Are you planning to open a smoke shop? Or maybe you’re running an existing tobacco shop or cigar lounge? One tech tool you will absolutely need to consider is a smoke shop POS.
Tobacco retailers and smoke shops face unique challenges that don’t affect other industries. Therefore, the POS system that they choose needs a specific feature set.
Which POS features are most important for smoke shops and tobacco outlets?
From age verification tools, to loyalty programs and scan data integration, a POS system for smoke shops needs to have these five features:
- Loyalty integration
- Tobacco scan data capabilities
- Inventory management
- Barcode scanning
- Age verification
We’re going to jump into each of these features and provide ways a smoke shop POS can help tobacco and vape businesses grow, stay compliant, and take control of their inventory. Here are must-have features in a tobacco shop POS systems:
1. Inventory Management with Ecommerce Integration
If your smoke shop is only a brick-and-mortar location, inventory management is a must. But if you’re planning to expand online, or you’re already selling online, an inventory tool that integrates with your ecommerce business is especially important.
Here’s a look at how inventory management tools help smoke shops improve:
- Get data on best-sellers, worst-sellers, and slow-movers
- Optimize your product mix to remove stock of slow-moving products to reduce spoilage
- Loss prevention (which is a big problem in smoke shops)
- Automate replenishment and set up low-stock alerts
- Gather information on seasonality and sales trends
Inventory management apps for cigar shops and tobacco stores not only help you value your inventory; they also include barcode scanning features and automation to help you avoid out-of-stocks in your smoke shop.
Why Do You Need Ecommerce Integration?
If you sell online or offer online ordering, you need a tool that will track inventory in real-time. This will ensure your inventory levels on your website match what you have on hand.
Additionally, this will help you gather sales data and have it fully synced with your transaction reports in your POS system.
2. Customer Loyalty Programming and Marketing Integrations
The best tobacco POS systems don’t just process transactions. They’re also powerful CRM platforms, where you manage customer data or launch a loyalty program. A POS with an integrated CRM tool provides you with helpful customer data, including:
- Demographic data – Who your customers are, where they live, age, etc.
- Customer preference data – What products they’re most likely to buy, purchase history, and what promotions work
- Marketing automations – Send email or SMS offers through your smoke shop’s POS system
- Segmenting customers – A robust CRM will allow you to segment your audience to offer more targeted promotions.
A CRM tool will also allow you to launch a rewards program. For smoke shops, loyalty programs can completely transform sales, generating more frequent visits, large average orders, and improved customer retention.
A POS loyalty tool like Loyal-n-Save allows you to connect with your customers through an app, and then communicate deals and promotions directly to your audience.
3. Customer Barcode Printers / Scanners
Tobacco retailers have complex inventory needs and generally manage thousands of SKUs, multiple variations, and specialty products. One POS feature that can help manage these inventory needs is barcode printing and scanning.
Printing custom barcodes for your specialty products offers many advantages. It helps you:
- Reduce manual pricing mistakes
- Speed up customer check out times
- Generate better, more granular inventory data
- Individually label specialty products with UPCs (allows for inventory scans and checkout scans)
In addition to barcode printing, the POS should integrate with handheld barcode scanners. Scanners make inventory counting easier, as the data they generate instantly syncs with your inventory database. This reduces manual data entry errors, and it improves the speed of inventory processes.
4. Security and Compliance Tools
In the area of security and compliance, there are two features your smoke shop needs: 1) POS age verification, and 2) Biometric Security / Permissions. Here’s a closer look at these two features:
Manually checking IDs leaves a smoke shop creates a compliance risk, and failing to catch a fake ID can result in steep fines and even a loss of license. A POS-based age verification system includes ID scanning tools, as well as online verification checks (if you’re an ecommerce shop). You can create an alert in your smoke shop POS to remind cashiers to check for IDs, too.
Controlling who can access a POS can help your business reduce theft and better manage who can access the cash drawer. One feature in FTx POS is biometric security; a fingerprint scan is required for an employee to access the register. Additionally, this creates staff accounts, so you can monitor a cashier’s transaction history.
From our research, this can significantly reduce theft, as employees are dissuaded from providing unauthorized discounts to friends or failing to ring in cash sales.
5. Tobacco Scan Data Integration
Smoke shop owners and tobacco industry veterans know about tobacco scan data, and the reporting requirements for Altria, RJ Reynolds, and ITG. These so-called scan data programs offer specialized incentives to smoke shops and retailers.
For a smoke shop, scan data can help you boost revenue. For example, you can pass incentives on to customers, who in turn are more likely to frequent your smoke shop. Ultimately, you should only consider a POS with tobacco scan data reporting.
These systems automatically generate sales reports (formatted for scan data manufacturers) so that you can share transaction-level data with them.
>> Read our Case Study: How Smokers Choice Grew Revenue by 400% with Scan Data.
What Type of Scan Data Is Required?
The Altria program is one of the most popular. To participate, you’re required to share key details like:
- Management Account Number
- ON / Loyalty UPC
- Altria Loyalty codes
- Customer ID information
The required customer ID information can be pulled from the customer IDs that you scan into your POS during the checkout process—either a driver’s license or state issued non-driver’s ID. This security measure protects both retailers and manufacturers because it ensures that sales staff does not sell tobacco products to under-aged customers.
6. Credit Card Processing (BONUS)
Another must-have feature: Integrated payments. A POS provider can provide you special smoke shop credit card processing rates. This is because you likely have a relationship with your POS company. Therefore, they’re less likely to see you as high-risk.
As a result, your POS provider will likely offer better rates on payment processing. With FTx POS, for example, we regularly save our vape shop, tobacco outlet and smoke shop retailers thousands each year on credit card processing. Contact us today for a quote.
Smoke Shop POS Features from FTx POS
FTx POS has served tobacco businesses and retailers for more than a decade. We understand the unique needs that smoke shops have, and we’ve developed a POS platform that meets those needs. In addition to the above features, our signature retail POS system includes:
- Digital signage – Create and display revenue-driving digital ads
- Up-selling tools – Use Uplift to generate more impulse buys (20% of customers on average)
- Credit card processing – We offer some of the best payment processing rates in the industry.
Take your smoke shop to the next level with advanced POS tools. Contact our team today for a demo or to learn more about our award-winning POS system for the tobacco industry.