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Cannabis eCommerce Websites: 5 Must-Have Features

Independent eCommerce Platform

When deciding how to sell cannabis online, retailers can either use a third-party marketplace or have their own eCommerce website. In the long run, owning an independent eCommerce platform is certainly a better option than using a marketplace. Having your own cannabis eCommerce website gives you complete control over the design, product information, and branding. Unlike a third-party marketplace that offers little room for customization. Another valuable benefit is that you can market it directly to online visitors and existing customers and build brand loyalty.

Data Ownership For Building Relationships

To market your online cannabis platform directly to your target demographics, it’s essential to have access to their contact details. This is not possible when you use third-party marketplace platforms. With an independent eCommerce platform, you will not just own your website. But also all customer information and other relevant data to help you create innovative marketing campaigns. And further, offer a more personalized online customer experience. Through email marketing and loyalty program communications. You can keep your customers regularly engaged with your brand and grow your business. Grow by building long-lasting relationships.

Mobile and SEO-friendly Website

These days, consumers regularly use their smartphones to search the web and make online purchases. Hence, your eCommerce website must function properly not just on desktops but on mobile devices as well. You must avoid using an iFrame embedded menu. Employed by many third-party marketplaces, as Google won’t crawl or index your website. To ensure that your online cannabis store is discoverable. Further, use an advanced native eCommerce solution that aids in building SEO authority. If your chosen solution offers the ability to create content. Then you can also capitalize on SEO best practices to improve the flow of organic traffic to your website.

Age-Gating and Compliance Features

If you’re selling products online that have legal age restrictions, then an age-gate on your website is a must. This is not just a compliance requirement, but it also demonstrates your commitment to not exposing cannabis to minors. Many regulatory authorities are mandating more robust online age-gating measures beyond a simple “Are you 21+ yes or no” pop-up. It’s essential to choose a solution that offers the functionalities for you to comply with the laws. Your cannabis eCommerce store also has must-have features that allow for compliance with legal purchase limits. In addition to any other online regulations within your state or province.

Integration with POS and Cannabis Ecosystem

Most importantly, your chosen eCommerce solution must integrate seamlessly with your POS system. This is for further efficient inventory management, transactions, and payment processing. Ensure that you are using an advanced cannabis POS system that syncs with leading cannabis tech ecosystem solutions. So that you can streamline your online business and maintain a recurring revenue stream from it. For a seamless shopping experience, your customers should be able to browse the website. Then, place an order, pay online and request pickup or delivery.

WJ Media Group

Here at WJ Media Group, we provide the services cannabis companies need to successfully market their company. We have a broad education in cannabis marketing and work with multiple different companies currently. Further, contact us here or at (732) 670-6402.

Cannabis Marketing & SEO in 2022

Organic Traffic is Your Best Friend

Paid search is usually an obvious channel for eCommerce companies to invest in.

Unfortunately, it’s not the best option if you intend on targeting a lot of popular cannabis-related products.

Google categorizes cannabis as a “dangerous product” under the subcategory “Recreational drugs”, which it defines as:

“Ads for substances that alter mental state for the purpose of recreation or otherwise induce ‘highs’”

It specifically mentions “marijuana” as one of these drugs and even those that provide “legal highs”. Cannabis-derived CBD is out; hemp-derived CBD is OK, as long as you don’t mention it.

Therefore, if you’re trying to sell products for the “recreational use” of cannabis, you’re out of luck with Google Ads.

Google-owned YouTube is no different. Over time, it has relaxed its stance on weed-related content. If your videos push the boundaries regarding illegal activities, expect YouTube to take action.

And even if you play it straight with your videos, you can’t link to your website in the description if you sell products. Growers, cultivators, and distributors of cannabis products. Obviously, ads for these products are a no-go, too.

Facebook isn’t a fan of marijuana, either. You definitely can’t run ads for your cannabis products on this platform. You can further try to start pages around marijuana but expect Facebook to take those down pretty quickly. Unless you make a “lifestyle” page about more general topics and only post about marijuana occasionally. You’ll eventually attract the wrong kind of attention from Facebook.

That may not always be the case, but this kind of volatility makes the social media giant a poor choice for cannabis companies looking for reliable marketing ROIs.

Use “Cannabis SEO” to Attract Traffic to Your Site

So, the name of the game is “cannabis SEO”. A term that has grown in popularity as more and more companies realize they’ll need to focus mainly on organic traffic to find new customers online.

But before you go pursuing SEO for your cannabis products, be sure to check with your hosting provider to make sure they don’t have any rules against talking about the drug on sites they support. It’s becoming less and less common these days. Even though you should double-check before putting “cannabis” and “marijuana” everywhere on your eCommerce website. Otherwise, you could find out the hard way that your provider will pull hosting for selling these products.

