How to Sell CBD Online: Your Guide to Success

12min.

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How to Sell CBD Online: Your Guide to Success
05 September 2023
The global cannabidiol market is among the most rapidly growing ones, with a projected CAGR of 47.49% between 2021 and 2028 (Fortune Business Insights). It has been expanding in a blistering pace since 2014 in countries all around the world, due to the increased interests in CBD's medical, cosmetic and comestible properties. Yet, selling CBD online faces many challenges. With different legislation regulating this market in every country (or state in case of the US), and limited marketing options caused by bans or restrictions on paid CBD advertising (Google Ads, we are looking at you), it is impossible to sell cannabidiol products effectively without a deep understanding of online marketing nuances.

12min.

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Table of contents

What exactly do you need to know and how to sell CBD products online? We’re going to answer these questions here, so read on!

The Legal Considerations that You Need to Know Before Selling CBD Online

The first crucial piece of knowledge that you need to acquire is on CBD legislation. Each region may have different laws regarding the sales of CBD, and the relationship between them is often complex – for example, the Farm Bill regulates cannabinoid sales throughout the US, but each state may impose its own legislation banning or fully allowing such products. Thus, it is vital that you research the particular area that you are targeting before proceeding with starting your online CBD selling campaigns.

To understand this a bit more thoroughly, we have prepared a short overview of the laws in the major CBD markets, which you can see below.

Country/legal entityLegal actRegulationsAdditional info
USThe Farm Bill (2018)Allows the sale of hemp-derived products which contain no more than 0.3% THC in dry weight.Most states introduced further regulations, some of which made CBD products legal only on compliance with certain requirements (e.g. for medical purposes).
EUCommon Agricultural Policy (CAP)Allows the import and growing of hemp which contain less than 0.3% THC. Austria, Belgium, Finland, Malta and Portugal allow CBD usage only with medical prescription.
ChinaInventory of Existing Cosmetic Ingredients (2015)Allows the use of CBD in cosmetic products. Other uses of the substance remain illegal.Hemp-derived CBD products which contain 0% THC are legal in Hong Kong.

Apart from the legality of CBD products in every country, you also need to be aware of the labeling and product testing requirements. As an example, we will look at the US, and the elements that the labels should contain to comply with the FDA:

  • Product identity (supplement, topical oil, medicine, etc.)
  • Ingredients (all ingredients must be listed on the package)
  • Brand
  • Caution statement (information on the potential side effects of using the product)
  • Responsibility statement (information on the manufacturer, such as address, and on the product tests)
  • Expiration and manufacturing dates, uses, etc.
  • Nutrition values (for CBD edibles)
  • Disclaimers (If you claim any effects of your products not confirmed by the FDA, you must include a disclaimer informing about that)

Improper labeling may lead to numerous legal consequences: from liability issues to banning your products’ sales. Thus, you must not overlook this aspect and ensure that you comply with the regulations in power in the countries that you target.

Let’s boost your CBD business’s visibility together!

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Setting Up Your Online Store

Knowing the legal requirements, you may finally start the preparations of your store. At this point, there are three critical decisions that you have to make.

Choosing the Right E-commerce Platform

The first step is selecting the platform through which you will sell your CBD products online. The abundance of available solutions might give you a headache, so we have prepared a short list of the most popular platforms to make this choice easier for you.

  • Shopify – Being the leading US e-commerce platform, Shopify offers a wide variety of functions along with a user-friendly interface. However, it has one major drawback. While it does not ban selling CBD products, the payment methods included do not support such sales. Thus, if you select this platform, you’ll need to integrate a third-party payment solution.
  • WooCommerce – This is yet another viable option. Unlike Shopify, it offers two payment methods for selling CBD online: Square for the US and Viva Wallet for the EU. If you are hosting your site on WordPress.com or Pressable, you will be required to use either of these.
  • BigCommerce – This platform offers easy usage and omnichannel sales at a reasonable price. Similarly to WooCommerce, it also offers built-in payment methods.

Selecting a Secure Payment Method

We have already tackled this issue in the previous step, but we need to underline it further. Selling CBD online requires a secure payment gateway that accepts such transactions, thus your choice will be limited in comparison to other e-commerce services. After choosing the platform, you need to decide on the ideal payment method for your business, unless your platform supports or requires particular solutions (such as WooCommerce does).

