Running a Vaping Business? Here's What You Need to Know to Choose the Right Enterprise Resource Planning System
There are literally thousands of e-juices and vape products out there. This profusion is due in part to the rapidly growing industry, and in part to the varying tastes of vapers around the world. Each vaper is different. While one might love a sleek Suorin device, another might swear by their high-voltage box mod. The person who loves their Suorin might favor Nic Salts, while the person who swears by their box mod might prefer low nic fruit flavors.
It’s a matter of taste and individuality which is part of what makes the vape industry so special. But it also makes running a vape shop rather complicated. In order to cater to those tastes, a vape shop has to carry a wide selection of products. E-liquids from different brands in different strengths, flavors, sizes... Kits, devices, hardware, swag...
How to manage it all?
The answer is to choose the right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. An ERP system will help you manage your inventory. It will track which products are selling and which ones are not. It will tell you when you need to re-up on inventory, and it will process your work orders and bundle your products making it easy to track where everything is at any given time! The best ERP systems will have integrated Point of Sale (POS) functionality. Here are some things to look for in a system:
Cloud-based systems are the best fit for fast-paced shop owners and small businesses like vape shops. They are designed so that you can access your POS System remotely from any device, anywhere, at any time. What this means is you can keep a close eye on your business operations even when you are not in-house. Note that cloud-based systems require an internet connection to function, so make sure you choose one with an offline feature just in case your internet goes down.
Superior systems will have an integrated Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) feature. What this means is you will be able to collect customer contact info, record purchase history, email receipts at checkout and calculate the lifetime value of your customers. This feature is useful if you intend to employ email marketing to engage your customers, or just want to gain a better understanding of your customer base.
Ease of Operations
At the end of the day, the purpose of an ERP system is to ease your daily operations. A good system will eliminate stress and enable a business to function fluidly across all processes. When you choose a system, check that it has plenty of easy-to-use features, and that its management system can handle the complexities innate to the industry. Most systems allow you a trial period, so make sure that you thoroughly test whichever one you choose!
An excellent inventory management system is essential to the success of a vape shop. Look for one that can manage bulk inventory, track costs and profit margins, notify you when you are low on stock, effectively organize products, and offers modifiers for products with variations like e-juices in different nicotine strengths.
Payment processing refers to what happens after a transaction has been accepted at the register. It’s the process by which a customer’s bank account is debited and your shop gets paid. We recommend choosing a system that allows you to integrate a third-party merchant processor of your choice with your POS. This is because some payment processing partners aren’t vape friendly, and might drop you down the road if they decide your business is too “high risk”. Make sure you do your research and choose a payment processing partner who is both vape friendly and offers amenable rates.
The best systems will integrate staff management as well. What this means is you will be able to track your employees by having them clock in and out, assign different levels of access depending on seniority and track sales as well as identify the busiest hours in a day. This will allow you to better staff for those times and manage employee performance.
There’s a lot to take into consideration when choosing an ERP system, and your shop’s performance will reflect your choice. Take your time, take these factors into consideration and don’t be afraid to shop around for the best solution for your shop’s needs.
At VanGo, our advanced ERP system has given us a leg up in the industry, and we know how crucial it is to choose the right one for your business! If you have any questions or would like some advice to help you make your choice, we would be happy to chat. We’re all about supporting the #VanGoFam, so shoot us an email here!
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