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How To Sell Vape In 2023: Your Online & Retail Guide

Finding an eCommerce platform and POS system to sell vape can be a challenge. Here are four options that support sales of vape and vaping products.

    Kate Hoots
  • UPDATED

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

Selling vape can be a tricky business. Between federal regulations specific to vape products and the added difficulties associated with any high-risk sales, you may be wondering if selling vape online or in person is a good business to get into.

Vape can be profitable, however, if you’re willing to put in the time to make sure your vape shop operates according to the rules. After all, you’ll find an eager customer base, with 13% of Americans aged 18-49 saying they vaped in 2022 and global vaping sales expected to top $40 billion this year.

What’s the best way to reach these potential customers?

In this post, we’ll walk you through four of the best online platforms for selling vape (spoiler: Lightspeed Retail POS is our top pick as one of the best POS systems out there), discuss how to sell vape online, and touch on the legal requirements for selling e-liquid so you’re ready to set up your online store, sell in person if you’d like, and capitalize on this growing market.

Legal Requirements To Sell E-Liquids

As of June 2022, the FDA officially banned the sale of Juul e-cigarettes in the US. However, this ruling currently is under an agency review process, and Juul products still are available online and in stores.

Because tobacco products are federally regulated, opening a vape shop in person or online requires a little more planning and care than any other type of store. Before you start to sell vape, you need to make sure you’re in compliance with all federal and state laws, including tax laws and shipping restrictions.

The FDA provides extensive resources to help you learn how to sell vape online legally. Be aware that vape products can be considered “tobacco products” and may be subject to regulations even if they do not contain any tobacco. We suggest you read through the FDA’s list of frequently asked questions about selling tobacco products to familiarize yourself with the legal requirements for selling e-liquid.

It’s important to note that, in some circumstances, vape shops can be considered both retailers and manufacturers. If your business plan involves mixing e-liquids or making or modifying vaporizers, you may be subject to manufacturer regulations in addition to retailer requirements.

Above all, when you’re selling age-restricted products online, you must make sure your buyers are legally allowed to make purchases, even for online sales. Fortunately, there are tools available, like the FDA’s age calculator and other free apps, that can help you stay in compliance. It’s smart to start with the FDA’s tobacco retailer training program, which you can download and review online.

Finally, if your plans for selling vape online include sales of JUUL products, you’ll need to comply with special efforts to combat underage use of those products. Every transaction that involves JUUL products must comply with automated electronic age verification and bulk-purchasing limits outlined in the Retail Access Control Standards (RACS) Program.

Fortunately, the platforms we will cover in this post include tools that will help you comply with these regulations and help you learn how to sell vape online the right way.

Shipping Vape Products

In 2021, restrictions that limit shipping options for vape went into effect. Designed to protect young people from the long-term health effects of using tobacco products, the updated PACT Act puts new requirements and restrictions on tobacco and tobacco-product sellers. These include:

  • Compliance With State, Local, & Tribal Laws Involving Excise Taxes
  • Registration With The Bureau Of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms
  • A Postal Ban On Shipping Vapes

What does this postal ban mean for vape sellers? As of October 2021, the US Postal Service is banned from transporting vapes and other smokeless tobacco products. Other prominent carriers, including UPS and FedEx, have followed suit and announced that they will end shipping for vaping devices and component parts. This is true even of vaping products that do not contain tobacco.

This ban applies also to hybrid services that rely on USPS for last-mile delivery. That means your vape shipments may not be as easy to ship as you’d like — but it’s definitely still possible to sell vape online and ship to customers. You may need to comply with additional shipping requirements, such as shipping only in original packaging, using two boxes for every shipment, and providing internal cushioning.

