Starting a Vape Shop? 9 Things You’ll Need to Consider
If you’re thinking of starting a vape shop, several things need to be addressed before the store can open. It’s not an easy task, and these nine aspects will help your business in the future.
#1 Prepare a Business Plan
If you’re starting a vape shop, take the time to create and write up your business plan. This will help you assess what goals are essential for your company and serve as a practical guide after it’s opened.
Don’t worry. An MBA credential isn’t needed to come up with a great business plan. There are many templates available online for your convenience.
#2 Familiarize Yourself with Local Regulations
One significant difference between vape shops and traditional retail businesses is licenses. In general, laws around tobacco also apply to vaping products, but each state has its regulations on these stores and some localities within states. Consulting with your authorities can help you know what licenses are needed before opening a store.
#3 Choose a Location
One of the most critical factors for any retail business is location. The vaping industry has been booming, so it’s imperative to find a space with high traffic and visibility that offers parking near your storefront.
Vaping has become a more mainstream product, and now gas stations and convenience stores are getting in on the action. You may have to compete with them for commercial real estate as well.
#4 Assess Startup Costs
Starting a vape shop can be an expensive undertaking. One should account for the following expenses before opening their doors:
- Renting a storefront
- The cost of licenses and permits
- Initial inventory
- Enrolling in a business insurance plan
- Equipment for running your business (retail shelves, counter space, and POS system)
- Payroll and tax costs
#5 Find Reliable Suppliers and Order Inventory
When it comes to finding a supplier, there are many things you should consider. An excellent place to start is by looking online or asking around at your favorite vape shops about reputable suppliers that carry the products you sell.
Though your business serves a niche community, the goal is for your shop’s offerings to appeal as broadly as possible, so do some market research and ask around about what vapers are looking for in vape shops today.
When you first start selling e-cigarettes, it is crucial to offer at least one type of rechargeable e-cigarette or starter kit. For more experienced vapers, many kits should be provided that allow for customization, and a variety of liquids should also be available.
#6 Choose a Vape-friendly POS System
A sound retail POS system is vital for starting a vape shop. This will make it easier for customers to check out and allow you to capture customer information more efficiently and manage inventory better.
#7 Build a Smokin’ Social Media Presence
When running a vape store, social media is not vital for driving traffic and building a solid brand. Social media will also be critical in the community you’ll produce since search engines don’t allow vape stores to create ads.
To have the most effective social media strategy, you need to assess which platforms are best for your business.
#8 Prioritize Customer Service and Hire the Right Employees
Along the way, you may need help managing and running a vape shop. If so, the right employees will be essential to have on board. A typical vape shop employee earns an average of $13 per hour in the U.S., but this number varies by state law because minimum wage laws are different in each area.
Meanwhile, your customer service strategy should be multifaceted, provide advice and product recommendations that meet the needs of your customers, as well as deliver excellent customer service consistently.
You also have to know about all the flavor and nicotine combinations available.
If you’re interested in customer service and management, start by creating policies that make sense for your business. Here are some questions to get you started:
- How will the employees of your store interact with customers?
- How will you handle the situation when customers request a return or exchange?
- How will you deal with unhappy customers?
- How much does your company do to provide a complete shopping experience for customers?
- What is your plan to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty?
Once you have a good idea of answering these questions, make sure to put your policies in writing and train staff accordingly. Employees must know the right way to handle customer service situations to be prepared for anything. Regularly revisiting these discussions with your team will help them develop the skills necessary for handling any case.
#9 Create a Welcoming Atmosphere
The store atmosphere is a significant way to differentiate yourself from the competition. This means cultivating an environment that encourages customers to stay in your shop for longer periods and spend more money on products while they are there. To help you achieve this goal, consider adding these elements:
- Comfortable couches and chairs
- Television and music
- Outside seating area (if you have one)
The takeaway is that when customers have several competing vape shops to choose from, they will naturally drift towards the one with the most inviting atmosphere. A welcoming environment can be created by simply making your store more appealing and having better customer service than other stores in town.
Final Thoughts on Starting a Vape Shop
Now you know how to open a vape shop. Considering the points listed above will help you start your own vape business and build a loyal customer base.