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

Are you struggling to keep track of your smoke shop inventory

You need to ensure that you have the right products in stock to meet customer demand while avoiding overstocking and wastage. It can all start to feel a little like walking a tightrope without a safety net!

Imagine it's a busy Saturday afternoon, and your smoke shop is packed with customers. You're trying to keep up with the rush while also monitoring your inventory levels. Suddenly, a customer asks for a specific type of cigarette, but you realize you're out of stock. 

You quickly check your retail inventory management system, but can't find any records of the product being ordered or delivered. You frantically search through your storage room, but still can't find the product. 

The customer ultimately leaves empty-handed — losing you the sale that day and their future business after their frustrating experience with your store. 

Smoke shop inventory can be a minefield, but it doesn’t have to be! In this post, we'll share eight tools and tips to help you optimize your inventory management process, improve your bottom line, and keep your customers smiling and coming back for more. 

Smoke Shop Inventory Basics

Before we get into the details of how you can track your smoke shop inventory, let’s talk a bit about why tracking inventory for your shop is so important. 

Accurate inventory monitoring helps ensure you always have the right products in stock to meet customer demand. When you nail your inventory processes, you can avoid running out of popular items and prevent overstocking poor sellers. 

Related Read: How Profitable Is a Smoke Shop?

Your inventory data can also give you insights that will help you make decisions about ordering, pricing, promotions, and more. But this is all true for any store. What makes inventory so vital for smoke shops in particular?

Smoke shops face some unique challenges related to inventory management. 

First, tobacco licenses and regulations can vary from state to state, but regardless of where your store is, some of your products will have age restrictions or limitations on quantities that can be sold. These regulations add complexity to sales tracking and your checkout processes. 

Smoke shops often carry many products, including tobacco, e-cigarettes, vaping liquids, accessories, and more. Managing such diverse inventory requires careful organization and monitoring to avoid errors or shrinkage due to theft or expiring products.

Failing to efficiently track your inventory can have several consequences for your smoke shop. One major consequence is running out of stock. Running out of popular items frequently can lead to dissatisfied customers who may choose to shop elsewhere. 

On the other hand, overstocking can tie up your capital in slow-moving inventory, making investing in new products or expanding your business challenging. Inefficient inventory management can also lead to increased costs due to the need for emergency restocking, excess storage space, or potential losses from expired or damaged products. 

Ultimately, poor inventory management can damage your reputation and your bottom line. 

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1. Separate Products Into Categories

Your first step in keeping track of smoke shop inventory is to separate your products into categories. Start by categorizing your tobacco products and smoking accessories based on their types, such as cigars, cigarettes, pipes, vaporizers, rolling papers, and lighters. 

Within each category, create subcategories based on attributes like brand, size, flavor, and price. Consistent labeling and organization will make it easier for you and your staff to locate and track inventory, ensuring efficient management and restocking.

Pro Tip: E-liquids are perishable — stay on top of inventory to reduce the risk of spoilage.

2. Analyze Sales Data

Tracking inventory is about more than simply keeping an eye on the numbers — to get the most from your inventory management processes, you need to analyze your sales data and use it in key decision-making processes.

Identify products with high turnover rates to ensure you always have enough stock on hand. Conversely, identify products with low turnover rates to avoid overstocking those slow-moving products. You won’t want to manage this data all by hand, so investing in a point of sale system (POS) capable of helping you track sales data, monitor inventory levels, and forecast demand is important. 

Related Read: Your Point of Sale Data Is a Goldmine. Here's How To Make the Most of It

By analyzing sales trends over time, you can adjust your inventory mix, introduce new products, or plan promotions and discounts strategically to optimize sales and inventory management.

3. Nurture Supplier Relationships

Building strong relationships with your suppliers is vital for effective inventory management in your smoke shop. Strong supply relationships can help ensure timely and accurate deliveries, which are vital if you want to prevent your store from running out of stock. You can also negotiate better terms and prices when you have better relationships with your suppliers, helping you maximize your profit margins.

