American eCommerce merchants currently navigating the complicated cannabidiol regulatory environment can take a breath of fresh air now that Shopify offers new features designed to provide an unhindered platform experience, despite the divisive nature of the industry.
As of September 17th 2019, Shopify has asserted its position on retail embracing the projected $22 billion by 2022 CBD industry. This represents a big step forward for removing the stigma surrounding cannabis products and an acknowledgement of their benefit beyond that of a controlled substance.
“We aren’t really getting into the CBD business, CBD is getting into the retail business.”
CBD oil can be formulated to treat specific ailments and packaged and consumed in numerous ways that are ideal for easy shipment and distribution. These range from topical creams to edibles and capsules all the way to drops for pain relief for pets. This makes it a focus for burgeoning brands like Green Roads World which are hoping to contribute to its mainstream expansion.
In our eCannabis article back in March, we discussed the potential for selling CBD products online but also touched on the primary barriers that might prevent growth in eCommerce for CBD. Most important were the reluctance of payment gateways to cooperate with cannabis businesses due to the implications, and the challenge of ensuring that product would only be distributed amongst legal states.
With the cannabis industry thriving online and offline in Canada, Shopify recognizes the opportunity of offering a full-scale eCommerce solution within the USA as well. However, it does present unique challenges while the substance is still illegal in certain regions, most notably payment and fulfillment solutions.
“Shopify’s platform is already widely used for online sales of recreational cannabis in Canada, where the drug was legalized 11 months ago. Government-run websites in several provinces including Ontario and British Columbia, as well as private companies like Canopy Growth Corp., Aurora Cannabis Inc. and Hexo Corp., use Shopify’s point-of-sale system.”
[Business of Fashion, 2019]
Shopify has taken on these issues head on and offers solutions for safe, secure payments and avoiding any unintentional repercussions that might arise from selling outside legal states.
Strategic partnerships with payment gateways that show a willingness to work within the potentially labile eCommerce CBD industry serve to solidify Shopify’s confidence in offering the best eCommerce platform to help CBD brands grow.
This was a major headache previously due to the hesitation from major credit card providers to offer their services out of fear of alienating valued customers or tarnishing their brand image.
Automating location-based settings will take an enormous weight off businesses shoulders through avoiding the need to keep track of where every order is going. Keeping sales within legal boundaries is crucial for CBD brands to maintain an image and continue expanding.
The only way is up for legal CBD sales in North America. US businesses can look forward to more lenient and permissive regulations going forward that will pose greater opportunity and healthy competition.
Capturing payment and monitoring distribution were two major hurdles, but with the commitment from Shopify, brands will be equipped to capitalize on the rapidly growing industry.
SmartOSC is a proud Shopify Plus partner with expertise in all corners of the North American eCommerce market. Contact us today to see how your CBD businesses can benefit from the proper platform and direction.