An Indie Retailer’s Guide To Success With CBD & Cannabis Wellness & Beauty Brands
Do you own an independent brick and mortar shop or spa that focuses on wellness? Or planning to? Well, there is a new beauty and wellness category that’s taking the world of retail by storm — CBD and Cannabis — that’s compelling retailers everywhere to take notice.
The global CBD Market is conservatively expected to grow by $29.91B by 2025 with 53% of that growth contributed by North America (Research and Markets), And overall, the legal Cannabis industry (i.e. all Cannabis-related products) is expected to hit $43B in sales in the U.S. alone by 2025 (New Frontier Data) and could top $72B by 2030 (Forbes).
The meteoric rise of the savvy indie Mom-and-pop wellness boutique, along with the fact that customers of all ages are now demanding plant-based wellness alternatives like CBD and Cannabis Beauty, Wellness and Food & Beverage, has set the stage for retail liftoff.
So, How Do You Succeed With CBD & Cannabis Wellness as a Retailer? Here Are 5 Essential Strategies
Since its launch in 2018 The Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference (LMCC) — the acclaimed B2B trade event connecting retailers with visionary brands at the the forefront of CBD + Cannabis beauty, wellness, & food/beverage — has been the go-to resource for products and extensive retailer education in the space.
During the one of many compelling panels at LMCC this past Spring, Whitney Eckis, CEO of Hemp-infused instant coffee brand Get Supr, predicted, “We’re going to see a lot more wellness boutiques pop up — and more mom and pop shops want to offer CBD as well as different variations of Cannabis-based wellness products — all to help consumers better their lives.”
Whether you are a retailer already in business or an entrepreneur thinking about starting up your own CBD/Cannabis wellness shopping concept, here are five top-level strategies — each from a retail expert (and LMCC show attendee) — that are essential to consider:
“Education is the most important thing in the cannabis industry. With so many medical terms, products, and differences in our individual human chemical makeup, it is important that retailers put emphasis on their education. If you put education first, brand loyalty will follow. Slow and steady wins the race. Focus on perfecting an amazing consumption experience and you will solidify your place in the ever-evolving cannabis industry.”—Almaz Adeigbola, Co-Founder Brwnbox
LMCC Takeaway: Consistently and clearly educate your customer — in a personalized way — at every touchpoint.
EXPERIENCE THE EXPERIENTIAL
“Consumers want to feel as if they are educated, engaged and even entertained when making purchases. Incorporating “shoppertainment” within physical store environments is more important than ever, offering consumers and retailers a chance to experience connectivity that leads to transactions.” — Nicole Leinbach, Founder & Publisher Retail Minded (#3 Top Global Retail Influencer, VendHQ) .
LMCC Takeaway: Create a calendar of regular, in-store events to demo your products (and their founders), host tastings, and most importantly—create community.
DIFFERENTIATION & DIVERSITY
“We’ve been doing a lot of work to make sure that outside of the medical Cannabis products that we sell, we’re doing collaborations and bringing in CBD brands that people want to purchase that they really can’t find anywhere else in New York. So that’s been a huge initiative of ours and making sure that they are aligned with the brand and what we stand for. Everything that we retail that isn’t an Etain product — all of the products come from women-owned companies.” — Hillary Peckham, COO, ETAIN (from LMCC Spring 2022)
LMCC Takeaway: What is your company’s mission and how does that translate to what sets your dispensary (or wellness boutique) apart? Carry Black-owned, LGBTQ, diverse-led and women-owned brands.
SOPHISTICATION & STORYTELLING
“As the cannabis industry evolves, a growing consumer demographic is looking for something that is more distinguished. Not only regarding the quality of the product, but also the sophistication of the experience. In our store, the customer is met with a sensory encounter that transcends cannabis, it is a multi-faceted adventure that communicates our sense of place (Aspen, CO), and our deep roots in western cowboy culture. When our guests leave this experience they take with them not only the products, but a memory of who we are at our core: a group of sophisticated cannabis connoisseurs rooted in classic Western Americana. This elevation of the cannabis experience is critical for the evolution of our industry, and we are grateful to be a part of this new wave of luxury cannabis.” —Michael Johnson, CEO Dalwhinnie Farms
LMCC Takeaway: Authentic, elevated storytelling with a localized feel is a key differentiation factor.
MOM & POP MOMENTUM
“With a background in social enterprise, I’m a true localist who understands the power of independent business ownership to create a strong and thriving economy that benefits community over corporations. ‘Mom & Pops’ are the backbone to local economies because we take a place-based approach to running our business and keep dollars circulating within the community. Every decision we make, from what to display in our store windows to which local causes to champion, reflects the unique aspects of the places in which we operate and helps to create economic vibrancy on the micro level.” —Melissa Gibson, Founder, Hemp & Humanity
LMCC Takeaway: For emerging brands, seek out small, trusted community-focused retailers to start, which can offer an opportunity to establish a foothold on retail shelves early on.
BONUS TIP: DISCOVER PRODUCTS AND FOUNDERS AT TRADE SHOWS
“Attend trade shows to get to know vendors and visionary founders personally, to explore emerging brands and to gain leadership insight — all of which helps bring your products, merchandising, education, and in-store experiences to life.” — Nicole Leinbach, Founder & Publisher, Retail Minded
Register Now for LMCC Fall 2022
October 20 & 21
Admission to LMCC 2022 is complimentary for qualified retail buyers and their teams
Learn more and register as a buyer here: https://www.lmccshow.com/
LMCC Fall 2022 returns to Hudson Yards, NYC this coming October 20 & 21 — a B2B trade event with a full schedule of keynote talks along with indie wellness/beauty boutiques, premium dispensaries, spas, hotels, department stores, national chains, and so many more seeking to discover amazing, well-articulated brands in the CBD, Hemp, & Cannabis space.
Contributed by Katie Shapiro, an Aspen-based cannabis, style and travel journalist; She also works with the LMCC team as an advisor. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.