, you should just focus on your small achievements. This would help you manage a desirable pace and start adding things to your store that appeal the most to your target audience. We hope by reading this article you were able to gain insights regarding how to start a vape shop online.
Make sure to focus on customer service and try adjusting your inventory according to the popular demand.