You engage in strong vendor management and nurture these relationships by communicating regularly and closely monitoring their performance. Consider factors like quality, delivery times, and service, and ensure both parties are satisfied with the relationship. 

Pro Tip: Use your point of sale solution to gain full visibility into vendors and purchase orders and increase efficiency by automating ordering and receiving for your store. 

4. Train Your Staff

Without properly trained staff, you’ll have trouble maintaining accurate inventory records. Take the time to set strong practices and procedures related to inventory management, then train your staff on the ins and outs of those processes. This training should include details of how to use your inventory management software or point of sale system effectively. 

You’ll also want to assign each staff member specific responsibilities related to inventory management. Giving your staff ownership over a portion of inventory management helps ensure accountability and accuracy. 

Encourage your staff to communicate any inventory issues or concerns to management promptly, fostering a collaborative approach to inventory management.

5. Invest In the Right Tools

Finally, if you want to keep track of smoke shop inventory without tearing your hair out, you’ll need to invest in the right tools. Some tools you’ll want to consider include:

  • Barcode scanner: Improve accuracy by using a barcode scanner for counts, rather than relying on manual data entry.
  • Data analytics tool: Identify trends and patterns in sales data and make better ordering decisions for your store. 
  • Inventory management software: Track inventory levels, sales data, and supplier information. 

You can package all these necessary tools together by getting an all-in-one point of sale solution. With a modern POS system, you can manage inventory, checkout, and employee data all in one place. Let’s take a look at a few top providers for smoke shops.
Tobacco POS Buyers' Guide

POS Nation:

POS Nation’s cloud-based point of sale solution is designed to streamline operations for your store. POS Nation works with a wide variety of retailers, including grocery stores, liquor stores, and general retail, in addition to tobacco and smoke shops. 

Key Features for Smoke Shops:

  • Scan data reporting
  • Carton-pack inventory management
  • Built-in age verification features
  • Robust sales reporting

Pricing: POS Nation offers custom-priced solutions tailored to your store. You can use their pricing tool to see your personalized quote.  

Cigars POS:

Cigars POS is designed specifically for cigar and smoke shops. We know the challenges smoke shop owners face when it comes to inventory. You have a huge variety of products and unique regulations to follow. We built our solution to give you all the gestures and functionality a smoke shop owner needs to run their store efficiently and effectively. 

Key Features for Smoke Shops:

  • Scan data reporting to track manufacturer discounts 
  • Age verification features
  • Cameras, surveillance, and other security features
  • Custom label printing for unique bundles and sales
  • Carton-pack inventory management
  • Customer loyalty features
  • 24/7 technical support

Pricing: Create the perfect solution for your store using our build and price tool! 

Lightspeed:

Lightspeed specializes in retail, but also offers solutions for restaurants and golf courses. Their solution is on the pricier side and may work better for larger stores or operations with more than one location. They also offer solutions specifically tailored to vape shops, so if your store specializes in vape or CBD products rather than tobacco, you may want to give Lightspeed a second look. 

Key Features for Smoke Shops:

  • ID verification through BlueCheck
  • Large product catalog
  • Partial inventory count features

Pricing: Lightspeed’s standard pricing package is $119 per month, but you can explore lower pricing packages with fewer features down to $69 per month. 

Track Smoke Shop Inventory With Ease

Tracking smoke shop inventory is essential if you want your store to succeed. However, to really get your store off the ground, you need to do more than simply track your inventory — you need to leverage sales data and inventory systems to optimize your ordering processes and streamline your business.

Cigars POS offers a sophisticated point of sale solution designed specifically for smoke shops like yours. 

Our inventory management suite offers store performance analytics, carton-pack inventory management features, customer loyalty programs, and more.

Request a demo of our software today to see if Cigars POS is the right solution for your store! 

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Spence Hoffman
Spence Hoffman Spence Hoffman has 15 years of experience in the point of sale industry. Currently, he serves as the VP of Product at POS Nation. He holds an MBA from Appalachian State University and has three children. Outside of work, Spence is passionate about playing the guitar and enjoys traveling with his family.

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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