In the cannabis and CBD industry, there’s no shortage of issues companies in the space run into from compliance to payment processing. And while a cottage industry of cannabis-specific companies has sprung up, BigCommerce, an ecommerce platform whose main competitors include Shopify and Webflow, is now making it easier for CBD and hemp brands to sell products.
BigCommerce is introducing U.S.-based partners in payments, checkout, shipment and fulfillment that now work with CBD and hemp-derived brands, with fees similar to other merchants outside of the CBD space. Companies like CBD for Life, Envy CBD and Lily CBD are already on BigCommerce’s platform—now they’ll just get to also use BigCommerce-vetted merchants.
“We’re recognizing that merchants have had challenges in bringing their hemp and hemp-derived products to market,” said Meghan Stabler, vice president of global product management at BigCommerce. “As long as it’s legal for them to sell something, they can use [our services].”
One of the benefits Stabler said CBD and hemp merchants now get is priority in onboarding with some of these partners like BMJ, a CBD merchant account provider, and Authorize.net, a payment company. Additionally, CBD and hemp brands will no longer face higher fees because they’re a “high risk” company, a problem Julie Winter, vice president at CBD for Life, said she’s faced.
“We’d be charged astronomical rates for transactions,” Winter said. “It became very difficult and costly to operate in this space.”
Terms of service violations were another issue Winter said CBD for Life ran into, leaving the company scrambling to save client data before getting kicked off an ecommerce platform. BigCommerce only works with legal and vetted companies for its tools and services, which Winter said ensures a higher quality of brands on the platform that are compliant with FDA regulations and becomes less of a brand safety issue.
“What I found comfort in is BigCommerce vetted us in the same way that we vetted them,” she said. “They asked to see things that larger retailers are asking for [such as] hemp certification [and] registration with the Department of Agriculture.”
For BigCommerce, Stabler said the opportunity was right for the company to move into this space and make it easier for merchants to scale their own operations. The demand is certainly there—according to BDS Analytics, a cannabis research company, the CBD market is expected to reach $20 billion in sales by 2024, so it makes sense for players like BigCommerce to get involved now.
“This was an opportunity for us, but it was also based off the requests,” Stabler said. “We just saw that as a place we should be going into as well.”