DTC CBD brands and the industry as a whole has grown by exponentially over the past few years, with the market expected to reach $16 billion value by 2026. As of 2021, one in three Americans has used CBD, and 28% of all customers use the product daily.
This growth has come despite many obvious marketing hurdles to the industry. First, major social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram restrict CBD advertising, placing it under the regulated category of drugs and alcohol products. Second, the COVID-19 pandemic has deterred many buyers from shopping in traditional retail stores like Walgreens and CVS.
The Shift Toward DTC eCommerce
These hurdles have pushed an increasing number of CBD brands toward DTC eCommerce, a sales category predicted to surpass $129 billion by the end of 2021. CBD brands have found selling online to be a natural fit because many customers prefer to buy CBD discreetly and from the comfort of home, rather than schlepping their way to the drug store to make a purchase. CBD is also an ideal product for the subscription sales model, which is a popular option for DTC eCommerce brands.
While the DTC eCommerce model delivers obvious benefits for customers, it is a winning solution for CBD brands, too. Only eCommerce platforms can provide the invaluable, first-party data that gives brands a better understanding of the customer. Successful CBD brands are taking that information and using it to create a better customer experience, build stronger brand relationships and ultimately give the customers what they are looking for.
Here are just a few of the many ways eCommerce technology is accelerating today’s DTC CBD industry.
1. Educate Consumers with Website Content
Education is key when it comes to marketing CBD. Many consumers are still confused about the effects of and uses for CBD — which is why DTC CBD brand Feals is using educational content on its eCommerce site to educate potential customers before they click to purchase.
Once customers have a better understanding of the product, they can purchase a “flight” of CBD products to test, then choose a subscription model based on the best product for their needs. Likewise, competing brand SweetDreams offers a 3-night trial with their DreamPotion product, allowing doubtful customers to see how the product works for themselves before committing to a subscription.
For both of these brands, a highly customized, flexible DTC eCommerce platform is crucial to the success of their marketing strategy. Their platform allows them to better understand the needs of their customers and deliver exactly what the customer wants.
2. Grow Email Lists with Pop-Ups
Bluebird Botanicals sells everything from hemp gummies to extracts. And though their products can be found in stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts, they are jumping on the DTC CBD trend by selling their products from their own eCommerce platform, too.
This gives them a unique opportunity to grow their email list and learn about customers using first-party data. And, they are able to capitalize on the opportunity even further by using website pop-ups to capture user emails.
Their email capture pop-up offers customers 40% off the first order — a hard incentive to pass up. But for customers who do decline the offer, they have more chances to jump on board the email list by clicking a hovering button on the website that has a simple “Unlock your discount” message.
Once Bluebird Botanicals captures these emails, they can use them to increase conversions through marketing automation.
3. Engage Audiences with Online Quizzes
Many CBD brands realize that online quizzes are one of the best ways to engage and convert audiences. In fact, 81% of marketers agree that interactive content (like quizzes) grabs the attention of users more effectively than static content.
CBD brand Medterra is using this insight to increase sales of its hemp extract. The company offers a quick, four-question quiz asking consumers about their age, ailments and history of hemp use in order to engage audiences. The quiz then matches them with the best product for their needs.
Marketing strategies like this have helped Medterra become one of the leading CBD brands in the U.S. The brand has seen rapid growth over a 16-month period and is rapidly expanding its product line and customer base.
4. Improve Website Experience with Intelligent Replays
Brands like Lord Jones and Beam Organics have beautiful, dynamic DTC CBD websites that appeal to their niche audience base. Their websites include customer profiles, high-quality images, video content and more. But even these leading CBD brands have room to improve the user experience, and the right eCommerce platform allows them to do so.
Intelligent replays are one of the best ways to spot conversion killers and make fact-based decisions. If any feature of the website turns users away or causes them to stall, that feature can be improved using insightful data and test and learn techniques. As these brands optimize their websites, they will achieve even higher conversion rates and overall growth.
5. Increase Conversions with Customer Reviews
Displaying customer reviews on a website can boost conversion rates by up to 270%, according to Spiegel Research Center. Many DTC CBD brands are taking note of this trend, focusing their efforts on gathering and displaying reviews from happy customers.
Companies like Feals and Beam display positive reviews front and center on their website in order to build trust and boost confidence among website visitors. Feals even created a page dedicated to customer stories, detailing how their CBD products have enhanced the lives of customers ranging from senior couples to young working professionals.
Learn More About Overcoming the Challenges of Scaling DTC Brands
As they scale, emerging CBD brands may be met with challenges but selling via the DTC eCommerce model can lower many of the typical hurdles. Legacy brands selling CBD can also learn from the DTC model, using the channel to grow sales and remain relevant years into the future.