How the Convenience Channel Will Help CBD Grow

CV Sciences enters the market to lure first-time users
Happy Lane
Photograph courtesy of CV Sciences

SAN DIEGO — With nearly a decade of experience marketing cannabidiol (CBD) products in brick-and-mortar locations, CV Sciences is a tenured company in the emerging CBD market. Yet, until recently, the company’s products were mostly sold in the natural, specialty and food/mass/drug channels, but not convenience. The San Diego-based company hopes to change that with the launch of its convenience-aimed Happy Lane brand of products.

To better understand CV Sciences’ plan for expanding into the convenience channel, CSP Daily News spoke with CV Sciences’ CEO Joe Dowling and Vice President of Sales Jesse Karagianes.

Related: 10 Surprising Twists in CBD and Cannabis From 2020

Karagianes said that while CV Sciences may be new to convenience, it has years of experience working with both independent retailers in the natural food channel, as well as major retailers like Kroger and CVS. Because the company’s focus is on brick and mortar—not e-commerce—it has developed plans to support retailers during the roll-out and as the CBD program evolves.

“We build out a very intentional launch plan and a support plan after that,” he said. “The sell-in is important, but we think the sell-through is more important. That’s what we specialize in.”

Why Convenience?

Dowling described convenience stores as “a large and important sales channel that we have been planning to enter for a while.” Besides the size of the channel, with more than 150,000 locations in the U.S., it’s actually the type of CBD shoppers found in convenience that was a big draw, he said, namely, first-time CBD shoppers.

“Convenience is a market where a lot of folks might have their first trial with CBD,” Karagianes said, noting that if the CBD category is going to grow, it’s important first-time consumers are exposed to high quality products. “That was a driving force behind creating the Happy Lane line.”

The Convenience Plan

Because the convenience shopper is very different than the natural food shopper, CV Sciences developed a brand specifically for convenience.

The team identified three musts: zero-THC, high quality but at a trial-friendly price point under $20, and unique form factors designed for how convenience shoppers use CBD.

Those form factors included some expected—like soft-gel capsules, topical roll-ons and gummies—as well as some new. For example, with coffee being a big part of the morning convenience experience, CV Sciences launched a breath-freshening peppermint CBD liquid with a pump top for easy use.

“A tincture that won’t spill or leak, designed for people on the road,” Karagianes said.

While the products may be new, the support plan will be the same as what’s been developed over six years of retail experience.

“We know a focus on quality and safety matters to retailers,” said Dowling. “They don’t want to get in trouble with inventory they can’t sell or a regulatory issue.”

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