Politics and Business
4 Tips You Need To Follow Before Kicking Off an Online Cigar Business
So, you are a cigar aficionado and looking to turn your favorite hobby into an online business. While it is always exciting to find an opportunity to have a pastime that can generate income, the cigar business is especially complicated. It is essential that you understand all the complexities involved.
You will need to secure the appropriate licenses in order to sell tobacco. Unlike cigarettes which are illegal to sell online, it is permissible to market, purchase, and ship cigars as part of an internet enterprise. Regulations can be tricky, and there is still the odd state that even prohibits the shipment of any tobacco products directly to consumers. It makes sense to consult with a professional to ensure you start off compliant. There are attorneys and reputable companies who help can advise you regarding the regulatory component of your business. Although you may cringe at the thought of shelling out money to the experts, it sure beats paying fines and risking brand damage that could ultimately cause you to lose your company. Legislation is continually being passed, so they can make sure you keep abreast of the latest statutes.
You will also be required to collect taxes for the majority of states in which you transact business. An initial consultation with a tax professional can help you understand your responsibilities. Tax laws are fluid, so it may be confusing to try to navigate this portion of the business on your own since you will likely be doing business across multiple states.
Collecting money from your customers could present a challenge. Online businesses need to offer safe and secure payment options to consumers. You may run into difficulties finding a vendor willing to facilitate tobacco credit card processing, due to the scrutiny that the industry frequently endures. However, there are companies who maintain the same standards and protection of the more mainstream payment processors that can support your online cigar business.
There are several controls you will have to put in place, and not just to protect your inventory which is extremely sensitive. You likely already understand the importance of creating a storage facility that preserves the delicate nature of your products, factoring in temperature and humidity to maintain the cigars in peak condition. This will undoubtedly to extend to your shipping process as well, shielding the cigars from both the environment and the potential for physical damage.
While these measures enhance customer satisfaction and keeping the customers happy is essential to your business, they have to be the right customers. Another control you have to enforce is the age restriction on the sale of tobacco products. Since individuals under 21 are not permitted to buy cigars, you have to ensure that you do not endanger your business by inadvertently selling cigars to that demographic. Fortunately, there are companies whose services you can leverage that are able to verify the age of your patrons based on the information they enter on your site.
The moral of the story is that you don’t have to start your online cigar business on your own. It is admittedly an industry rife with complexity, and there is a myriad of resources you can leverage to help you launch a successful enterprise.