With all the ready-made online stores and integrations available, it can be challenging to determine the right CBD eCommerce platform for your business.
Some eCommerce solutions are CBD-friendly, while others are not. Plus, a huge piece of making sales on your online store is how you choose to process and accept payments.
But you can’t always process CBD payments on eCommerce platforms. Oftentimes, you have to select a third-party CBD payment processor, merchant account, and payment gateway that integrates with your online store.
So what’s the best eCommerce platform for CBD products?
Which CBD eCommerce solution provides the best online store experience AND the ability to accept credit card payments and ACH?
Let’s compare your options.
Self-Hosted vs. Hosted CBD eCommerce Platforms
When it comes to building and hosting your online CBD store, you have two options:
- Self-hosted Content Management System (CMS) with an eCommerce plugin
- Off-the-shelf, hosted SaaS solution
There are upsides and downsides to both eCommerce options.
Let’s first cover the pros and cons of using a CMS such as Wordpress for your eCommerce shop.
Wordpress + WooCommerce for CBD Sales
Wordpress is a popular website builder for businesses of all types and sizes.
It’s highly customizable with endless software plugins to solve all kinds of CBD eCommerce and marketing needs. There is also a growing number of CBD Wordpress template choices you can choose from.
But Wordpress isn’t a native eCommerce solution. So you’ll need a plugin such as WooCommerce to sell CBD oil and cannabis-derived products.
And although WooCommerce is a powerful eCommerce platform, it has limited customer support.
So using Wordpress + WooCommerce often requires experienced web designers and developers to customize your eCommerce store and integrate any add-ons your business needs.
You’ll also have to get separate CBD website hosting and a secure SSL certificate when using Wordpress + WooCommerce.
As such, it can get expensive to set up your CBD oil WordPress theme and WooCommerce CBD payment processing, especially if you want to kick start a small operation such as a CBD home business.
There are other CMS websites besides WordPress that are great for beginners and non-coders. BUT they may not allow you to sell CBD.
For example, selling CBD on Wix isn’t allowed. You also can NOT sell CBD on SquareSpace.
So, in short, using a self-hosted CMS is often not the best eCommerce platform for CBD. Why? Because eCommerce is an afterthought when you choose a CBD WordPress theme and tack on WooCommerce.
As such, many folks opt to use a hosted SaaS solution that’s specifically designed for eCommerce.
Hosted CBD eCommerce Platforms
Shopify and BigCommerce are two popular hosted eCommerce platforms today.
And as of September 17, 2019, you can sell hemp and hemp-derived CBD on Shopify in locations permitted by law. You can also sell CBD on BigCommerce.
So which platform is better?
Shopify tends to have far better design options, security features, and customization flexibility.
The downsides of using a hosted eCommerce platform like Shopify or BigCommerce is that you don’t technically own the software.
Instead, you pay a monthly fee for hosting, maintenance, support, and security. But this fee also ensures the protection and round-the-clock functioning of your online CBD store.
Speaking of fees, you can see in the table below that both Shopify and BigCommerce have a variety of options to meet any budget.
Both hosted CBD eCommerce platforms also have free trials so you can try them out before committing.
But if you’re just starting your online store and don’t need all the bells and whistles, Shopify has a cheaper basic plan to get you up and moving.
CBD-Friendly Payment Gateways and Merchant Accounts
Not all payment processors and gateways allow CBD transactions.
According to the PayPal CBD policy, for example, you cannot sell CBD/HEMP products online or offline. Square also doesn’t allow CBD sales.
Shopify uses Stripe to process payments. But according to the current Stripe CBD policy, Stripe does NOT allow CBD sales. At least, not yet anyway.
Since Stripe CBD payments are not yet permitted, you have to select and apply for a high-risk merchant account provider and third-party CBD payment gateway Shopify works with to safely and securely complete CBD eCommerce sales.
Getting the green light from a CBD merchant account Shopify integrates with will allow you to transmit and process credit cards and ACH.
So what are your Shopify CBD payment processing options? Authorize.net, DigiPay, and eMerchant Brokers have all partnered with Shopify to process CBD eCommerce transactions.
But each CBD payment processor Shopify integrations have different approval requirements. So you have to apply through the dedicated Shopify links: Authorize.net, DigiPay, and eMerchant Brokers.
You should also check out Payment Cloud CBD merchant processing. It’s an all-in-one merchant services solutions. The company provides full-service payment processing, payment gateway set up, and integration with Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, Volusion, BigCommerce, and many other eCommerce platforms.
If you go with Shopify, make sure you do your homework to minimize CBD processing fees. Shopify charges an extra processing fee for CBD sales because you have to get a third-party payment gateway and high-risk merchant account.
BigCommerce also integrates with a number of CBD payment processors. Plus, you won’t be charged an extra fee when you process BigCommerce CBD transactions.
BUT as previously mentioned, Shopify offers significantly more design and software features compared to BigCommerce.
And if choose Wordpress for your eCommerce store, WooCommerce CBD payment gateways: NMI Payments, Organic Payment Gateways, Zodaka WooCommerce, and Allied CardPay.
Organic Payment Gateways is another WooCommerce CBD payment gateway for Wordpress sites. But again, eCommerce is an afterthought with Wordpress sites.
Which eCommerce Platform Has the Software Integrations You Need?
Your eCommerce store is just one part of your online enterprise.
You’ll also need an eCommerce platform that has solutions for inventory management, shipping, CRM, CBD marketing, sales reporting, accounting, etc.
So What’s the Best eCommerce Platform for CBD?
Which eCommerce solution is right for you when accounting for functionality and payment processing?
It really all depends on your business goals and add-on software needs.
But when it all comes down to it, going with Shopify may be your safest bet.
Although you’ll have to get a third-party merchant account and pay a fee for payment processing, you get peace of mind that your site will be secure.
Your Shopify CBD eCommerce site will also have blazing-fast loading speed and endless customization potential.
Plus, Shopify offers an in-store point-of-sale system as well as location-based settings.
By only authorizing sales in states where CBD is legal, you don’t have to worry about breaking any laws when selling CBD on Shopify.
And once you’ve selected your self-hosted or hosted solution, be sure to compare the fee structures and CBD merchant account reviews of payment processors that integrate with your platform.
After all, being able to efficiently and cost-effectively accept payments has a HUGE impact on the profitability of your CBD eCommerce site.
What CBD eCommerce platform and payment processor are you planning on using?
Leave your comments below!????