2018 was a banner year for the cannabis industry. With more countries (like Canada), and numerous states in the U.S. legalizing the sale of medical and recreational marijuana, the market is evolving rapidly. Since the laws are changing (and the federal government is looking at removing the drug from its current Schedule One positioning), this is an industry to be approached with caution to make sure you’re in tune with the constant evolution of regulations.
Many cannabis-related startups are popping up – but where to begin in terms of the company’s website if you’re planning to combine TWO golden opportunities? After all, combine one of the fastest growing industries with the world of eCommerce which has disrupted retail forever, and you’re likely to have something BIG on your hands.
Considerations if you want to sell CBD products online
If you’re building a company around CBD products that will be more of a resource, news source, or media outlet, you’ll be good to go building your site on WordPress or Squarespace. However, if you’re planning on obtaining a license to sell CBD products, and many varieties of related products online, you’ll need to invest in an eCommerce site. That’s where you’ll need to be very careful about choosing a platform.
Shopify has limitations when it comes to CBD and Hemp product based stores. They do not allow processing through their payment system, or PayPal, which is due to the strict banking regulations on cannabis companies. Numerous reports have been made about CBD stores that run on Shopify being abruptly shut down for using one of these payment processing systems. However, you can set up a Shopify store and use another payment gateway, but be sure to backup your site files in the event of a sudden shutdown from Shopify.
Another option is to bypass Shopify’s gray area entirely and utilize an open-source platform. WooCommerce or Magento are both open source options that allow you to choose your payment gateway. There are numerous gateway options that are specialized and equipped to work with high-risk products, such as CBD, such as Zodaka. Your site will be safest and secure using an open source platform, since you have the ability to customize every aspect of your functionality including the 3rd party tools and gateways you choose to use.
Cross your T’s and dot your I’s
Make sure in this market that is still a bit of a gray area, that you’re meeting all regulations on advertising and selling CBD products. The laws can vary by state in the U.S., and you don’t want your business being halted for an oversight. Once you’ve confirmed how many products you’ll have, and what your company truly needs, make sure you hire a team of well equipped developers who can help you achieve your eCommerce goals.