The e-commerce cigar clouds are parting, and the sun is coming out
If you are considering selling tobacco products online in 2018 and beyond, the new leadership at the FDA holds real promise for your business. Among other things, Washington DC’s apparent change in attitude toward premium cigar merchants has made one of our jobs, setting up payment gateways and finding excellent credit card processors for e-commerce cigar merchants, much easier.
Due, in no small part to the recent change in regulatory attitude the software companies, banks and processors nationwide also have a better attitude now toward online cigar sales than they did in years past. This change in tides means we have a lot of stable, affordable recommendations for online cigar merchants looking to accept payments.
Critical FDA deadline for cigars postponed
There are still challenges, and a lot of regulations to worry about, but the FDA postponing an important deadline from 2018 to 2021 means that 2018 should be a great year to start selling premium cigars online (or face to face) according to an article from CstoreDecisions.com. At the very least this market should still be predictable for the next three years giving you and the rest of the industry time to plan your next moves and still make money. The Cstore article also discusses some of the existing challenges, especially at the state level. Although awareness and thoughtfulness can dull the effects of those regulations, knowing what’s coming and planning for it is the best ways to succeed in a challenging market.
Accepting payments for cigars online can still be complicated
Selling cigars online can overwhelming. Selecting your payment gateway software and finding a company to work with who understands what features your business may need can be hard. Even more difficult for most new businesses though is acquiring a compatible cigar friendly merchant account to go with your payment gateway. For almost 15 years we have worked with high-risk businesses like premium cigar merchants to help them accept credit cards for their online sales. Let us help you find a payment gateway and a merchant account that works with it for your business.
Things looked pretty rough for a while
A couple of years ago it looked like selling cigars online was going to be a thing of the past. Pressure from regulators caused most banks, gateways, and processors to prohibit the sale of cigars online. This, coupled with Card Association registration requirements that many processors did not want to deal with, made the job of finding a cigar friendly payment gateway and merchant account combo, very difficult. Another complication the article from CstoreDecisions.com mentions is the direction of the market. The challenges have not just been online, using Cumberland Farms amongst other data, there has been a decline in storefront sales in most of their markets as well, one cause is regulation, there may be more, as there is also growth in certain markets, like the U.S. Military retail market. This is just one example of how knowing how specific markets are performing and choosing where to make your products available, or more simply, to whom you should target with your marketing campaigns. Taking the time to research local areas and specific markets can boost your sales in unprecedented ways, and every e-commerce retailer should be doing it. There are people out there who want to buy your cigars online, and with a little effort you can find them and convince them to make a purchase.
Our experience can save you time, money, and frustration
We recently worked with a well-known professional football personality and assisted their company in launching an online cigar brand. This entity did not have a lot of direct, high-risk commerce experience but they were smart, organized, and knew the laws and regulations. We were able to get their payment gateway connected to their WooCommerce cart, add nonintrusive “low to no abandonment” age verification, and hook up their gateway to a merchant account that wanted and appreciated their business. That’s one big difference between finding your own solution and having us help you. Your business will grow so much faster when you are adequately informed AND have an experienced hand to help guide you and connect you with business partners who appreciate you and your business.
You worry about selling quality cigars, we will worry about payment systems.
Please call us with any questions you have, or fill out the form below if you are interested in learning more about our services. Remember, we are more than willing to hold your hand throughout the process. We like helping smaller e-commerce sites get up to speed on useful and efficient software – all with no obligation to pay us or sign up for any services. Our goal is to help make it easy for you to sell. We can recommend software platforms and applications; various merchant accounts for specific high-risk product markets and payment gateways that process charges for your loyal cigar aficionados. As much of a challenge as tobacco products can be, there is a thriving and lucrative online marketplace for them if you take the time to understand it and follow the guidelines.