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High-Risk POS for Vape: 3 Top Smoke Shop Providers

From 2020 to 2022, the number of vape and e-cigarette brands increased by 46.2%. Monthly unit sales also increased by 46.6%. 

There’s no denying it; if you’re considering opening a vape shop, now is the time. But you need the right tools to open and run your store successfully. And a point of sale (POS) system should be your first investment. 

However, finding a POS provider that offers high-risk processing and can support the sale of specific products isn’t easy. Without the right POS system, you could end up in deep water — possibly even lose your license. So, finding a high-risk POS is crucial.

Read on as we break down why you need a high-risk POS provider, what features to look for, and how to choose from three top providers.


Why Do You Need a High-Risk POS for Vape Stores?

Running a smoke shop comes with unique challenges. Many retail stores don’t have the same worries you do — so finding a vape shop POS system is essential. 

In the eyes of POS and payment processing providers, you’ll often find your store categorized as a high-risk business because of your association with age-restricted products, evolving regulations, higher probability of chargebacks, and potential health concerns.

High-risk payment processing is designed to mitigate the elevated risk associated with transactions in your industry. Still, not all POS providers are willing to take the risk.

A high-risk POS system helps manage transactions securely. It also ensures compliance with age verification regulations, ultimately providing vape store owners with the necessary tools to navigate the challenges unique to their industry.

Another one of your significant worries is age verification. Due to the age-restricted products you sell, your age verification process must be airtight.

Beyond the legal side, your smoke shop also has complex inventory needs — you can carry hundreds of products and SKUs between different mods, e-liquids, atomizers, and accessories. Keeping track of your stock will be difficult without an industry-specific POS system.

Related Read: Smoke Shop Inventory: 5 Tobacco Products To Stock

Last, it’s not unusual for smoke shops to deal with high volumes of cash transactions — making security and loss prevention major concerns your POS system should help manage. Data security issues also come into play when recording driver’s license information for age verification.

The last thing you need is a POS system that leaves you open to fines, theft, and regulatory issues. You also don’t want to get stuck using a generic retail POS that can’t handle your vape shop’s complexity and regulatory requirements.

That’s why finding a POS provider who understands the vape industry and is willing to work with high-risk businesses is critically important yet challenging.


Features of a Robust High-Risk POS for Vape Shops

Now you know why you need a vape shop POS provider willing to work with high-risk businesses; but which features should you look for?

High-Risk Payment Processing

The big one! This might be the most critical feature of a high-risk POS for vape shops. Payment processing happens after you process a transaction — it’s how you get paid. Does the POS provider you’re considering partner with a high-risk payment processor? If not, you could face problems down the line.

Suppose a POS provider promises your POS system is designed with your smoke shop in mind. In that case, they should have their own payment processing partner that handles high-risk transactions or let you integrate any third-party merchant processor into your POS system.


Age Verification Compliance

First and foremost, unbeatable age verification features are a must. Scanning customer IDs and capturing date of birth is a great start — scanning also helps verify whether an ID is fake, unlike manually plugging in a date of birth. Top POS systems also keep a database of underage customers to prevent repeat violations. 

Reporting tools should alert you of compliance gaps and encourage you to act.

Customized Smoke Shop Inventory Management

The vape industry is young — new products are hitting the market all the time — so whether you’re stocking kratom, CBD, delta-8, or e-cigarettes, you need a POS system that tracks unlimited products and variations. 

Accurate inventory counts are also critical for keeping hot-selling items stocked while minimizing write-offs of dead stock. The best POS solutions integrate with suppliers for automatic reordering when stock runs low.


Cloud-Based and Mobile

With cloud-based POS systems, you can manage your store from pretty much anywhere with an internet connection (though your provider should offer an offline feature that allows your POS to work when the internet is down). 

Other benefits of cloud-based technology include managing inventory on the go, automatic updates for new features and compliance protocols, and simple setup.

Other features to look out for:

  • Security features like cloud-based monitoring and in-store cameras to deter theft.
  • Integrated customer loyalty programs to provide the best possible service to your repeat vape customers.
  • Employee management features, including managing POS permissions, identifying top performers, and tracking hours.

