This article first appeared in the June 25, 2020, edition of NACS Daily.
Consumer demand for hemp-derived CBD products has exploded since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Convenience stores are well positioned to take advantage of this trend, but ensuring they are offering high-quality products is imperative.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still working on their framework to regulate CBD products, so it is not currently monitoring the manufacturing of hemp-derived CBD. This has led to new brands popping up every day, with virtually no quality checks in place. However, there is no reason that c-store retailers need to settle for low-grade CBD products on their shelves. There are many good CBD companies committed to going the extra mile to regulate themselves and establish trust with consumers while the government catches up.
Figuring out which CBD companies are selling safe products takes a little time but doesn’t have to be a daunting task. “Retailers run the risk of carrying inferior CBD products and earning the industry a bad reputation in the consumers’ minds when it comes to where they purchase CBD products if they skip the step of vetting what they put on their shelf,” said Tim Van Epps, founder of Heritage CBD.
“Once you’ve found your quality brands, running a successful CBD program at your store involves training staff and merchandising the product,” explains Van Epps. He recommended three simple ways to sell the category at convenience stores.
- Training. Tap your CBD brand partners for staff samples and information to educate employees on the products. “Some chains have had good luck designating a few key staff to be CBD ambassadors,” Van Epps said. “These ambassadors are comfortable speaking to customers in depth about CBD products and can train new workers on the product basics as well.”
- Merchandising. Don’t make it difficult for customers to find your CBD products. Put it front and center on the counter to entice impulse purchases. “Pump toppers, window clings and signage in the candy aisle letting people know CBD gummies or chocolate are available at the counter can also work well,” he said.
- Promotion. CBD products should be folded into a store’s regular promotional calendar, with special emphasis during the initial launch. “Tying the CBD deals into your existing rewards programs and offering an introductory discount can spark interest in the category,” Van Epps said. “Reputable CBD brands also understand the need for c-store retailers to run promotions and want to support you in these efforts.”
By carrying quality CBD in their stores and implementing a successful sales program, retailers will garner repeat sales in this high-margin category. “Retailers will also help establish c-stores as a safe and logical place to purchase CBD on the go,” Van Epps said.
This post is sponsored by Heritage CBD