With increasing numbers of countries relaxing the laws around cannabis, forward-thinking entrepreneurs are exploring the possibilities of setting up cannabis-related businesses with the potential to drive high profits and impressive growth.
In the UK, the selling of most forms of cannabis is restricted but the CBD industry is going from strength to strength in part because of its widely-reported therapeutic properties. There are new CBD shops opening on a daily basis so if you are eager to make your mark in this innovative industry, now is the time to get started.
To give you an idea as to what to expect from the process, here are 5 things you will need to do when setting up your online CBD shop.
1. Name your brand and purchase a domain
Branding is important and selecting a name can be difficult. In addition to being memorable and easy to spell, your brand name should also tell your audience something about the type of products you sell.
You also need to check that your ideal domain is available before investing in a custom website and branded packaging. If possible, make sure you select a .com or a .co.uk but if neither of these are available and you don’t want to choose a different name, a .co or something similar is also acceptable.
2. Create a website
There are many ways to create a website yourself with the help of free website builder software but if you want to enjoy the benefits of a custom-built site for your business, partnering with a professional designer will ensure that your most important digital asset is equipped with all the tools and functionality needed to deliver a first-class experience to your customers. Taking this custom route will also help you to ensure that your website is compliant with the various regulations that you must adhere to when selling age-restricted products.
In addition to clearly displaying your business address and contact details, it is imperative for CBD sellers to display a legal disclaimer stating that your products are solely being sold as food supplements and are not intended for medical purposes.
3. Identify a compatible merchant provider
There are many considerations in running an online business and although some are fairly simple, there are some that can be rather more complex. Identifying a compatible merchant provider is one of the more difficult tasks you will need to navigate as a CBD retailer.
Despite the selling of CBD being a completely legal practice, some merchant providers including WorldPay and PayPal have blacklisted suppliers and retailers from their platform. During the payment process, merchant providers will shoulder the majority of the risk related to each transaction, which is why they calculate the risk levels associated with different types of businesses and deal with them accordingly.
Most businesses are categorised as being low-risk but others, such as CBD wholesale businesses, will be considered to be high-risk because of the industry they operate within or the types of products they sell.
4. Register your business
Ensuring that your business is registered with Companies House and that your corporation tax account is correctly set up will immediately give your business credibility and reassure your audience that you are running a trustworthy operation.
Completing this process can also help you to apply for your merchant account, as many will ask to see some proof of company ownership and your tax arrangements before approving your application. Additionally, some CBD suppliers will also ask to see your tax reference and company details before they will allow you to create an account with them.
5. Advertise and market your business
Setting up Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages for your business is an excellent way to start building a community around your brand. From engaging in conversation about your products with your potential customers to giving them some glimpses of what goes on behind-the-scenes of your business, there are myriad ways to use social media to increase traffic and drive sales.
Over the last few years, demand for hemp and CBD products has grown significantly in the UK and this is only set to continue as the uses for cannabis and its various derivatives are explored in more depth. From medicine and fuel to building materials and textiles, it is looking likely that all cannabis-related businesses and industries will benefit from this upward trend for some time to come. So, if you are keen to become part of this fresh and fast-paced industry, now is the time to transform your dreams into your reality.