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Diff Blog

CBD & Shopify: The Time is Now

Merchants have been clamoring with questions about how they can carve out a piece of the burgeoning CBD market. We’ve never been more excited to announce that the solution is finally here and the time to seize the opportunity is now. Starting today, September 17th 2019, diff and Shopify are officially extending our services to merchants selling hemp or hemp-derived CBD products operating in the U.S. (where permitted by state and local laws).

As an agency with extensive experience in regulated industries in Canada, we are thrilled to see Shopify expand into this growing market, and to help CBD merchants grow successful online businesses supported by the best ecommerce platform on the market. With Shopify services now available to CBD merchants in the USA, we’re ready to guide businesses in leveraging our technology best practices for this vertical.

Over the last 1- 2 years, there’s been an immense market opportunity developing in the CBD space, and we are highly anticipating its evolution both within brick-and-mortar stores  and ecommerce. The collective market for CBD sales is estimated to surpass $20 billion by 2024, according to Forbes. Acknowledging this opportunity we’re working with merchants to capture market share and also create a conversation with the end-customer to educate them on this new product category in a way that promotes public safety and supports the continued expansion of the market.

Diff’s experience in this space spans working with many of the largest regulated industries companies in the world, government entities, and start-up brands. As the CBD market is experiencing rapid growth, it’s becoming a gold rush scenario where many merchants are trying to establish themselves in the market at the same time. Those who distinguish themselves from the pack early on will surely have the most to gain as the market for the new product swells.

Challenges that regulated industries merchants face: 

Merchants who sell products that fall within regulated industries have a specific set of considerations that are integral to the success of their business. The stakes for compliance have never been higher and missteps can be costly. Luckily, Diff’s experience in supporting ecommerce businesses operating in Canada’s regulated industries has well equipped us with the skills necessary to aid our clients through this complicated, but rewarding market.

Here are some of the specific challenges that I’ve noted clients face in regulated industries: 

  • CBD marketing 

  • Regulated industries come with a specific set of marketing best practices that merchants should be aware of and adhere to. For example, it can be complicated to sort out exactly what claims a merchant can make relating to their CBD products. Another hurdle I’ve noticed is that because CBD falls into a new product category, many customers require detailed explanations about the product’s benefits to identify whether it suits their particular needs.

  • Social misconceptions

  • There are many misconceptions about the ingredients, production, and function of CBD products which can result in apprehensive customers and make CBD marketing a challenge. Common misconceptions include the assumption that the product has psychoactive effects, or that it offers zero wellness benefits. CBD merchants must be aware of the scope of misconceptions relating to their products, and focus on a marketing strategy that actively challenges them as well as promotes public safety through education.

  • Government alignment

  • In the USA, government regulations relating to CBD will differ from state to state, and so CBD merchants on Shopify must remain well educated as to the status of these regulations, both in their home state and in states they ship product into. It’s important to routinely research regulations in case of updates or changes to avoid legal penalties. 

  • Technology barriers

  • Technology remains a hurdle that needs to be overcome regardless of any product that you sell. Having crafted user experiences that convert in this field, we’re aware of the unique challenges faced by CBD merchants. For example, organizing all of the data on the back-end that’s required to provide customers with an amazing user experience can be tricky, from both a content creation and management perspective. Luckily, Shopify does a lot of the heavy lifting for merchants and allows us to focus our efforts on the fine tuning that truly drive efficiencies to your business.

    Reap the rewards of selling CBD online

    At the moment, CBD is a tough market to navigate, but Shopify standing behind it gives an advantage to merchants pioneering the sale of CBD online. Finally, the world’s fastest growing ecommerce platform has entered the CBD market. If you’re in the CBD business, this is the moment your website has been waiting for.

    Are you ready to start selling CBD? Looking for guidance? 
    Get in touch with Diff. 


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