Online CBD store – The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the commercial sale of hemp and its derivatives. In doing, it also legalized cannabidiol or CBD, which is a non-intoxicating chemical that develops in mature hemp flowers.
Though CBD research is young, preliminary studies are promising, suggesting that CBD might help reduce the severity of discomforts like sleeplessness, pain, stress, and worry. This news has prompted many people to experiment with CBD products and enticed many businesses to jump into the space.
Fortunately, there’s still plenty of time to launch an online CBD store and plenty of support to make sure it’s a success.
Why Start a CBD Business?
CBD is big business, and it’s only getting bigger! According to a recent report by Meticulous Research, the CBD market should experience a compound annual growth rate of about 45.6 percent to reach $216.8 billion by 2028. Much of this growth may attribute to the recent Farm Bill update, an aging population, and increased millennial CBD consumption.
Given its rising popularity, it’s no wonder many want to enter the CBD space. This is a good thing, though! More CBD businesses mean more CBD business support. Notably, those who wish to open an online CBD store can find ample support from industry professionals by outsourcing things like web development and supply chain management.
The Legality of CBD Products
As mentioned, CBD products are federally legal if they come from hemp. To be clear, hemp is a type of cannabis that contains less than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight. Cannabis with more than 0.3 percent THC is “marijuana,” which remains illegal throughout much of the nation.
Notably, both marijuana- and hemp-type cannabis produce CBD. However, flowering hemp is federally legal — and produces much more CBD anyway. CBD from marijuana, even if totally pure, is federally illegal due to its source.
The fine distinction between hemp vs. marijuana is crucial as it largely determines the legality of a CBD product. As such, business owners must always verify the legality of CBD products within their stores.
8 Steps to Launch an Online CBD Store
Are you ready to start an online CBD store? Use this checklist to ensure you have everything you need to get started.
Step 1: Identify Your Niche
CBD products are as unique as the businesses that sell them. Before you do anything else, you must understand what makes your online CBD store special. To begin, determine who your target audience is and what types of CBD products they are most likely to buy. After you identify your niche, develop a mission statement to help you stay focused on your goal regardless of where your CBD business steers you.
Step 2: Build a Business Plan
There are many reasons to establish a business plan. It can help you stay focused, track milestones, and apply for business funding, for example. Moreover, writing a CBD business plan is not as difficult as it seems, especially when following a basic format outlined by the Small Business Association. Just focus on one item at a time (like your company description or proposed marketing strategies), and you’ll have a CBD business plan before you know it.
Step 3: Gain Necessary Licensing
Legitimate business owners must have legitimate business licenses. The procedure and fees associated with basic business licenses vary by location; check with your local Secretary of State for information and application forms.
Notably, many locations require separate CBD retail licensing, as well. Hemp licensing restrictions vary by district, though, which may affect your ability to operate an online CBD store in your area. For example, Louisiana currently prohibits online CBD retailers, whereas Idaho only permits CBD products with zero THC instead of the federal 0.3 percent allowance. Refer to your local hemp laws for clarification.
Step 4: Find a Reliable Supplier
A reliable CBD supplier is one of the most important aspects of a successful CBD business. A reliable supplier helps ensure that products are pure, potent, and always compliant. Moreover, the best CBD product supplier will maintain diligent contact with all supply chain links to ensure that everything is where it needs to be when it needs to be there. They will keep your shelves stocked with reliably consistent products without ever missing a beat.
VCM is a proud CBD product supplier to many CBD businesses, retailers, and wholesalers nationwide. We look forward to serving you, too.
Step 5: Build an E-Commerce Website
An online CBD store needs an e-commerce website through which to conduct transactions. Fortunately, many e-commerce-compatible website platforms like WordPress or BigCommerce include templates and drag-and-drop for easy website development. All you need is a domain name (which usually renews annually), a web host (another annual fee), and a web builder if you’re not extremely familiar with coding. After building the site, list all products (including COAs to prove compliance), then move to step six.
Step 6: Secure CBD banking
Secure CBD banking is crucial for smooth online transactions. Unfortunately, many banks like PayPal and Stripe prohibit CBD sales and often freeze accounts of anyone caught violating this condition. Though some online payment processors like Square have CBD programs, they typically involve an extensive application process during which you must verify that all products and website content complies with federal hemp laws. Notably, most banks consider CBD sales “high risk” and charge fees accordingly.
Step 7: Launch and Promote Your Online CBD Store
Congratulations! You’ve put in the work, and it’s finally time to launch your online CBD store. Of course, you’ll also need to promote your CBD products for anyone to find them. Unfortunately, this requires some special consideration as a cannabis-based company. Specifically, your website or promotional material should never imply that your products cure or treat any diagnosable conditions.
Importantly, paid ads are significantly restricted and may not include the words “CBD” or “cannabis” anywhere in the text or outbound link it points to. Many platforms also prohibit graphics that depict drug use, including smoking dried hemp flower or eating CBD gummies. Topical products, on the other hand, are occasionally permitted.
Step 8: Maintain Strong Customer Connections
The best way to build a successful online CBD store is to nurture the customers and leads interacting with your brand. As such, it is vital to manage customer relationships through lead nurturing strategies, email marketing campaigns, chatbot features, and a responsive customer support team. Connect with your customers, and they will connect with you – and encourage their friends and family members to do the same.
Final Thoughts on How to Start an Online CBD Store
There has never been a better time to launch an online CBD store. Follow these simple steps to get started, and contact us to discuss how to source the best CBD products for your store.
Abby is a freelance cannabis writer and Founder of Cannabis Content, a marketplace and training platform designed to connect cannabis creatives with businesses that need their services. Learn more at CannabisContent.net