Could CBD Save Traditional Retail?

With 76% of consumers doing their shopping online it is no wonder longstanding brick and mortar stores are struggling to stay open or closing their doors entirely. It seems that anything and everything is available for purchase online, with options to have items delivered or pick them up in-store. Although the majority of consumers are shopping online, only 10% of consumer spending is done online, suggesting that large, expensive purchases are still happening in retail stores. 

Consumers have the world at their fingertips, although many individuals have discovered that there are some things you shouldn’t trust when buying online, including CBD. 

Online Shopping by the Numbers

A 2019 poll by Marist College and National Public Radio (NPR) shows that 53% of all online purchases are made on a mobile device and this number is expected to rise 56% by 2022, hitting $2.9 billion in revenue. Lewis Peters, SEO Executive for Online Turf stated, “Mobile traffic is becoming more prevalent as more users choose mobile devices such as phones and tablets over traditional desktop computers. This means ensuring your website is functional, looks great, and converts well on mobile is crucial for eCommerce success in 2019.”

The poll also found that social media influenced 87% of online shoppers and swayed their decision to buy different advertised products. Tim Trampedach, CEO of Torqued stated, “Social media is critical to online sales. You have to find organic brand integrations, especially with YouTube and Instagram influencers. The disclosure requirements for social media ads and sponsored posts are starting to change, although it doesn’t seem to impact effectiveness or customers’ perceptions seeing that something sponsored.”

It may be beneficial for brick and mortar stores to have an online presence to ensure continued sales. This will allow traditional retailers to build brand awareness online, as well as offer a retail space where customers can check out products in person. 

First Stop: Amazon

When shopping online, 44% of consumers start with an Amazon search, while only 33% begin by searching Google for their desired product. Alternately, only 10% of consumers begin their search on a specific retailer’s website. In the 2019 poll by Marist College and NPR, 66% of consumers reported that they had purchased one or more products off Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer. 

Here’s the rub, Amazon does not sell CBD products as they are a prohibited item as per their restricted products policy, a list of which can be found on Amazon’s website. Many consumers turn to Amazon in hopes of getting reasonably priced CBD oil, but are sorely disappointed when they receive hemp oil in the mail. This also holds true for many other online retailers who market CBD products, but in fact, sell hemp seed oil. 

When buying CBD products, it is crucial to buy lab-tested, quality-assured products that have been checked for purity. Big retailers such as Sephora are making their foray into the world of CBD products and offer a health and beauty line that contains CBD infused products. Other big retail giants such as CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart are also following suit and stocking CBD products, ranging from oils to topicals, on their store shelves. 

Brick and mortar stores offer a physical space for consumers to handle products and discover emerging brands in an ever-changing market. Stores also allow consumers to read labels, review product testing and speak to sales representatives about the products they are purchasing. 

Customer Service Sets Retail Stores Apart

The one main thing individuals do not receive when buying products online is good customer service. Not the wait on the phone to listen to a recording customer service, but actual face to face interaction with a salesperson who is knowledgeable about the products they are selling. 

CBD products are new to the market and many individuals have questions regarding the use of CBD and what products are available, how to use them, and what the benefits are. Individuals who have the option of buying CBD in a retail store, such as Sephora, will likely have a better experience and feel positive about the products they purchase. Consumers who choose to buy CBD online must cross their fingers and hope they are getting the product that was advertised online. 

Try this. Go online and perform a Google search for CBD oil, then take a close look at the results. How many products are actually hemp seed-based as opposed to CBD based? How many products provide lab testing results to confirm the potency and purity of the product? Due to some very grey areas surrounding the marketing of CBD, many products are misbranded as CBD when they are actually hemp-based and contain no CBD. This can be frustrating as a consumer who is looking for quality CBD products. 

CBD Has the Potential to Boost Retail Sales

CBD products continue to gain popularity as more and more individuals discover its benefits and health applications. Although CBD products are sold over-the-counter and online, it is still important to understand the product being consumed. As CBD is generally used for health applications it is important to ensure a pure, potency-confirmed product is being used. This will produce the best results for the money. 

Retail giants that offer CBD products will likely see a boost in sales revenue as more customers seek quick, easy, and transparent access to the product they desire. It is critical for retail stores to retain knowledgeable staff who understand the intricacies of CBD and the products they sell. This will ensure that retail stores can compete with the online CBD market. 

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