As the CBD retail industry continues to flourish, a whole host of CBD brands have taken the plunge to fill this lucrative space. However, sadly, quality is not always high on the agenda.
Some brands are doing great work in promoting high-quality CBD and transparent processes, while others don’t quite hit the mark. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 69% of online CBD products are mislabeled – sometimes you get a little extra CBD, sometimes a lot less. You may even get some hidden cannabinoids thrown in for good measure.
In the UK, an independent test by laboratory PhytoVista found that 45% of the CBD oils contained THC, averaging at 0.04%, making them illegal in the UK. Only 38% were within 10% of the promised CBD levels. One product even had 0% CBD!
There is clearly a lot of work to do to achieve the kind of transparency and trust that most customers seek. So, if you’re just setting out, here are a few things to think about.
1. Know the rules and regulations
Regulations and laws relating to CBD are vague at the best of times and vary from country to country. This means that it’s really important to take the time to understand your market, what you can do and what you can’t. This way you can direct your time, energy and investment in all the right places without scaring away customers or having to make costly changes later on.
2. Pick your CBD source carefully
It may sound obvious, but you need to know your CBD inside out. Where are the hemp plants grown? Are they organic? The laws and regulations about growing hemp are country or even state dependent. So, if you’re mainly selling in the US, it may be a good idea to pick a farmer in the US to ensure they comply. Likewise, in the UK, British-grown hemp could make things easier for you and reassure your customers.
Of course, you can (and may prefer to) get your hemp from oversees. Just make sure it fits with local legislation and meets your quality expectations.
3. Think quality and purity
It goes without saying that third-party testing is essential. It lets everyone know the chemical makeup of the product including the amount of CBD and absence of impurities. If you’re outsourcing your CBD, this means picking a manufacturer hot on testing that provides all the documentation (and attention to detail) to reassure you and your customer about the quality.
4. Hone your business model
So, you’ve decided to dive into CBD, but what exactly are you going to sell? Are you looking to provide an array of CBD products for different needs or specialize in just one? A wide range may well appeal to a more diverse audience, but you probably won’t have the time and resources to optimize every single one.
Another important consideration is where you want to sell. Are you going to create your own website? Set up partnerships with other websites or bricks-and-mortar boutiques? Increasingly, brands are also joining marketplaces like mellow to capitalize on the collective appeal of so many vetted brands in one place.
5. Protect what is most precious
From the moment you hit the market, one of your most valuable assets is your reputation. You won’t get very far if you aren’t perceived as trustworthy or get lots of negative customer reviews. Committing to quality with a reliable CBD source and 3rd party testing goes a long way. But it’s also a good idea to have an appealing, up-to-date website, responsive customer care team and carefully maintained (active) social media presence.
By focusing on quality, adhering to regulations, and establishing a clear business model, you’ll be ready to add a little more much-needed trust and transparency to the CBD market.
If you’re not sure where to start, or need a supportive push along the right path, don’t hesitate to contact us.