The CBD industry in the United States and around the world has experienced massive growth in recent years, fueled by state and federal governments legalizing hemp and cannabis-derived products. And one of the most popular ways to market and sell CBD products is online. But what is the best e-commerce platform for CBD businesses?
CBD businesses selling their products online can use self-hosted or software as a service (SaaS) platform. Platforms like WordPress provide a dynamic self-hosted solution, while SaaS platforms like BigCommerce and Shopify are more suitable for beginners who lack technical skills.
While many CBD businesses prefer to sell their products in boutiques, there is no question that customers prefer online platforms to purchase their CBD products and, if you aren’t selling your products online, you will fall behind and miss out on a great opportunity to increase your sales volume and make money hand over fist!
What Is CBD & Why Should You Sell CBD Online?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a popular substance extracted from hemp and marijuana plants to treat a wide range of medical ailments or for recreational purposes.
While CBD is closely related to another substance, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the mind-altering substance in cannabis, it is not psychoactive and can be extracted from marijuana and hemp plants .
Several scientific studies have demonstrated CBD’s efficacy on binding receptors throughout the brain and immune system. As a consequence of the legalization of hemp and marijuana in many states throughout the United States (note that it isn’t legal in all states) and in other countries around the world, as well as its popularity as a treatment for various illnesses, diseases, and ailments.
CBD has also been incorporated as an ingredient in various everyday products, including, but not limited to, oils, supplements, sprays, topical balms, capsules, and even pet products.
But what’s important for you, as an entrant into the budding CBD industry, is that the rise of CBD has coincided with another new trend: online shopping.
Particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, online shopping has become the new norm for many people and, if you don’t have an online store that supports purchases, payments, shipping, and customer service, your new CBD business will be missing out on a golden opportunity to attract thousands of customers, if the analytics and trends for the search query “CBD” is anything to go by.
Furthermore, selling products from a physical location adds thousands of dollars to your overheads over a financial year because you have to pay for rent, electricity, labor costs, etc. And as a small business, selling your products online and through e-commerce platforms can help minimize costs and, therefore, maximize your profits.
The Best E-Commerce Platforms For CBD
Now that you’re aware of the opportunities that selling your CBD products online creates, the next big question is which platforms will help you build a good-looking, easy-to-use website that will attract as many customers as possible.
With mega-platforms like eBay and Amazon restricting CBD sales, you’ll probably need to create your own online presence. Let’s look at two of the most popular SaaS e-commerce platforms for CBD.
BigCommerce has announced itself as a leader in the online marketplace for CBD products with an e-commerce platform that brings together the most useful tools and software required for running any e-commerce enterprise.
Whether your requirements are for business-to-customer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) transactions, BigCommerce provides everything that you need to set up, grow, market, and manage your e-commerce website for CBD.
They provide software for thousands of successful e-commerce businesses, not only to sell their products but to build a brand a market to potential customers. And what’s truly great about BigCommerce is that, even if you lack the technical skills to run a webpage, it is easy to design, optimize, and manage your own e-commerce store.
And BigCommerce isn’t geared exclusively towards e-commerce newcomers. Their platform is also equipped with HTML and CSS options that experienced developers can take advantage of to add further customization to take your CBD e-commerce store to the next level.
Since 2019, Shopify has permitted CBD sales on its e-commerce platform. And, simply because Shopify is the largest e-commerce platform, with a market share of 32% , it is definitely a platform you want to consider due to the volume of potential customers that use the platform.
Unfortunately, Shopify will only allow US-based merchants to sell in certain states and has not developed attestation forms for CBD businesses operating outside of the US.
However, there are many benefits if you are eligible for the platform. You gain access to countless amazing e-commerce features that will help you to with digital operations, such as design templates, integrated shipping, and marketing .
One major drawback is that the proprietary Shopify Payment method cannot be used by e-commerce stores that sell CBD products, which means that you will need approval from a third-party payment processor.
Suppose you’re not convinced about using a subscription-based e-commerce platform for your CBD business because you’re unwilling to pay. In that case, subscription fees, give the platform a cut of your sales, or pay for transaction fees, you may be considering opting for a self-hosted e-commerce store.
If this is the case, your best option would be to use WordPress and its premier e-commerce plugin, WooCommerce. Not only is WordPress a well-established platform for building a website that is used all over the world, but it also offers even more customizability and options for building an e-commerce website for your CBD business.
The interface is relatively straightforward, and WooCommerce also offers many customizability options that make for a solid combination with WordPress. It gives you almost limitless potential. However, this also has its drawbacks.
As you probably know, websites are challenging to build, optimize, and maintain. Therefore, if you lack technical skills such as web design, web development, search engine optimization, and so on, you will not be able to create an e-commerce platform that can match a store created on Shopify or BigCommerce in terms of design and performance.
Finding a way to reach thousands of customers, avoiding downtime, and countless benefits, that using SaaS platforms provide, will be a huge expense in itself that requires a web development team, which could cost you far more than the subscription and transaction fees that Shopify and BigCommerce would take.
Therefore, it is up to you to decide whether it will be worth it to opt for the self-hosting option when it comes to your e-commerce platform for CBD.
- Learn more about using WooCommerce to sell CBD
Additional Platforms to Consider
I recently explored 2 additional platforms for online CBD sales. Wix is a hosted drag and drop website builder similar to Squarespace or Shopify and Etsy is an Amazon-like online craft store. Learn more about these options by clicking the links below.
If you’re entering the CBD industry, no question using an e-commerce platform to sell your products will be incredibly beneficial for your sales volumes and reduce many of your overhead costs. And if you’re looking for the best e-commerce platform for CBD businesses, BigCommerce and Shopify are the simplest and most logical options.
You could host your own e-commerce site on WordPress, which yields more customizable options. But, in terms of time and money, creating and maintaining your own website could cost significantly more unless you have the technical skills to do it yourself.
- Selling CBD and Hemp Online |BigCommerce
- Google searches show millions of people want to learn about CBD — here are three things you should know about it | Market Watch
- What E-Commerce Platform Should You Use for your CBD Store? | Digitawise
- 7 Surprising Stats That Show The Size of Shopify’s Market Share | Tool Tester
- Best eCommerce Platforms for Selling CBD Products | Understanding eCommerce