Shopify says Yes to CBD
Big news for US-based CBD retailers and merchants! Shopify announced new features that will now allow hemp-derived CBD to be sold on the platform. The commerce platform powers more than 800,000 merchants around the globe. Hemp-derived CBD merchants in the U.S. can finally use their services to drive and grow their businesses.
We covered the CBD industry’s struggles in our recent article about BigCommerce Goes Green. To sum it all up, it’s been tough to merchandise any product containing CBD in the US. Despite the removal of hemp from the Controlled Substances Act last year through the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (the Farm Bill), producers and merchants of hemp-derived CBD products still have to face many challenges, especially when it comes to securing payment partners.
But things seem to be changing. Or at least moving in the right direction. Seeing Shopify open its doors to CBD is undoubtedly a sign that the CBD market landscape is slowly but surely becoming mainstream. The formidable commerce platform has a wide variety of powerful commerce and marketing tools that will help position merchants for growth and success. Some of the features include:
Online Store Design Experience
Reliable Payment and Shipping Providers
Customizable Shipping Profiles
It’s worth noting that Shopify Payments is not presently available for Hemp or CBD products. Instead, Shopify has partnered up with third-party payment gateway vendors and shipping providers to assist merchants with payment processing. Currently, some of the third-party payment gateways merchants are DigiPay and eMerchant Brokers. However, merchants are not limited to these suggested partners and are able to use any third-party payment provider as long as they are Shopify integrated and support CBD sales. You can learn more about selling hemp-derived products Shopify here.
In a quote from an article in Business Wire, “Shopify has unmatched expertise in emerging industries, along with the resources merchants need to be successful in the fast-growing market of hemp-derived CBD products in the U.S.” said Harley Finkelstein, COO of Shopify. "Shopify's reliable technology and extensive partner network means that businesses can ride the wave of demand for these products and give consumers more choice.”
We reached out to Shopify to learn more about this new door they have opened to CBD merchants and what it means for everyone involved.
What prompted Shopify to extend its services to the CBD industry in the US?
“As a result of the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in December 2018, properly sourced and processed hemp-derived CBD is no longer classified as a controlled substance under U.S. federal law, providing a legal pathway for businesses to sell select hemp and hemp-derived CBD products for the first time. We’re excited to be one of the first commerce platforms powering businesses that sell hemp and hemp-derived CBD products in the United States.”
What are some of the challenges you see in the CBD industry when it comes to merchandising and eCommerce?
“Merchants can take advantage of Shopify’s powerful retail operating system to design, set up, and manage their stores across multiple sales channels, including mobile, web, marketplaces, brick-and-mortar locations, and pop-up shops. Regulated products like hemp-derived CBD need strong commerce capabilities to make the transition into retail."
"All Shopify merchants can access our ecosystem of partners and service providers; however, merchants who intend to sell hemp-derived CBD products should always confirm directly with these partners and service providers that they're able to support CBD products.”
How does Shopify support its merchants? How are your solutions different from your competitors?
“Our tools are shared in our press release here. One thing we like to stress is that merchants can get started quickly upon completing our attestation form. Shopify’s Attestation for the Sale of Hemp and Hemp-Derived Products outlines the requirements for merchants selling hemp and/or hemp-derived CBD products on our platform. By filling out the form, merchants confirm that they understand the requirements for selling hemp and/or hemp-derived CBD products on Shopify, and attest that they will comply with those requirements.”
One of the significant challenges CBD business owners have faced has been regarding securing payment solutions. How does Shopify plan on dealing with that?
“Shopify merchants selling CBD can use payment providers that support the sale of certain hemp or CBD products in permitted states. Shopify merchants can apply directly to any of these gateways, including eMerchant Brokers, DigiPay and Authorize.net. Shopify Payments is not available to CBD merchants at this time. We’re exploring ways to enable Shopify Payments and continue lowering the barrier to entrepreneurship.”
Lastly, what are your thoughts and hopes for the SAFE Banking Act? If passed, how do you think it will affect CBD eCommerce?
“If passed, we know that the barrier of entrepreneurship will lower in the CBD industry. We're continuing to monitor and build powerful tools to support merchants whether or not it passes.”