Starting a WooCommerce Store to Sell Nicotine Products

Apr 20, 2024 | WooCommerce

Selling nicotine products online is an incredibly profitable, but equally competitive business. Beyond the complexity of setting up a standard e-commerce website, the industry is fraught with strict legal regulations, age verification processes, logistical hurdles, and ever-evolving marketing restrictions.

Successfully navigating this landscape demands specialized solutions that tackle these unique challenges, and choosing a WooCommerce developer with experience building such websites is paramount for ensuring compliance and a seamless customer experience.

In this article, we will discuss various legal considerations, the difficulties you will face in finding a payment gateway for your website, and the various marketing restrictions you need to keep in mind. We will also share some of our tried and tested solutions for all of these problems.

Let us begin!

Country or State-Specific regulations are enforced, even if your business is online. Many places have their own laws regulating the sale of products that contain nicotine. These can cover age limits, taxation, licensing, and even outright bans on online sales.

We recommend you thoroughly research the specific regulations of all the regions where you plan to operate. If you plan to sell internationally, be sure to catch up on the relevant import and export laws that come into play when you do business across international borders.

Age Verification

Here are some of the simple yet effective age verification systems we have implemented for our clients:

Implementing a decent age verification process is the first hurdle you must overcome when establishing setting up your e-commerce business, thankfully, it is also the easiest one to solve!

Your local regulations may vary, but for most of our clients, a simple one-time popup is more than sufficient to meet the relevant legal requirements. There are a few different ways to implement an age gate:

  1. Simple: One-time pop-up asking a simple yes or no question, to confirm someone’s age.
  2. Complex: Request a user’s date of birth and calculate their eligibility accordingly.

In both of these cases, you may choose to store a cookie (“remember me”) on the user’s browser to avoid them the hassle of confirming their age again. You can also remove the banner if the user has a registered account with you, in these cases we suggest you add a date of birth into your account creation form, just to cover yourself legally.

Interested in an age gate for your website? Phil Baker’s Age Gate Plugin is amazing, it’s free, SEO friendly, and supports both of the above methods.

Payment Gateways for Nicotine Products

Did you have everything figured out and the store set up, only to receive an email from your payment processor that they will not be able to support your business?

This is fairly common in this industry. Due to restrictions from various banks and partners, services like PayPal and Stripe will refuse to work with businesses that deal with Nicotine or Tobacco-related products.

The funny thing is, you can read through Stripe’s Prohibited and Restricted Businesses page and PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy, neither of which state that they disallow nicotine-only products at the time of writing this post. But they will still refuse to work with your business.

So, what can you do? There are alternatives out there, don’t worry!

  • VivaWallet is what all of our clients in Ireland, the UK, and other European countries are using.
  • High-Risk Payment Gateways will work with virtually any business, find one that will work in your country.


Businesses who wish to sell their products locally should not have any issues shipping them. Nicotine pouches are small, light, and easily packed.

Reach out to whichever local logistics company offers you the best rates and see if they offer integration with WooCommerce. A plugin would tremendously lower the amount of manual labor you need to do for each shipment as you’ll be able to print labels directly from your WooCommerce site.

Keep in mind that the game changes drastically if you plan on selling your products internationally. Remember to do your due research on international regulations and taxes around Nicotine products.

Marketing & SEO

Nicotine products face pretty strict marketing restrictions across the world, and the rules are getting worse over time. While the obvious age-related restrictions have always applied and are easy for you to work your way around, some countries disallow advertisements altogether.

Fortunately, for now at least, you can run CPC advertisements on Google Ads while investing in the long term organic performance of your WooCommerce store by investing in a decent SEO plan.

How CPC Advertisements work

Money goes in, sales come out. That is pretty much the entire formula for CPC advertisements, here are the basics of what you need to do:

  • Calculate your maximum CPA.
  • Figure out the keywords that your ideal customers will be searching for.
  • Set limits to never go above your CPA.

Advertisement costs depend on the season, the time of month, and your local competition. If you offer coupon codes then you need to take them into account as well.

Limitations on running CPC Advertisements

Almost all platforms treat nicotine products as a regulated industry. Meaning that you must comply with their rules and terms of service or your ads will get disapproved. For example, many social media platforms have an outright ban on all nicotine products, while search engines like Google are more selective about the products that they will let you advertise.

SEO is the way forward

Due to advertisement restrictions in the nicotine business, SEO is one of the best investments you can make for selling such products online. While results do take a few months to come out, they are pretty much passive once you have invested the initial sum.

  • Find your target keywords, your personal touch is important, no SEO company can do this better than you.
  • Focus on creating high-quality content that organically incorporates these keywords.
  • Build links with reputable sites to boost your domain authority. Do not pay for backlinks!
  • Monitor your rankings and tweak your strategy as needed.

SEO expenses vary depending on whether you handle it in-house or outsource.

Either way, investing in good SEO practices upfront can lead to sustained traffic and lower long-term costs compared to CPC. Remember, the key to SEO is patience and persistence, decent results take months if not years for new sites.

Email Campaigns

Every visitor is a potential customer and email marketing is king when it comes to converting store-browsers to loyal customers. Here are just a few of the many workflows we have implemented for our clients who use WooCommerce:

  1. Catch more emails by offering a coupon code while signing up.
  2. Reach out to users with a discount code if they abandon a cart without checking out.
  3. Re-engage past customers who no longer visit your store.
  4. Set up welcome workflows for new subscribers with top selling product recommendations.
  5. Sale-announcements and general re-engagement campaigns.

Due to advertisement restrictions and the fact that every visitor to your store is worth a lot more due to how difficult it is for them to discover a new website in the first place, a robust email marketing campaign is the first thing we recommend to all of our clients.

Looking for a WooCommerce Developer for Nicotine Products?

We are a full-service agency that offers WooCommerce services for businesses dealing with nicotine products. Our team understands the unique challenges and regulations surrounding nicotine products, and we are committed to delivering solutions that enhance your online presence while ensuring compliance and user satisfaction.

Whether you’re launching a new store or interested in redesigning your existing one, we are here to support your WooCommerce journey every step of the way, reach out today for a free quote.