Otherwise, the trick of cannabis SEO is that it’s pretty much the same as the traditional version

As such, you’ll need to do your keyword research and then create relevant service/product pages and blog posts around them.

Fortunately, the cannabis industry has come such a long way that there are plenty of websites out there already generating plenty of traffic. Use competitor analysis to see what’s working for their SEO campaigns and you can reap the same results. Further avoiding going through the same amount of trial-and-error.

While content marketing may be necessary to hit all of your cannabis SEO goals. Prior to creating your category pages, make sure you have SEO-friendly product descriptions. Depending on how competitive your piece of the industry is, this may be enough to start seeing results relatively quickly. You can always go back and create blog posts later.

But Don’t Completely Give Up on Paid Ads

Now, as long as you’re not selling products that customers could use to ingest cannabis, you may be able to use Google Ads to advertise your products.

You still can’t use terms like “cannabis” and “weed” in the text for your ads or on their corresponding landing pages, but Google will let you target these kinds of queries.

Ads show up. They just don’t mention any unapproved terms.
Most buyers in this industry are savvy enough to know what kinds of products they need even if their pages don’t have “MARIJUANA” flashing in big green lights.

Interestingly enough, it looks like a lot of relevant terms carry fairly low average CPCs, too. Given how much ambiguity there is around using PPC ads for cannabis, I guess this shouldn’t be too surprising, though.

Market Yourself on The Right Platform

You can build your company’s reputation within the legalized marijuana market by submitting blog posts to relevant industry websites.

As with other elements of SEO, this approach is nothing new. Guest posting has been an important strategy for years.

The big advantage you have as a manufacturer of cannabis products is that this industry is still relatively new, meaning there may be a huge demand for your expertise without the corresponding supply.

For example, if your company sells packaging supplies, you probably know a thing or two that growers who are new to the business would be excited to learn about.

You could blog about this topic on your own site, but when you’re just starting out, you may see a lot more value by offering this guest post to an industry site that gets significantly more traffic. Not only will you earn a helpful backlink. You’ll also put your company in front of all of those prospects who regularly visit – and trust – that site for information about their industry.

Networking

Still, if your company is new to the industry, it could be extremely helpful for your marketing goals to attend trade shows and other events. Aside from meeting with potential customers face-to-face, you can also learn about their unique needs.

This approach can prove especially helpful for B2B cannabis companies as some of your prospects’ demands may not be wholly apparent just by running reports with SEO software.

Again, if your company sells packaging examples, perhaps growers have specific needs that they struggle to find online. By speaking to these requirements on your site, you’ll have an easier time keeping the traffic you attract, which means lowering your bounce rate (great for SEO) and earning more conversions.

Affiliate Marketing

Depending on the types of cannabis products you sell, affiliate marketing may be an option, too. In short, this strategy is when you outsource your marketing to companies and individuals who earn commissions when they bring you sales. There’s no upfront cost to your business.

Just like with influencer marketing, many companies have used cannabis-specific affiliate programs to launch their products and skyrocket sales in a very short period of time.

Starting your own affiliate marketing program is easy enough. In order to attract effective marketers, you’ll need to spread the word unless your SEO is already paying off. Growing your network by attending industry events could also help you find these potential partners.

WJ Media Group 

Here at WJ Media Group, we provide the services cannabis companies need to successfully market their company. We have a broad education in cannabis marketing and work with multiple different companies currently. Further, contact us here or at (732) 670-6402.

How to Make Your Dispensary Stand Out

As the cannabis industry grows and more and more dispensaries pop up, it is becoming harder to make your dispensary stand out. To ensure that your business is able to attract and retain as many customers as possible. It is vital to offer a customer experience and products that are memorable and unique. Try these easy tips to make your dispensary stand out.

Create A Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs are a tried and tested method of bringing customers back to a business more frequently, and convincing more people to make that store their go-to shop. Dispensaries are no exception to this. Different types of loyalty programs can offer different benefits to you and your customers. For example:

  • A customer referral system rewards shoppers when they introduce your dispensary to their friends, helping you reach a wider audience. This is particularly useful to increase awareness of your business when opening a new location.
  • A points system gives customers progress towards a reward every time they make a purchase. This encourages them to buy more when they visit your dispensary. In addition to shopping exclusively at your dispensary, so they don’t miss out on earning more points.
  • A VIP membership scheme lets customers pay a recurring fee to experience a premium service. VIP membership benefits could include a permanent discount on purchases, or a delivery of curated products to enjoy each month.

Create Educational Content

Many customers, particularly beginners who are unfamiliar with the wide range of legal cannabis products available in your dispensary. They may need more information before they feel comfortable buying. Creating content to help them is a sure way to make your business feel more approachable.

