The CBD market is booming, and it’s just getting started. As a business owner, you know to strike when the iron is hot. And there’ll never be a better time to jump into this exciting industry.
To help you set up your CBD business smoothly and efficiently, we’ve assembled this list of eight tips. Each of these tips is designed to help you choose the right way to jump into the CBD market for your particular needs and goals. Here’s the list for reference:
- Choose your retail format.
- Register your business.
- Apply for a resale license.
- Choose a web hosting platform.
- Choose a merchant processor.
- Find a supplier.
- Set up advertising and marketing initiatives.
- Start selling CBD!
1. Choose Your Retail Format
One of the most important elements of any retail business is location. In the past, location meant the difference between being on Main Street and being on a back road. Today, location is a bit more fluid, but hasn’t diminished in importance one bit.
The first and perhaps most important decision you’ll make while starting your CBD business is choosing between a brick-and-mortar location or an online presence. These two different retail modes can and should be mixed together. But for the purposes of this article, let’s take a look at the inherent advantages and disadvantages of each retail format.
Brick and Mortar
These days, brick-and-mortar stores possess an inherent marketability advantage within their community. Having a physical location during the internet retail era means more visibility in local “near me” types of searches. A local business also attracts customers who wish to have a more vibrant town and support small businesses.
A physical location also helps customers put a face to a name. If you consider yourself and your employees to be especially charismatic, that could help you succeed in a physical space, as those innate skills could be lost in an online format. Physical spaces also encourage customers to browse a lineup of products, making it easier to get them interested in something as they walk around the store.
The primary drawback to brick-and-mortar retail is a diminished sales footprint. While an online store can sell to customers across the United States, or even across the globe, brick and mortar is limited to the city or neighborhood in which the store is located.
Online retail ventures have the potential of being able to capture customers across the nation or even the globe. That increased footprint allows for a massive level of scalability, and imbues your retail operation with the ability to expand far more easily than physical locations.
Much like brick and mortar, online retail presents a unique set of challenges that you should consider before setting up shop. While it is cheaper to kick off an online retail venture, there is no sales floor in the same way that there is for physical retail. It takes a concerted and tactical SEO focused marketing effort in order to build awareness of your online store, while a physical store builds awareness through less involved methods.
Another thing to keep in mind for online CBD retail is that there are many more regulations you need to consider. Each state has its own particular rules and regulations and there are new CBD laws [Note for Upload: Link to new CBD rules page]being added to the books all the time. When working through physical retail, you are only selling products in one state, and therefore only need to adhere to the rules and regulations that state has set forth for CBD products.
Both online retail and physical retail spaces for CBD have their pros and cons. Think carefully about what type of business you want to run before locking yourself into a retail format!
2. Register Your Business
Register your business by reaching out to the relevant commerce authority in your state. Depending on the state that you are in, you may need to get special permission for the sale of CBD through the state equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and/or Department of Agriculture (USDA). To check what regulations your state has, check out our article on state specific labeling laws for CBD products.
3. Apply for a Resale License
Whether you’re pursuing physical or online retail for your store, you need to get a resale license in order to work with a wholesaler.
Most CBD wholesalers will ask for this up front, so get it beforehand to be fully prepared. Some wholesalers, such as US Hemp Wholesale, will accept the business’s EIN number as an alternative.
4. Choose a Web Hosting Platform
If you’ve taken the online route, or are just adding online sale capabilities to your physical retail location, you need to pick the right platform for your website.
Look carefully through all of your site hosting options. Many platforms have sales capabilities built in, but not all of them allow for the sale of CBD as some companies still consider CBD products to be high risk. Another thing to keep in mind is how much support you plan to have for the website. If you are a solely online business, we suggest hiring a web specialist who can maintain your site. But if you plan to run it yourself, be sure to choose a user-friendly platform for easy edits and updates.
Recently, many of our partners have had success using both Shopify and WordPress. We personally recommend using WordPress with WooCommerce, but be sure to speak with your web professional before committing to anything.
5. Choose a Merchant Processor
This step will be most important for online stores, but physical retailers should take note as well. A merchant processor will allow you to charge customers for your products.
This is where you are most likely to run into issues surrounding the sale of CBD products. Some merchant processors still consider CBD to be a high-risk product. However, companies like Square have recently come around to allowing the sale of CBD, and new merchant processors are always entering the arena. Make sure to do plenty of research on this step, and don’t be afraid to reach out to a potential merchant processor directly.
6. Find a Supplier
Once you’ve gotten all your infrastructure set up, it’s time to find a supplier. Apply for a distribution partnership with US Hemp Wholesale now to see how we can help you start your CBD business!
7. Set Up Advertising and Marketing Initiatives
Lastly, you’ll need to set up some level of advertising and marketing to raise awareness of your CBD store. If you’ve gone with a physical location, this could include park bench advertisement, billboards, sign spinners, promotional events and local sponsorships where allowed.
For those who have gone with online retail, SEO is now your best friend. Many of the platforms that control online advertising, such as Google Ads and Facebook, do not allow for the promotion of CBD products. To encourage the growth of your CBD business, start brushing up on SEO basics and consider reaching out to an SEO agency.
8. Start Selling CBD!
With the setup done and an advertising initiative on the horizon, you’re ready to start selling CBD! Contact US Hemp Wholesale today and fill out our distribution application to learn more about how we can help you set up a successful CBD business. If you have any questions, head over to our guide on how to get started selling CBD for even more information.