Design and User Experience

Finally, you should come up with an attractive design that builds a positive user experience. Within such a sensitive industry, being among the YMYL pages, evoking trust is critical. For that, you need a professional visual layer, completed with pleasurable UX. What are the best practices that can help you with that?

  • Having an established UX Design process
  • Simple and consistent design
  • Ensuring the website’s accessibility
  • Regular testing

How to Make Money Selling CBD? SEO Best Practices

After setting up your online store, the next natural step is promoting it. Gaining visibility and attracting customers requires various marketing efforts, but the options are often limited due to the nature of the industry. Yet, there are actions that you may undertake to improve the visibility of your store, namely: SEO.

CBD SEO is an effective solution to the maladies related to restricted paid advertising. With it, you can lift your website to #1 in SERPs, thus attracting organic traffic and increasing sales significantly, without worrying about the lack of advertising campaigns. Which elements should CBD SEO include?

  • Keyword research specific to the CBD industry – With the right keywords, you will be able to attract users who look for CBD products online. Search volume, difficulty, competition, your resources – all of that matters and has to be taken into consideration during this process.
  • On-page SEO – Ranking high doesn’t guarantee that the users will convert immediately, nor that they will even enter your website. For that, you need properly optimized and engaging meta tags, product descriptions and other content.
  • Off-page SEOSEO for a cannabis website does not include working purely on-page. Backlinks are crucial for improving your topical authority and, thus your rank. Selling CBD online stumbles upon one additional obstacle here – not every site is willing to host cannabis-related content. Therefore, you need professional experience not only to create quality backlinks but also to know where to post them.

Content Marketing for CBD

Content marketing is another effective measure to increase the number of CBD products sold online. Valuable and engaging texts are what attracts visitors to your website, but also what can lead them from their initial, informational, or commercial intent into a transactional one.

There are many myths circulating around CBD, therefore your content should be aimed at dispelling them. Educating people is an excellent way to both underline your expertise in the topic and encourage users to make a purchase. For that, you should focus on topics such as:

  • The benefits of CBD
  • How-to guides
  • Reports on new CBD research and findings

Remember that the word content isn’t reserved purely for articles. Videos, infographics, and podcasts will diversify your communication and attract additional users. With a proper content plan, you will be able to generate even more organic traffic and mold it into conversions.

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Navigating Advertising Restrictions

Many CBD manufacturers and retailers ask themselves the following question: “How to sell CBD online if I cannot advertise?” This is indeed a problem, since CBD is among the content restricted by Google Ads (except for under 0.3% THC content products in California, Colorado, and Puerto Rico), while there is little-to-no chance that your Instagram or Facebook ads will be approved. Additionally, even if you have chances to post your advertisements on one of the abovementioned platforms, you may still need to get proper certification, acquiring of which might be time-consuming and exhaustive. But, maybe you can do something with that?

The alternatives mainly include different social media, such as TikTok, LinkedIn (mainly for B2B), X (former Twitter), or Snapchat. However, you need to check the local advertising policies for each of these platforms to ensure that it is a viable option.

You may also utilize e-mail marketing – using personalized e-mails to promote new content on your website’s blog or new products in your online store. Finally, influencer marketing will also be an excellent option. However, in this case, you need to take one additional factor into consideration – the platform that the influencer operates on. If it doesn’t allow CBD-related content, such a cooperation may be ineffective.

Conclusions

How to sell CBD products online? Firstly, you need to understand the legal state of cannabinoids in the countries that you target. Then, you have to choose the right e-commerce platform with a secure payment method. Finally, it’s time for advertising. Although promoting your CBD products might be demanding, with the likes of SEO and alternative advertising platforms, you will quickly attract new customers.

And, if you are looking for a professional team with extensive experience in the CBD industry, drop us a line and learn how we can help you increase your e-commerce’s online visibility!

References:
https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/cannabidiol-cbd-market-103215

Author
Author
Adrian Mrozowski

Junior Content Specialist

Author
Author
Adrian Mrozowski

Junior Content Specialist

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Award - Deloitte 2021 Award - European eCommerce Awards 2022 Award - European Search Awards 2022 Award - Global Agency Awards 2022 Award - IPMA Award - US Search Awards 2021

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