Which platform will you use?
Creating your online store will be one of your top priorities. Choosing a platform will be a decision you will need to make early on. Shopify or WordPress are considered to be the top content management systems for creating online stores.
However, when it comes to CBD products, this decision can in part be made by default. You can use Shopify only if you are selling a hemp derived product. Hemp is legal in the USA, and therefore, hemp derived products with low THC can be legally sold across all fifty states.
Shopify states that:
‘Shopify only permits the sale of CBD products lawfully derived from “hemp” as defined in the 2018 Farm Bill and that meet the definition of “hemp” as a finished product. Merchants are not permitted to sell products containing CBD derived from marijuana. All sales of hemp and/or hemp-derived CBD products on Shopify must comply with all laws and regulations that apply in the jurisdiction where the merchant operates, as well as those in the jurisdiction of the merchant’s customers. Merchants should consult with an attorney before selling a product on Shopify.’
To read in full
Using Shopify for your hemp derived CBD product
The pluses and minuses of Shopify
- Shopify was created for e-commerce
- Shopify is easy to set up and easy to use
- You basically choose a template and then upload your images and write your text
- You don’t need to know how to code
- The templates are responsive-meaning they look good across all devices
- Shopify apps – these are akin to plug-ins on WordPress and will need to be installed for your store to run optimally. You will need to pay for them, though some are initially free.
- The templates are pretty basic, even though you can customize them.
- You don’t own your site. Shopify owns it. That means Shopify can remove portions of your content or your entire website
- SEO capability -This is the stuff that gets you found and it is not as developed as WordPress
- It can get quite pricey, raging from Lite at $9 per month to Plus at $2000 per month
Remember -You still might want to hire an expert to put it together if you are not visually adept. You will certainly want a professional to write your product descriptions. Keywords and long tailed keywords need to be researched thoroughly and incorporated into your content. Furthermore, there are certain words that appeal particularly to various demographics and trigger emotions which lead to conversions. Think of the way Realtors use words, like Home and not house, to get a feeling for this.
You will definitely need a professional photographer to shoot images of your product and of models using that product. At the very least, you will need someone with a design background to pick the most evocative stock images that will appeal to your target audiences.
Using WordPress to sell your CBD product
The Pluses and Minuses of using WordPress to sell your CBD product
- Your product can be derived from the marijuana plant
- You own your website
- It’s incredibly flexible and customizable. It can be built out have a unique look and function
- Its SEO capabilities are killer
- A third of all websites on the Internet are powered by WordPress and Google favors it over any other content management system
- Many plugins are free
- It’s open source and won’t disappear as a platform, whereas companies like Wix, Shopify and Squarespace can.
- It has foreign language capabilities
- You’ll have to pay for a hosting plan, domain registration and a premium theme (there are free themes as well). Most reputable hosts include a security certificate
- There’s a learning curve. However, contrary to popular belief you can use plugins and page builders ( in lieu of coding) which have enormous functionality and fabulous features
- You’ll have to make sure the pages are responsive and look and function well across all devices since 50% of all searches start on smart phones
- You will need to use a plugin like WooCommerce to make your store functional .
Remember, you don’t need a costly bespoke website. There are thousands of WordPress themes that are amazing and can be built to look super unique. You do need to put your money into content and SEO. As search engines get smarter, your SEO isn’t limited to some technical stuff on the developer end or a bunch of stuffed keywords. It is derived from the actual writing and images that appear on your pages and solve the end user’s problem.
My advice, hire a pro.
Compare the fresh, clean look of the following with outdated, busy, brand skincare websites:
- Skin Dope – bright, fresh, infused with a sunny palette of fresh yellows. oranges and greens. This site was built on Shopify. Notice how big the product images are. Nothing is crammed on to the site. All the images are perfectly integrated into the overall page design and the text on the Home page is minimal, while the font is super clean and easy to read. Each product image opens to its own page and contains a description of the product. This is great for SEO and much more user friendly than placing all relevant information on the home page.
- Lord Jones was also built on Shopify.
- The CBD Skincare Company was built on WordPress with Woocommerce. Again super clean with large product images that open to their own page.
- Vertly–is built on WordPress. Green and clean.
You will be marketing your product to a certain segment of the population. To understand the needs of your demographic, please read our previous article on branding and marketing your product.
What you will need to focus on
Regardless of the platform you choose for your CBD product, you will need to have the following in order to be competitive:
- Photographs of your product
- Live action shots of models using your product
- Content writing, especially product descriptions
- Longtail keywords that make you competitive
- Emotionally loaded keywords that appeal to your target audience
My CBD Website
To satisfy your customers and search engines your e-commerce website will need to have / comply with the following criteria:
- User friendly and easy to navigate
- Multiple payment options
- Newsletter sign up
- Social media links
- Product images
- FAQ section/ shipping information/ return policy/ tracking information
- Product reviews
- Site map
- Search features
- Contact information
- Product pages and related products
- Shopping cart and checkout
As well as all of the back end tools you will need to track information and run the site properly.
Your website is the foundation of your brand
If you are going to be an entrepreneur, you must invest in a website. It is the foundation of your brand and has to function as your online store.
Your off page activities, meaning everything you do to network and promote your product, is meant to drive traffic to your website to make conversions.
Put your money into creating great content and a user friendly design.
To get a great e-commerce website:
- If you don’t know anything about e-commerce, website design, product branding, marketing, or content creation, hire an expert who can help you
- Choose the best platform for your purposes
- Get your products photographed professionally
- Find a content writer who will know how to describe your products for maximum appeal and SEO
- Make sure your website meets the above described criteria
- Clean, contemporary, minimalist, bright, friendly and suggestive of health and well-being is the way to go. Busy, hot pink, purple, black and white, crammed with products, offers, discounts, information and with competing fonts is yesterday’s design.