BigCommerce Customizations To Sell Regulated Products Online
CueVapor.com is a BigCommerce store that sells vapes and vape accessories. They approached us with a number of challenges: not only do they sell regulated products (nicotine) that are subject to special laws and taxes, they also needed a site that would support their TV marketing efforts and could be used by both their sales team and the average customer.
Fortunately, they picked the right platform and the right people. CueVapor’s site was a collaborative project with BORN Group (a digital services agency and fellow BigCommerce Certified Partner) providing designs and IntuitSolutions doing custom development work.
The result? A beautiful ecommerce site with exceptional functionality. The combination of BigCommerce’s native features, BORN’s designs, and IntuitSolutions’ exclusive software provides a world-class merchant experience for vape shops – no small feat in an industry that other ecommerce platforms have shied away from.
Separate Landing Pages Creates Different User Paths
CueVapor had a unique request when it came to the overall design of their site. They advertise some of their products on TV infomercials and wanted to give customers who came to the site from those ads a different experience than those who discovered the site organically.
IntuitSolutions achieved this by using URL redirects to send TV customers to a separate landing page with completely different content. When a customer enters the url give on the commercial (i.e. TryCueVapor.com instead of CueVapor.com), they access a landing page that:
- Shows different information in the header (generally, header content is static across an entire site)
- Only sells a limited number of “TV exclusive products”
- Has copy and images which mirror the TV advertising campaign
- Offers different shipping options than the main site
This way of showing and hiding information based on who’s accessing the site is an important part of ecommerce development and is useful for all kinds of industries. For example, our developers often build customizations for B2B businesses that hide certain Products from everyone but wholesale customers, or which offer different payment and shipping options based on Customer Groups. In CueVapor’s case, utilizing this type of conditional content went a long way to supporting their marketing efforts.
Segment Your Website Traffic With URL Redirects
Google Analytics is a great tool for figuring out exactly how many people visit your site, what parts of it they visit, and what type of traffic leads to conversions. But CueVapor had more complex analytics needs than many businesses. Not only did they want to track traffic from their TV advertising separately, but they also use sales reps to take orders over the phone. When a sales rep accesses the order page to fulfil a phone customer’s order, it should not be counted as an organic visit.
IntuitSolutions helped CueVapor segment their traffic with custom UTM URLs. We added analytics URLs to their site that would clearly tag which traffic came from TV advertising and which traffic came from their sales team, ensuring that they were able to correctly interpret their site’s data.
Thanks to the landing pages redirect and these Google Analytics changes, CueVapor was able to keep the majority of their business on a single site (they actually do have a separate site for B2B but that’s because of regulatory laws). Even if you have a complex business model (such as B2B + B2C), it’s generally always better to segment your business and keep it on a single site. You may have to invest in more custom development work upfront, but, once it does, you save yourself considerable effort when it comes to managing your inventory and pricing.
Vape Shop Apps and Add-Ons
Online vape and tobacco shops (as well as shops that sell other regulated products) often have trouble with compliance. These merchants are subject to a number of special laws and restrictions related to tax and shipping. Because these laws are different in every state (and can even be different in different parts of the same state), it’s hard to follow them in an ecommerce environment.
Based on our experience working vape shops, IntuitSolutions has developed both standalone apps and custom solutions to solve common compliance problems. We implemented a series of these customizations on CueVapor to troubleshoot tax and shipping issues before they arise.
Add Excise Tax As Line Item On Cart
Calculating and charging excise tax is one of the biggest challenges for merchants who sell regulated products online. Excise tax is a special tax levied against regulated products like nicotine and alcohol. It’s separate from sales tax and varies widely both by region and type of product sold.
IntuitSolutions has developed an Excise Tax Manager to help calculate and charge these taxes. It is currently the only excise tax solution for BigCommerce. It allows the merchant to define tax zones by zip code and to set the tax rate for each Product, ensuring that excise tax is calculated with pinpoint accuracy, no matter what the customer buys or where they buy it from.
It’s also great for user experience. The excise tax is added as a separate line item on the Cart at checkout, ensuring that the customer understands exactly what they’re buying and what each charge means.
Veratad Age Verification Software For BigCommerce
Since nicotine is an age-regulated product, CueVapor needed a way to check ID. We installed our integration with Veratad’s ID and Age Verification on their site. At checkout, it prompts the customer to enter either their DOB or SSN, then Veratad checks that information against billions of records from multiple public and nonpublic data sources in real time. If the customer is successfully identified, and is of legal age for their location, the transaction will proceed. If not, they’re prompted to upload a copy of their driver’s license or other government issued ID.
The integration is seamless and doesn’t add unnecessary steps to the checkout process. It gives CueVapor the best of both worlds: customers are able to move seamlessly through the final steps to checkout and CueVapor reduces their compliance risk.
Vape Shipping Restrictions For California and Massachusetts
Another challenge for merchants who sell e-cigarettes, tobacco, and other nicotine products is state shipping regulations. Not every Product can be shipped to every state and some states have more stringent shipping laws than others.
CueVapor approached us with two separate shipping problems they commonly encountered. The first was that their flavored vape juice Products could not be sent to Massachusetts. Our developers solved this by writing custom code so that if a customer has a flavored Product in their cart and selects Massachusetts as their state, they get a warning message alerting them and can’t proceed through checkout until they enter a different address or remove the Products.
CueVapor also needed to deal with shipping restrictions for California orders. California has unique laws for buying vapes online: a customer’s billing and shipping must be exactly the same and the customer must receive a phone call on the same day their order is placed.
Our developers built a customization that behaves similarly to the Massachusetts one. If a California customer enters non-matching addresses for billing and shipping, they’ll get an alert message and be blocked from proceeding through checkout. All California customers also get an additional alert message informing them they will receive an order confirmation call on the same day.
Even More BigCommerce Customizations
- Easy-To-Maintain Store Locator
- Quick/Bulk Order Page
- Subscription Billing
- Upsell Feature On Cart
Want A Fully Custom BigCommerce Site? Call Us Today!
CueVapor’s site is a great example of how custom development and design work can support your business model. Whatever your paint point – industry regulations, a special marketing effort, integrating business practices like using a sales team – our development experts will find a solution that works for you.
Ready for a free expert consultation? Call us today!