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3 Things To Consider Before Opening a Smoke Shop

You might have heard the saying, “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” 

But in the small business world, your path should actually begin with thorough research and planning before you take any concrete steps to launch your smoke shop. 

Opening a smoke shop is an exciting but daunting endeavor, and your success depends on clearly defined goals and a carefully crafted strategy. 

To help you set your business up for success, let’s take a look at the top three factors you need to consider before opening your smoke shop. 

1. Understand the Legal Landscape

The first step on your path to opening a smoke shop is to thoroughly understand the laws and regulations governing the tobacco industry. The federal and state governments tightly restrict smoke shop sales, so set aside time to research the laws that will apply to your small business. 

One of the most important laws to know is that selling any nicotine products to individuals under the age of 21 is illegal at the federal level. 

To protect your business and your community, you need to have a reliable process in place for verifying your customers’ ages. We recommend choosing a smoke shop point of sale (POS) system with built-in age verification to streamline checkout and make it easy for your cashiers to verify IDs before a sale. 

Along with this federal restriction, it’s crucial to be aware of any additional state laws surrounding smoke shop sales. Here are a few areas to research before opening your smoke shop: 

  • Licensing Requirements: Many states require businesses to obtain a special license permitting them to sell nicotine products. 
  • Marketing Restrictions: Most states regulate how tobacco-related businesses advertise and label their products. 
  • Reporting Requirements: Some states require you to maintain records of your sales to share with officials upon request. 

When it’s time to equip your smoke shop with tools like a POS system, make sure to choose solutions designed specifically for the tobacco industry to help you stay compliant with these laws. 

the ultimate guide to effective tobacco marketing

2. Size Up the Competition

Now it’s time to get inspired!

Visiting other smoke shops in your area is a key step on your journey to opening a smoke shop. This process will help you identify gaps in the market and come up with a plan to make your small business stand out from the competition

Here are some factors to consider as you conduct your market research and visit other local smoke shops: 

  • What types of tobacco products do they specialize in? 
  • What demographics do they seem to cater to?
  • What are their prices like? Do they provide affordable options, or do they offer luxury tobacco products for higher prices?
  • What is the shopping experience like in these smoke shops?

Take note of what your potential competitors do well — and where they could do better. 

3. Carve Out a Niche

Opening a smoke shop is an excellent way to share your passion for tobacco with fellow cigar, cigarette, and vape enthusiasts. 

To make sure you’re offering the best of the best to your customers, it’s essential to choose a niche that you’re enthusiastic about and that will be profitable. 

For example, your dream might be to curate a luxurious shopping experience, specialize in only the finest cigars and pipe tobacco, and provide your customers with expert guidance as they look for new products to love. Or instead, you might envision your business as a one-stop shop for all of your customers’ smoke shop needs, carrying everything from cigarettes to CBD

Your smoke shop’s product focus will inspire all of your business choices, from the layout of your store to the marketing strategy, so it’s critical to choose a specific niche and develop your vision. 

One important note is that if you’re hoping to get into the quickly growing but highly regulated market of CBD, delta-8, and kratom, you’ll need to take additional steps like learning the specific laws that apply to these products and obtaining high-risk payment processing for your business. 

High-risk payment processing for smoke shops guide

Crush Your Smoke Shop Goals With Cigars POS

Now that you’ve researched the legal landscape of the tobacco industry, evaluated your potential competitors, and identified a niche for your small business, you’re ready to start ironing out the details of opening your smoke shop. 

Successfully opening a smoke shop depends not only on thorough research and planning — but also on the right tools. 

Cigars POS is a POS solution designed to support small business owners just like you. Equipped with built-in age verification, intuitive inventory management features, a sales-boosting customer loyalty program, and helpful reporting and analytics, Cigars POS has everything you need to launch and grow a thriving smoke shop. 

See Cigars POS in action by scheduling a live demo, or use our build and price tool to create a custom POS system for your small business.

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.

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