Look for integrations with shipping software like ShipStation and Easyship that have recognized these difficulties and have committed to supporting online vape sales by partnering with regional carriers that will deliver vape products to your customers.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Lightspeed Retail POS

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  • $0-$99/month
  • Built-in payment processor
  • RACS compliant
  • $0-$99/month
  • Built-in payment processor
  • RACS compliant

Visit Site

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Shift4Shop

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  • $0-$1,999/month
  • High-risk payment processor built in
  • Subscriptions and dropshipping
  • $0-$1,999/month
  • High-risk payment processor built in
  • Subscriptions and dropshipping

Start Trial

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BigCommerce

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  • $29.95-$299.95/month
  • Choice of high-risk processors
  • Strong built-in features for online sales
  • $29.95-$299.95/month
  • Choice of high-risk processors
  • Strong built-in features for online sales

Start Trial

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Franpos

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  • Starting at $199/month
  • High-risk payment processing
  • Delivery integrations
  • Starting at $199/month
  • High-risk payment processing
  • Delivery integrations

Visit Site

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

The 4 Best Platforms To Sell Vape Products

The best platforms that enable you to sell vape online and in person include Lightspeed, Shift4Shop, BigCommerce, and Franpos. These systems have the tools you need to stay compliant with legal requirements and grow your shop.

1. Lightspeed: Best For Selling Vape Online & In-Person

Lightspeed Retail POS


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Pricing

Starts at $89/month ($69/month billed annually)

Contract

None

Equipment Cost

Contact Lightspeed for a quote

Pros

  • 14-day free trial
  • Built-in compliance tools
  • Linked payment processing system supports high-risk

Cons

  • No free plan
  • High monthly cost
  • Limited payment processing options

lightspeed for selling vape

Why We Chose Lightspeed For Selling Vape

While some platforms allow users to sell vape online, Lightspeed actively courts and supports these sellers. Even better, Lightspeed Retail comes with a built-in payment processing system that supports high-risk product sales like vape.

With built-in support for the regulatory and legal needs of vape sales, Lightspeed is well-equipped to support online vape sellers and would be a good choice for new vape businesses that could use that kind of support.

Lightspeed Pricing

Lightspeed offers five levels of eCommerce service, with prices ranging from $0-$99/month. Note that if you want to use Lightspeed POS to handle in-person sales, you will need to subscribe to a paid plan.

Discounts are available if you pay for a year of service at a time. New users can take advantage of a generous free trial period to test out the software.

Lightspeed Features For Selling Vape

Best known for its POS services, Lightspeed also offers a platform for online selling. Lightspeed specifically supports selling vape products online, with these features on paid plans:

  • In-person and online sales, with stock sync and cloud-based POS
  • Built-in RACS compliance for JUUL sales
  • Programmable register rules for age and quantity restrictions
  • Customer profiles and purchase histories
  • Special orders
  • Loyalty program
  • Wishlists
  • Gift cards (plastic, paper, or electronic)
  • Shipping tools and integrations
  • Automated tax calculations
  • One-tap checkout with Apple Pay
  • Inventory tracking
  • Social media integrations
  • SEO tools to drive traffic
  • Multiple languages
  • Subscriptions
  • Vape-friendly payment processors and integrations

Payment Processing

Lightspeed POS is the obvious choice for processing payments on a Lightspeed eCommerce vape store. While some other options, like PayPal, are available in the app store, they're not generally available when you're selling products that, like vape, are considered high-risk businesses.

Fortunately, Lightspeed supports selling vape, both online and in person.

Get Started With Lightspeed Retail POS

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

2. Shift4Shop: Best For Selling Vape Subscriptions

Shift4Shop


Start Trial


Pros

  • Free plan
  • Dropshipping options
  • Free themes
  • Options for high-risk payment processing

Cons

  • Sales limits on plans
  • Free plan not suitable for all sellers

Shift4Shop sell vape pens

Why We Chose Shift4Shop For Selling Vape

When you build your online vape store using Shift4Shop as your platform, you gain access to an easy way to build subscription and recurring sales. Shift4Shop supports secure automatic billing and robust customer loyalty program tools.

By making it easy to hold on to customers and build repeat business, Shift4Shop brings your vape business one step closer to ongoing success.

Shift4Shop Pricing

Shift4Shop offers a robust free plan that requires users to process payments with the in-house payment processor, Shift4 Payments. This processor works with high-risk products like vape, so the free plan is available to those selling vape online.

