Web Development Tips for Cannabis Business Owners

3 things to remember to have success online

How is a Cannabis retailer able to be competitive in such a crowded space?  In our opinion, by doing what so many others don’t; by actually having a website that makes users want to do business with them!  

The truth is, few industries parallel the Cannabis industry (one that does is US-based Liquor Distillers and Retailers). The amount of complex laws governing the growth, formulation, retailing, and shipping of these products takes a much deeper thought than your traditional e-commerce platform selling trinkets or home goods.  Because of this, consumers are demanding more consideration and need to feel the love before laying down a credit card to purchase.

What can the Cannabis (marijuana, hemp, and cbd) e-commerce retailer do to not only garner a following, but keep them coming back? The talented team of CodingIT has put together this quick list of tips to help you take that next step.

  1. Show and Tell – create your own product descriptions, show and describe the entire product
  2. Social Proof – what it means for credibility in a digital age
  3. Easy to User – bad UX and UI means low conversions
Web Development Tips for Cannabis Business Owners

1. Show and Tell – create your own product descriptions, show and describe the entire product

With the exponential growth of products and competitors in the Cannabis industry hitting the market every month, it is hard to stay diligent and create unique product descriptions for each one. The truth is, Google has made large strides in attempting to limit spam in their top search results in 2022. This means, if you copy-paste someone else’s work, you will most likely not be rewarded with organic traffic for doing so.

On top of fighting a losing battle for rank and eyeballs with your suppliers, you are simply parroting the voice of the companies you buy from, not establishing your own cadence, tone, and vibe that make your store unique in a crowded space. Meaning, you are missing the glaringly obvious point of having a website, showing the world what makes your company different. Here are some tips to get your started:

  • Describe the origin and inspiration of the product, highlighting what makes it unique in the space.
  • Continue by outlining the expected portion sizing whilst discussing possible variations or personalization that are available.
  • Mention suggested pairings or flavor profiles with explanations of what the intended use of the items are.
  • Culminating with a personal opinion or tasting notes.

Think of yourself as a consumer, do you patronize certain stores because you feel as if they “fit” you better? We are willing to bet you do and may not even realize it. The price may be the same or a little higher, but you chose to spend your dollars with the retailer who showed you they recognize your preferred experience. Why would you not do the same for your audience?

Whilst we are on this subject of words, remember to localize your language. Or, said another way, speak to your audience like they want to be spoken to. Use the language they use, or as close to it as you can get without putting yourself in a legally indefensible position.

Your website should be that wonderfully guiding influence in the user’s journey to find their perfect cannabis product. Not just some faceless machine that refuses to reveal the meaning behind industry buzzwords and muddied phrasing. We see before we smell, taste, and feel. High quality images of the actual product for sale are critical to success online. What can you do to make sure your photos are great?

  • Ideally, you should photograph at least 4 sides of the product in and out of the packaging.
  • Showing the customer a preview of what their own ‘unboxing experience’ is going to be.
  • Keep in mind that the product for sale is the reason for the product page, so keep your background imagery clean and consistent as to not distract from the product visuals.
  • Looking to go a little extra? Cultivate a particular style of displaying products that is bespoke to your site, patrons appreciate a good presentation.
Web Development Tips for Cannabis Business Owners

2. Social Proof – what it means for credibility in a digital age

What is social proof? Social Proof is a term coined in the 1980s by Robert Cialdini in the book Influence to describe the phenomenon of informational social influence. Meaning people tend to copy or mimic the actions of others in an attempt to not be seen as the outcast.

What does social proof have to do with e-commerce? Everything. We are far less likely to complete a transaction on a website that seems to be outside of what we deem as acceptable on the credibility spectrum. If users to your site don’t see others sharing their experiences, with your website or the product, they are far less likely to view your platform as trustworthy with their purchase. Product comments and reviews help users understand how others have valued a product or website. Meaning, they won’t feel like the social outcast for doing business with you.

What are some ways to display more social proof on your Cannabis e-commerce website?

  • It starts on the home page. We should know we are on a trustworthy platform by seeing what others have experienced with the site.
  • I don’t expect or care to view a 10 page gallery of glowing reviews, but between 3 and 5 reviews that speak to what made the experience unique in the space would be ideal.
  • When we visit a product page, we expect to see what others think of the product and how accurate the information found on the page is. Meaning, we are far more likely to add a product to a cart and complete that transaction when we know other users have experienced what we hope to!
Web Development Tips for Cannabis Business Owners

3. Easy to use – bad user experience and user interface (UX and UI respectively) means low conversions

How often do you decided to move forward with an online transaction when you feel the site is just bewildering? Some examples of what leads to bad UX and UI are as follows:

  • Unsure where to go or what to do
  • Menu is using terminology you are unfamiliar with
  • Relevant information cannot easily be found or deciphered
  • Product details are sparse, vague platitudes, or industry jargon
  • Ordering process is poorly thought out or too lengthy

  All of these events and more chip away at your online Cannabis store’s ability to convert visitors to customers. Don’t want to fall into this trap? Show the user that you considered them when creating the site! A great barometer to ensure you have successfully considered the user is to imagine an elderly user having to navigate it. What can you do to make sure they always know where they are, were they are going, and how to find the exit. Here are a few helpful things to improve your user experience:

  • Use simple, easy to understand language. New people are finding the Cannabis space every day, we all start somewhere.
  • Be descriptive, educational, and informative with your words. Minimize the use of idioms.
  • Mirror industry standards for menu layout and presentation. If your menu doesn’t look and feel easy to interpret, users will leave.
  • Use breadcrumbs to help users find their way back. We should know where we are and what series of events lead us here.
  • Colors and explanatory text can indicate where you want the user to navigate and what you want the user to interact with.
  • Colors can also be used to differentiate what section of the website a user is in and what information is expected to be found there. (ex. – Purple icons for Flower, Yellow for Carts, Black for Accessories, Red for Edibles, etc.)

Conclusion

If you can follow these tips, there is no reason why your site couldn’t convert visitors to buyers.  The more you can demonstrate to site visitors that your site has considered their journey and made the buying process easy to navigate, the more you will be rewarded with purchases. Be the example of a business you would patronize online.

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