6 Steps To Create A Vape Store Website
August 11, 2020 | Merchants | Guest Post
By Jimmy Rodriguez, COO & Co-founder, 3dcart –
The vaping and e-cig market is expected to increase in popularity by 20% over the coming year, with some of the more popular brands seeing sales explode by as much as 7,000%, vaping is a promising niche to pursue. Moreover, taking your vape store online can be achieved with minimal overhead.
If you’re interested in getting involved with the vaping market but don’t know where to start, we’re here to help with our simple guide to creating a vape store website.
1. Choose a Domain Name
Your online store will need a domain name. Yes, some store platforms will allow you to have a sub-domain on their platform, but it is hard to market a store like that. Shoppers are used to seeing custom domain names and will think of your site as “cheap” or “untrustworthy,” if you don’t have a domain name tailored to your business. Say you start your site with one store provider and manage to build up a good reputation and steady traffic using their name in the web address. In the future, if you need to switch ecommerce platforms, you will lose all of that traffic and brand recognition because the website address will change.
Choose your domain name carefully. If you’re selling to one specific country, consider choosing their top-level domain. For example, use “.co.uk” if you are operating in England or “.de” if you are selling to people in Germany. If you’re planning on selling internationally, consider the trusty “.com” suffix or one of the other well-known top-level domains such as “.net.”
Make sure that the domain name makes sense and is easy to remember. Keep it short and snappy. Having a single hyphen in the domain name isn’t too much of a problem. But having a long, complicated, and hard to remember domain name might result in a loss of potential traffic.
Try to pick something that is easy to remember and clearly about vape, but not too specific. For instance, you might make money selling inexpensive Juuls today, but if another brand becomes popular tomorrow, rebranding your Juul-focused domain name would be harder than marketing something more general.
2. Choose an eCommerce Platform
Once you have a domain name, you’ll need to set up a functional shop. Many store owners choose Shopify because it is well-known, easy to use, and has brand recognition. Unfortunately, vape-related products are one of several items banned by Shopify. So, if you want to sell vape products on your online store you will need to find another eCommerce platform.
If you have technical expertise and can configure hosting and program parts of the website on your own, you can use Magento or WooCommerce. If you want something that is similar to Shopify, where the eCommerce platform provider manages all of the technical parts for you so you can focus on running the store, then you will need to find another Software as a Service provider like 3dcart. Check out this list of Shopify alternatives and consider which one is likely to suit you best.
3. Design the Website and Brand Pages
First impressions count when it comes to turning visitors into customers. Make sure that your website looks clean and professional. It also should go without saying that the site needs to perform well. If you don’t have good graphic design or website coding skills, consider using a pre-made theme. There are some great vape website templates out there that can serve as a starting point for your design.
In addition to the website, you should consider setting up some social media pages. Invest in a high-quality logo and some header graphics that you can use to start building your brand. Sites such as Fiverr make it easy to buy quality logos and images, so you’ll have a professional-looking brand in no time.
4. Add an Age Verification Feature
There are strict vape merchant rules and regulations about selling vape products online. The rules vary depending on the country you are selling to and the type of product. Examples include a novel nicotine product, something containing CBD, or a product containing THC. It’s crucial that you operate your site in accordance with the laws of the country you are shipping to.
To start, use age-verification that will prevent minors from visiting your site and block them from purchasing items that they are not old enough to own. Choose a trusted age-verification provider and make sure the feature works as you expect. If you’re not sure about the rules regarding sales of certain varieties of products in a foreign country, it’s best to simply avoid selling to that country until you can research the regulations properly. Don’t risk your brand and the fruits of the work you have put in for the potential of selling a few extra products abroad. Research the rules carefully and sell only when you know that you’re operating within the realms of the law.
5. Set Up Your Shipping Methods and Tax Calculations
One of the handy aspects of the vape space is that most of the products you sell are fairly small and light. As a result, shipping expenses should be minimal. You may, however, have to pay special consideration to products with batteries to ensure you are compliant with any regulations while sending those products abroad.
Remember that there are sales taxes in certain areas and there may be import taxes too. If you’re shipping internationally, choose your couriers carefully or offer a choice of courier. This will allow your customers to decide whether they want to pay customs fees themselves or have the courier cover them and then be invoiced by the courier at a later date. Speed, delivery methods, and tracking are all features that some customers have strong opinions about. So try to be flexible and keep them happy.
If you’re dropshipping, make sure you know how quickly the products will arrive. Advertise delivery times clearly on your website so that customers know what to expect. Letting a customer down with slow delivery times is a sure-fire way to alienate them and lose their business.
Many online store platforms have built-in tools for calculating shipping costs and taxes, which can help you set those things accurately for each product. Make sure that these tools are set up properly so that all applicable taxes are taken into account. Overlooking taxes may lead to an unwelcomed surprise bill at the end of the year.
6. Set Up a Payment Processing Account
Of course, your online store is useful only if people can buy from it. This means you need to be able to accept payments. Vape-related products are classified as high risk, so many of the mainstream payment processors are reluctant to accept store owners who sell such products. Vape stores see higher rates of chargebacks, reversals, and fraud compared to many other businesses. Not all payment processors or even business bank accounts are willing to accept the risk of dealing with those factors.
You should find a high-risk payment provider. With PayKings as a high-risk merchant account, you can accept payments for vapes and related smoking paraphernalia without fear of your account being shut down. PayKings has protections in place to help reduce the likelihood of fraud and can help keep your payments coming through smoothly.
You should have your own requirements for ensuring that a customer is legitimate – such as verifying their address, shipping only to the address that matches the card, and perhaps limiting order sizes for new customers. You can discuss the precautions that you wish to take with your payment processor as a part of the process of setting up an account.
Once Your Store is Up and Running
When you have your store up and running, you need to market it. Be consistent and patient with your marketing efforts. It will take time for organic SEO work to achieve results. It may take a while to build up a following on social media too. Paid search ads and social media ads can get results for you, but they will need extensive keyword research and careful experimentation.
Don’t worry if you don’t see the results you want in the first month or two. Keep testing and tweaking new promotions, ads, and landing pages. Look at your site’s analytics to see where you are losing customers and keep working at it. As the months go by, you will figure out what works and then sales should start pouring in. Consider running an affiliate program or a refer a friend program to get those initial happy customers to spread the word among their friends and family. This, in turn, can boost your sales figures even more as time goes on.
Author: Jimmy Rodriguez
COO & Co-founder of 3dcart, a leading shopping cart software. As an ecommerce authority, he’s focused on helping internet retailers succeed online by developing strategies, actionable plans, and customer experiences that grow and improve performance.
August 11, 2020 | Merchants | Guest Post