You can also take your choice of three paid plans, costing $29/month, $79/month, and $229/month. Should you need it, you also can access an enterprise-level plan for $1,999/month.

Shift4Shop Features For Selling Vape

Shift4Shop offers a fully loaded free plan with full access to advanced features for users who use the in-house payment, Shift4 Payments. Even if you choose a paid plan, Shift4Shop because it offers useful tools that include integrations with eight high-risk payment processors.

Here's a sample of what Shift4Shop delivers:

  • Subscription and autoship tools
  • Dropshipping support
  • Age verification
  • Integrations with some top high-risk payment processors
  • Social media integrations
  • Email marketing
  • Customer questions and reviews
  • Loyalty program
  • Shipping integrations that support vape shipments
  • Promotional tools for weekly sales, temporary discounts, and coupons
  • Tax settings

Payment Processing

If you want a completely free plan, you can use Shift4 Payments to process your high-risk vape transactions. Shift4Shop offers integrations with eight high-risk payment processors, several of which are top-rated.

Get Started With Shift4Shop

Jump back to comparison chart

3. BigCommerce: Best For Online Vape Sales

BigCommerce


Start Trial


Pros

  • Free trial available
  • High-risk payment options
  • Feature-rich
  • Support for shipping

Cons

  • Revenue caps on sales plans
  • Some useful features limited to high-level plans

how to sell vape

Why We Chose BigCommere For Selling Vape

Compared to similarly priced eCommerce competitors, BigCommerce offers above-average features. Since users won't have to pay for a lot of add-ons to gain advanced features, BigCommerce is a great value out of the box.

And with its active support for selling vape online, it's a good choice for selling e-liquid in an online shop.

BigCommerce Pricing

BigCommerce pricing includes four levels, starting at $39/month for Standard and rising to $105/month for Plus and $399/month for Pro. An Enterprise plan is available with custom pricing for each individual business. Discounts are available if you pay for a full year in advance.

Plans come with sales limits ranging from $50K/year to $400K/year, with unlimited sales allowed on the Enterprise plan. Users who exceed their sales cap will be bumped automatically to the next plan level.

Take advantage of the generous BigCommerce 15-day free trial to test out the software before you commit.

BigCommerce Features For Selling Vape

All BigCommerce subscription plans come with ample features for selling online, though you may not be fully satisfied with the options included in lower-tier plans. At the same time, it's important to note that BigCommerce actively supports selling vape online and welcomes high-risk sellers. That includes some available integrations that online vape sellers will appreciate.

Here's a rundown of what you can expect to find:

  • Recurring billing and subscriptions
  • Age verification add-ons available
  • Coupons, discounts rules, and gift cards
  • Product ratings and reviews
  • Prebuilt integrations for multichannel selling, including social sales
  • Dropshipping features
  • Choice of high-risk payment processors
  • Inventory management tools
  • Shipping tools
  • Tax settings
  • SMS marketing

Payment Processing

BigCommerce includes 65+ payment built-in gateway integrations. However, most of those will be unavailable for online stores selling vape products. BigCommerce does integrate with four high-risk gateways that may support high-risk sales like e-cigarettes: USA ePay, NMI, Pinwheel Pay, and Worldpay Ecomm.

Get Started With BigCommerce

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4. Franpos: Best For Local Sales

Franpos


Visit Site


Pros

  • RACS compliant
  • Delivery options
  • Transparent pricing
  • Third-party integrations

Cons

  • No shipping integrations
  • Some coding required

 online vape store

Why We Chose Franpos For Selling Vape

Franpos offers delivery options, including a Postmates integration and self-delivery by your own staff, that support local sales. You can use Franpos eCommerce to make online sales and use the POS to support in-person sales.

However, if your sales goals include shipping, this may not be the right platform for you.

Franpos Pricing

Franpos costs $199-$249/month for a single terminal. If you want to add eCommerce to your POS capabilities, you will need to pay an additional $99/month.

You can add unlimited terminals for $99/month.

Franpos Features For Selling Vape

The basic Franpos software includes the option of setting up and managing a simple, personalized online store. If you want more advanced features, you'll need to purchase integrations or consider using another platform. Still, Franpos offers some features that specifically support online vape sales.

