There are an estimated 1,400 different brands of hemp CBD vying for consumer attention in America today. How can brands expect to gain access to store shelves in such a situation?
The answer, say natural products retailers, is to have verified quality products, and to have a story to tell that differentiates your brand.
“The market is becoming saturated in my mind,” said Sindi Wise, senior director of apothecary at Lucky’s Market, famously the first retail chain to bring hemp-derived CBD to its shelves. “As retailers, as you have a set built, what’s going to make you want to discontinue a product and bring on another line? It’s difficult. For brands, what can you do to set yourself apart from other brands? I’d do a competitive review of where you fit into the space.”
That’s solid advice during today’s green rush mentality, where everybody from supplement industry veterans to young ganjapreneurs are launching brands to cash in on the biggest supplements craze to hit the market in years.
“I get five calls a day,” said Mari Geier, co-owner of Nuts ‘n Berries, based in Atlanta. “We do a nice business in CBD.”
She said they have a three-point selection process. The first is a set of questions she recommends every retailer should ask: where the hemp is grown, growing practices, extraction methods and testing results. The second is how brands can support a store, from education and samples to what the brand’s labels and website look like. The third is whether the brand has a story to tell.
“If there’s something that makes them interesting,” said Geier, “that raises my interest level.”
“We like to choose companies that have a unique story as well,” said Annie Rouse, co-founder of Anavii Market, an online hemp CBD-only retailer.
She said the Anavii Market application process asks about brand’s story—and also that they have proper procedures in place. That means batch records, Certificates of Analysis, and test results showing contaminants, residuals, pesticides, microbiologics.
“Once approved sometimes we’ll do random spot checks,” said Rouse. “We send them to labs because we are rooted in verification and best practices. We’ll send a couple of products out to tests about once a month. There’s a select amount of labs we trust and believe they do a good job. A lot of times we’ll look for if they do testing through those labs.”
For more retailer insights into building a successful store strategy around hemp CBD, these three retailers will be in a panel discussion at the Natural Products Hemp & CBD Summit at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California, on Tuesday, March 5. Other sessions during the daylong event will include testing methods, marketing best practices, brand highlights, CBD for pets, and the ever-popular lawyer panel.
For sales data, market projections and solid insight into consumer perceptions of brands and positioning, check out the new 2019 Hemp & CBD Guide from Nutrition Business Journal.