By White Buffalo Hemp Company | November 19, 2019
There’s no denying that CBD is having a moment.
Just look around. The classic CBD repertoire of oils and tinctures has grown ten-fold; now we have CBD beauty products, CBD lattes, even CBD dog treats.
CBD is here in full force — and it’s here to stay.
In fact, the CBD market could reach $20 billion by 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 49%. Staggering, we know.
Given the booming CBD market, widespread interest in selling CBD online comes as no surprise — and with it, a proliferation of helpful tips and guides, like this one.
Interested in launching or growing your *budding* CBD business by taking it digital? Then you’re in the right place. Below, we’re sharing the most important things you need to know about selling CBD online.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a plant compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant. But don’t confuse CBD with its psychoactive sister THC. CBD will not get you high.
What it will do is offer the same therapeutic benefits attributed to THC. You know the ones — those relaxing, calming, “feel-good” effects that may help you:
Because we’ve only recently started using and studying CBD, there’s not a ton of research on it. But what little there is paints CBD’s potential health impact in a promising light.
Unsurprisingly, given its close plant-family ties with THC — the psychoactive compound found in marijuana — the legality of selling CBD is somewhat controversial, made all the more so because the laws surrounding it are constantly evolving.
However, based on the 2018 Farm Bill which federally legalizes the production and sale of hemp (or “industrial hemp”) in the US, CBD is legal to sell online, given it meets the below criteria:
Its THC content is below .3%
It’s derived from the hemp plant as opposed to the marijuana plant
A word of caution: given the controversy surrounding CBD, you can never be too careful, and laws governing sales do vary by state. Your best bet is to research specific state regulations before you begin selling.
Once you’ve confirmed that selling CBD in a particular state won’t land you on the wrong side of the law, the fun can begin.
Assuming you’ve already found a reputable supplier of safe, high-quality CBD products, you’ll want to turn your attention to these three steps:
Step 1: Register Your CBD Business
Before you set up your online CBD shop, register your business in accordance with state and local laws, and obtain any state-designated licenses or permits needed to operate. Not only does registering your business limit personal liability in the event that things go south — it also makes you eligible for certain legal benefits and tax benefits.
Step 2: Choose an Ecommerce Platform
Currently, it’s illegal to sell CBD products on popular online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. While that might change in the future, for now, your best bet is to set up your own ecommerce website.
When it comes to setting up your website, you generally have two main options: “self-hosting” via a platform like WordPress or turning to a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform like Shopify, BigCommerce, or 3dcart.
Both have pros and cons; for example, while a SaaS platform might be the speedier solution, you typically pay a monthly fee and don’t own the software. So if anything were to happen to that particular SaaS company, your business would suffer dramatically. We encourage you to do your research regarding both self-hosted and SaaS options.
On top of that, you’ll also need to find a specialized payment processor, as CBD sellers are often classified as “high risk” merchants. Check out this guide from BigCommerce, which details what you should look for in a CBD payment processor.
Step 3: Create an Online Marketing Plan
We’ve written an entire blog sharing the best way to market your CBD products. When it comes to online marketing, specifically, we recommend focusing on the following:
SEO: Current FDA regulations restrict CBD-related ads online, posing a challenge to reach potential customers. The solution? SEO, or search engine optimization. SEO involves structuring your site so that it better appeals to both human users and search engines, resulting in higher Google rankings and more clicks.
Content marketing: Content marketing involves creating useful and/or entertaining content (think blogs, infographics, videos, etc.) designed to serve potential customers, establish your expertise and trustworthiness, and ultimately drive more business.
Social media: While you might not be able to launch CBD-related social media ads, you can set up a business page and develop a strong, engaged social presence. Post interesting content, follow industry partners, and interact with current and would-be customers. You’d be surprised how effective social media can be in driving sales.
Take it from the experts at White Buffalo Hemp: now is the time to get in on the CBD game — while it’s still a young industry with great potential for growth. If you’re looking for more hemp and CBD resources, check out our blog and don’t hesitate to reach out with questions.