For example:

  • RACS compliance
  • Subscriptions
  • Age verification
  • Sell in-person and online
  • Loyalty program
  • Gift cards
  • Delivery via Postmates or self-delivery
  • Facebook and Twitter links

Payment Processing

Franpos integrates with a handful of big-name processors, not all of which support vape sales. However, you'll find acceptable options, such as Heartland, WorldPay, and EVO.

Get Started With Franpos

Jump back to comparison chart

Why We Don't Recommend These Options For Selling Vape

You might be looking for a name that didn’t appear on this list of the best platforms for online vape sales. Here are a few top names that we considered, along with the reasons we are leaving them off this “best of” list:

Shopify For Selling Vape

We frequently recommend Shopify as an easy and relatively affordable way to get started selling online. However, when it comes to selling vape online, you can expect to run into some problems with Shopify.

The most important reason is that the platform’s in-house payment processor, Shopify Payments, does not allow sales of any products that have to do with smoking. E-cigarettes and e-liquid are specifically prohibited. That means you’ll be stuck using an outside processor and paying Shopify’s added transaction fees, decreasing your profits. For that reason, we don’t think Shopify is the best choice for online vape sales.

WooCommerce For Selling Vape

In general, we like WooCommerce a lot because it’s flexible and it’s free. However, if you use WooCommerce to build your online vape store, you will need developer knowledge, and you’ll have to pay for hosting and security with no vape-specific resources to help you out.

If those conditions don’t faze you, WooCommerce is worth looking into. However, for the average seller looking for a simple way to sell vape online, WooCommerce won’t be your best bet.

Clover

Best known for its POS tools supporting in-person selling, Clover offers an online option, in partnership with BigCommerce, that lets you operate a simple, one-page online store or add Clover to an existing website. That makes Clover seem like potentially a good choice for merchants who sell primarily in-person and want to add a simple online option.

However, we note that while Clover is RACS-compliant, age verification tools are included only for in-person selling. That means it’s not the best choice for online sales, unless you’re adding Clover as a payment option to an existing store with built-in or added age-verification capabilities.

Square Online For Vape

While Square does support payments for electronic cigarettes and vape products, such sales must be processed as card-present transactions. That means online sales are not allowed. However, Square is still a good POS choice for in-person vape sales.

Vend

Vend is a great POS system to sell vape, both online and in person. However, if you use Vend, you’ll need to connect it as a payment processor to an existing online store, because Vend does not come with a website builder.

However, if you’re looking for a POS system to support your vape business, Vend POS could be a great choice.

Finding The Right Vape Products To Offer Your Customers

Your online vape business can offer a wide variety of vape-related products to shoppers. These products can be obtained from thousands of manufacturers, and they all require age verification prior to selling.

Here is a quick list of the types of vape products you can sell:

E-Liquids

Vaping involves heating up a liquid that produces vapors for users to inhale. The liquid can include nicotine but does not have to. E-liquids are also known as e-juice, and they come in a variety of flavors.

Vape Devices

Knowns as vape pens or e-cigarettes, vaping devices come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They may be prefilled or come with a refillable tank, and they can be disposable or built to be refilled and reused.

Vape Equipment Components

The heating element in a vape device, known as the coil, burns out after repeated use and needs to be replaced. Some vape users build their own coils out of metal and cotton materials. Batteries are used to heat the coils, and they also must be replaced regularly.

Note that all of these products lend themselves to subscription sales. Whether it’s batteries, coils, or liquid, you can meet your customer’s needs and boost your sales by setting up automatic deliveries on the timetables your customers prefer for these items.

Which Online Platform For Selling Vape Is Right For Your Business?

Vaping tools and products are big business in the US, and online vape sales can present a good opportunity. Because vape is considered a tobacco-adjacent product, even if the products you sell don’t contain tobacco, you’ll need to make sure your online store complies with all state and federal laws for this highly regulated product.

Remember, too, that you’ll need to process all sales through a high-risk payment processor, whether or not your vape products contain tobacco or other regulated substances.