Address common concerns about the legal issues surrounding cannabis. Further share information about how to use products. As well as helping customers understand the differences between products and how to find the right products for them.

The cannabis market can be a confusing place to newcomers. Education is vital in giving them the confidence to buy. Furthermore, a lack of information increases the chance that a customer has a negative experience with a product bought from you. Which they further decide not to return.

Get More Customer Reviews

Customer reviews play a major role in consumers’ decisions about where to shop. The more reviews you have on your website and directory listings such as your Google Business Profile, the better. A large number of reviews gives customers more confidence in your business.

The simplest way to get more customer reviews is to just ask. Additionally, reply to every review, even the negative ones. If a customer goes to review your business and sees that you are not reading or responding to any reviews, they have much less reason to give their feedback.

Don’t forget to monitor and respond to negative reviews as well. Trying to understand and manage negative reviews is also important to manage your brand reputation online.

Hire and Train Knowledgeable Staff

Finding the right cannabis product to provide the experience a customer is looking for requires a strong understanding of your entire product range and the various effects that different cannabis strains can have. Training your staff with this knowledge is vital to ensuring every customer not only leaves your store with the right product for them. But also that they enjoyed talking to and learning from your staff.

Target Underserved Niches

Some cannabis products are harder to find than others. It is likely that every dispensary in your local area sells a wide range of flowers and edibles. But what about oral sprays, topical creams, inhalers, and the many other less well-known types of cannabis products?

Offering these products can attract a loyal group of customers who can’t find what they are looking for anywhere else nearby. Find out which types of products that consumers are struggling to find at other dispensaries, and stock your own shelves with some high-quality options to fill that gap.

Providing a customer experience and buying process that is easy to understand and puts shoppers at ease ensures that they will remember shopping at your dispensary for all the right reasons. Following these tips will help you ensure that your dispensary not only stands out from the competition but also keeps your customers coming back time and time again.

 

What Makes a Great Website in 2022?

Well Designed and Functional

Your site reflects your company, your products, your services, and ultimately your brand. Visual appeal, polish, and professionalism are crucial. Allow white space, uncluttered layouts with quality photographs and graphics look, and let your message shine through.
Equally important, the site must work quickly, correctly, and as expected.

Build to web standards, proofread rigorously and test regularly for problems with speed or functionality. Every page should always be fast and functional. Because many of them could be a potential customer’s first or only impression. Broken, slow, or poorly constructed areas will leave your visitors frustrated and encourage them to leave.

Easy to Use

Site visitors are always in a hurry. Don’t make them work for the information. User Experience (UX) plays a key role in helping visitors use, understand, and stay on your website. Create obvious, logical navigation with a clear hierarchy. Use consistent layouts and visual cues for functionality across the site.

Your site should satisfy both ‘searchers’—coming for something specific, and ‘browsers’—just looking. Help users accomplish their tasks quickly with onsite search. Further, keep them engaged by suggesting related content and minimizing dead ends.

Optimized for Mobile

Today there are no excuses, your site must look great and work well on any platform. The growth of mobile and tablet devices is not slowing down. In addition, you just don’t know what your next visit will be using. Optimizing for mobile will improve both the experience of your visitors and your SEO Rankings.

Fresh Quality Content

Be succinct, interesting, and new. Further, use language that makes sense to your audience—avoid jargon, corporate-speak, and acronyms. It is important to spell correctly, be accurate, be relevant, and keep your website updated on a regular basis.
Blogs and social media updates are great ways to add fresh content, it further keeps visitors returning. Yes, keeping things fresh requires a bit of investment. No, you can’t do without it.

Readily accessible contact and location

Your audience won’t chase you down. Make it easy to engage, offer multiple points of contact: phone, email, social media, and maybe an easy-to-use contact form. A Google map is a bonus. Above all, ensure that this information is readily available on an easy-to-find contact page—if not every page of your site.

Clear calls to action

If your site asks nothing of visitors, they will surely do nothing. What is the purpose of your site? Is that purpose clear to visitors? Even informational sites want visitors to read and share articles. Furter follow the company on social media, download toolkits, join mailing lists or learn more about the organization. Include an ask on each page.

Optimized for Search and the Social Web

It’s not enough to build a nice-looking website that’s easy to use. It needs to earn traffic. Otherwise, all that effort in design, UX, and content development will be for naught. There are hundreds of rules and guidelines for effective search engine optimization, so here are a few to start with:

Use page titles and meta tags on every page. Further alt tags on every image. Optimize content on your site to align with words real people search for. Use keywords appropriately in content as well as links. Use Cascading Style Sheets for layout and further keep your HTML code clutter-free.