As CBD store sales shift to a slower pace from the category’s early days, retailers are honing in on the best tactics for selling these products. The latest of these is a unique CBD store within a grocery store concept.
CBD manufacturer American Shaman and Kansas City-based Ball's Food Stores’ Price Chopper recently announced its new retail partnership: a store-within-a-store. Yes, American Shaman’s newest retail store is located inside Ball’s Price Chopper location on Barry Road in Kansas City, Missouri.
Not surprisingly, online sales of CBD products have continued to grow in recent months, especially for products that emphasize the benefits of CBD for stress and anxiety. At the same time, retail CBD sales have flattened or seen a slight decline due to customers shopping habits transitioning online and shoppers spending less time lingering in stores.
For these reasons innovation at retail for CBD products is more important than ever. And because larger retailers such as Whole Foods Market, Kroger and CVS only sell topical CBD products, an opportunity exists for other retailers to take the lead in terms of selling strategies for the wider offering of CBD products.
For American Shaman and Ball's Price Chopper the timing could not be better as the partnership supports the needs of both brand and retailer. Demand for CBD products is continuing to evolve, so both companies have been looking for new and unique ways to interact with customers and appeal to new markets.
“The new location within the four walls of a great supermarket partner affords us exposure to the general public outside our own online and retail stores—and creates an innovative new revenue stream for us both,” said Vince Sanders, CEO of American Shaman. For Price Chopper, it provides an opportunity to meet customer demand and maximize convenience while also offering a quality shopping and product experience.
In-store CBD education is key
While the West Coast and East Coast have been quick to embrace CBD products, they are still relatively new in the Midwest, explains Cameron Wilkerson, loyalty marketing director for Ball’s Food Stores. And with that comes a huge need for education, he explains.
To this end, even the highest quality CBD companies can find it to stand out on a store shelf to the uneducated eye. “A big thing with such a new category and even industry is a need for customer education. Customers have a lot of questions, such as how to take these products, for instance, how many milligrams to take. A lack of education can be a big barrier to entry. Having a store within a store allows for a space where customers can ask more questions, learn more about the products and what would be right for them,” he says.
Currently, Ball’s Price Chopper sells hemp-derived CBD products on store shelves and at the customer service desk, where they aren't always easily visible. Wilkerson adds that although Ball’s Price Chopper prides itself on customer service in the aisles, the store-within-a-store format is not only visible and welcoming, but it also allows for there to be a designated and trained person there to answer questions about the products and how to take them.
The 700-square-foot American Shaman store has been designed precisely to create an inviting environment, offering up an intimate, relaxed shopping space where customers can feel comfortable browsing and asking questions. Featuring a nature-based aesthetic, the interior of the store is made with reclaimed wood and botanical prints to emphasize the brand’s focus on high-quality, natural ingredients. A seating area gives shoppers a place to sample and discuss American Shaman’s products.
While typical store-within-store concepts at grocery and specifically at Ball’s Price Chopper have included the likes of banks, Starbucks coffee shops and mobile carrier companies, it has not tested anything to date of this nature—a retail store within a store. While still new, the cross-category partnership is expected to increase foot traffic and draw in new customers for both.
The concept store is a test run for potential future iterations across the Ball’s brand. It’s also a store format that Ball’s Price Chopper could use with other partners and for other categories in the future should it prove to be effective. As Wilkerson says, “We are constantly looking for unique fits in our stores based on customer needs.”