Because vape sales can be more complicated than other types of online selling, it’s important that you have a solid business plan in place before you jump into selling. That means you’ll need a well-researched one-page business plan to help you stay on track. For the best chance of succeeding in the crowded and somewhat complicated world of online vape sales, we recommend that you establish a business budget, too. That doesn’t have to be as complicated as it sounds. Learn how to create a business budget and find out how to make that budget work for your online vape business.

The cost of POS systems and eCommerce software varies from vendor to vendor, but it helps to have a budget as you begin your search. Make sure to factor in the costs of POS hardware, and do your research so that you’re using one of the best credit card readers available.

Accepting payments is tricky online and offline, but the best high-risk payment processors offer multiple features to help you stay compliant, even with tricky areas like the sale of restricted substances.

One final word: Selling vape can be profitable, but it comes with some risks built in. If you’re opening a vape shop, whether online or in person, you should make sure to purchase business insurance to reduce your liability.

FAQs: Selling Vape

Can I sell vape online?

You can sell vape online! Because vape products are considered tobacco products (whether or not they contain tobacco), you’ll need to comply with some special legal requirements in order to sell e-liquids online, including age verification. You’ll also need to pay special attention to rules limiting shipping options for vape products.

Is it legal to sell vape online?

It is legal to sell vape online as long as you comply with legal requirements, such as age verification. You’ll also need to work with a high-risk payment processor, and you may need to work a little harder to find shipping options that will work for vape products.

What is the best place to sell vape?

While the easiest place to sell vape may be in person, you have some good options for selling vape online. You can set up your online vape shop using software from Lightspeed, Shift4Shop, BigCommerce, and Franpos, for example. These platforms welcome vape sellers and offer tools to support you in your business.

Is it legal to sell e-cigs online?

Online sales of e-cigarettes are legal in the US. Because these sales are highly regulated by the federal government, you’ll need to be extra careful to comply with the rules. And while not all online sales platforms allow e-cigarette sales, you will need to make sure you pick a platform that does. Our top choices: Lightspeed, Shift4Shop, BigCommerce, and Franpos.

Where can you sell vape online?

Because vape is considered a high-risk product, not very many eCommerce platforms allow vape sales. Fortunately, you can find some great platforms that not only allow but actually welcome online vape selling. Check out our top four picks: Lightspeed, Shift4Shop, BigCommerce, and Franpos.

In Summary: The 4 Best Platforms To Sell Vape Products

  1. Lightspeed Retail POS:
    • $0-$99/month
    • Built-in payment processor
    • RACS compliant
  2. Shift4Shop:
    • $0-$1,999/month
    • High-risk payment processor built in
    • Subscriptions and dropshipping
  3. BigCommerce:
    • $29.95-$299.95/month
    • Choice of high-risk processors
    • Strong built-in features for online sales
  4. Franpos:
    • Starting at $199/month
    • High-risk payment processing
    • Delivery integrations
Kate Hoots

Kate Hoots

Expert Analyst & Reviewer at Merchant Maverick
Kate started writing on business topics in 1996, working for groundbreaking B2B newsletters Communication Briefings and The Competitive Advantage. She joined Merchant Maverick in 2020 and is an expert in business banking, insurance, and eCommerce. She has been featured on NBC TODAY, Yahoo News, GoBankingRates, Scripps News Syndicate, and CBS Radio. She has a bachelor's degree in English literature from Lewis & Clark College and lives in Canby, Oregon.
Kate Hoots
View Kate Hoots's professional experience on LinkedIn.

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The vendors that appear on this list were chosen by subject matter experts on the basis of product quality, wide usage and availability, and positive reputation.

Merchant Maverick’s ratings are editorial in nature, and are not aggregated from user reviews. Each staff reviewer at Merchant Maverick is a subject matter expert with experience researching, testing, and evaluating small business software and services. The rating of this company or service is based on the author’s expert opinion and analysis of the product, and assessed and seconded by another subject matter expert on staff before publication. Merchant Maverick’s ratings are not influenced by affiliate partnerships.

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