Related Read: 10 Must-Have Tobacco Software Features

Evaluating Top Providers

Once you know the must-have POS features for vape shops, how do you pick the right provider? Here are some of the most important criteria to consider:

  • Specialized vape industry experience: Do they understand your business and regulatory needs? Or are they a generic POS provider?
  • Ongoing compliance monitoring: Do they stay on top of changing regulations to update age verification and reporting tools?
  • Customer support: Is 24/7 assistance available by phone, email, and remote access? Can they troubleshoot quickly if issues arise?
  • Scalability: Can the POS easily add new locations and users? Does it integrate with other tools you rely on?
  • Pricing: Are pricing tiers complex? Make sure hardware costs are minimal with cloud-based devices, or included in the subscription.

With the features and criteria in mind, let’s look at three top providers.

#1: Cigars POS

Cigars POS is a specialized point of sale solution designed for tobacco, smoke, and cigar shops, offering comprehensive features to modernize and streamline your business. 

Features include carton-pack inventory management, store performance analytics, customer loyalty features, age verification, custom label printing, scan data reporting, and more. 

Related: How To Keep Track of Smoke Shop Inventory: 8 Tools & Tips

We aim to simplify processes, increase revenue, and reduce costs for smoke shop owners — and we offer high-risk processing for CBD, kratom, delta-8, and other vape shop products. We provide 24/7 technical support, so you’re never left to solve issues alone.

Pricing: Use our Build and Price feature to create your custom setup.

Customer review: “One of my favorite aspects of working with Cigars POS is customer service. They’ve been very helpful and supportive in helping us get better with our software.” - Cigars POS user


#2: POS Nation

POS Nation provides a point of sale solution tailored specifically for tobacco shops. Trusted by over 10,000 customers, the system includes software, hardware, training, 24/7 support, and payment processing. 

POS software includes features specific to tobacco stores, such as carton-pack inventory management — so you can track items no matter how they’re packaged — age verification, sales data reports, and retail shrinkage reduction.

Pricing: POS Nation offers flexibility with different pricing plans, including a Flex Monthly option, a Freedom plan with a hardware bundle, and a Custom Build option for tailored solutions. Bonus: No long-term contracts.

Customer review: “POS Nation support is amazing at taking care of your issue while showing you how to fix it yourself in the future. As someone who wants to fix everything possible without having to call support, this is an invaluable aspect of the customer service their team provides.” - POS Nation user


#3: Lightspeed Retail

Lightspeed offers a comprehensive solution for vape shops, providing a one-stop commerce platform to manage inventory, operations, staff, and customer relationships. With features like intuitive product imports, variant tracking, and inventory counts.

The Lightspeed Retail POS ensures that vape shops always have the right products in stock. The system includes compliance features, fast checkout options, and a loyalty program integration.

You can sell both in-store and online, offering flexibility and convenience. The built-in reporting tools provide meaningful insights into sales, inventory, and employee performance.

Pricing: The Lean plan starts at $69/mo, but if you want e-commerce capabilities, customer loyalty, and advanced reporting, prices start at $199/mo.

Customer review: “I now have Lightspeed in two of the retail establishments I manage. The ease of getting started is incredible. It’s easy to learn, easy to use, and easy to train your staff on. It’s very robust and versatile, suitable for any retail type business.” - Lightspeed POS user


Choosing the Best High-Risk POS for Vape Stores

Finding a high-risk POS for vape shops isn’t easy. Choosing an established yet generic retail POS provider can be tempting, but can they give you the features you need to run your vape shop? 

There’s a lot to consider with payment processing, regulatory burdens, complicated inventory management, and security concerns. Choosing the wrong system can leave you struggling with:

  • Costly fines or suspended licenses for selling to minors
  • Inaccurate inventory tracking leading to lost revenue
  • Higher risk of shoplifting and employee theft without proper security
  • Lost sales from declined credit card transactions

You can’t afford to gamble on a POS system not purpose-built for the vape industry.

At Cigars POS, we pride ourselves on helping vape, cigar, and smoke shop owners thrive. Our POS system has the features you need to set your smoke shop up for increased profits, faster checkout, and streamlined business operations.

But don’t take our word for it. Why not see it in action? Schedule a demo with our smoke shop experts today!

About Cigars POS

Cigars POS offers the ideal solution for tobacco, cigar, and pipe shop owners.No complex integrations, no contracts, no waiting on hold to talk to service reps who can't help you.

Find out how much your dream POS system will cost you - you might be surprised.

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