How to Sell Online

Ride the Wave of CBD Business Opportunities: 20 Ideas + Tips to Get Started

Bethan Rose / 13 min read
How To Sell CBD Online Header

Ride the Wave of CBD Business Opportunities: 20 Ideas + Tips to Get Started

Get The Print Version

Tired of scrolling? Download a PDF version for easier offline reading and sharing with coworkers.

Add your info below to have the PDF sent to your inbox.
A link to download the PDF will arrive in your inbox shortly.

Who would have thought that one tiny, plant-derived chemical could become one of the most sought-after ingredients in 2020? Cannabidiol, or CBD as it’s known in its bite-sized form, has earned a reputation as one of the most versatile ingredients from the cannabis plant. A little drop of heaven, some might call it — particularly when administered in its tincture form — CBD made its debut on the scene in 2018.

During that year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first CBD drug for epilepsy — Epidiolex. That same year, the global cannabidiol market was valued at USD $4.6 billion. This is according to Grandview Research, which estimates that the market will swell by a compound annual growth rate of 22.2% between 2019 and 2025.

As technology evolves and manufacturers discover more ways to produce, market, and develop different types of CBD products, for example, various concentration and administration options, the consumer demographic is expanding.

This growing market is also inspiring business owners to capitalize on what has become a mainstream money magnet.

Several Industries Are Embracing CBD

An ingredient as diverse as CBD simply could not be confined to one specific sector. This cannabinoid has proliferated throughout the mainstream, with many dominant industries jumping on board. Focusing on a particular segment of the CBD market is recommended when starting out; harness the power of one of the following avenues before you capitalize on others.

1. Fashion and apparel.

It won’t be long before fashionistas are strutting their stuff down the catwalk in attire that’s oozing with CBD. Many clothing retailers are already updating their lines with branded CBD goods, such as T-shirts, hats, and bags featuring CBD-related quotes. Others are infusing clothes to provide localized relief from aches, pains, and general discomfort.

2. Food and beverage.

A survey by The National Restaurant Association found that 3 in 4 chefs named CBD and cannabis-infused foods as one of the hottest trends in 2019. While the 2018 Farm Bill paved the way for CBD food and drinks, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still offering mixed signals. Regardless, big names like Ben and Jerry’s and Coca-Cola are eyeing the market. Smaller brands in states where marijuana is legal may have the upper hand, at least until the FDA changes its stance.

CBD Business Ideas and Opportunities

Entering the realm of CBD is sure to make your mind wander. Why wouldn’t it? This miraculous chemical comes from a green plant and could potentially lead you into the labyrinth of just-as-green paper. Here are CBD business ideas that are worth trying:

  1. Become a CBD distributor.
  2. Form CBD cooperatives.
  3. Run a CBD podcast.
  4. CBD marketer.
  5. CBD blogger and reviewer.
  6. Make and sell CBD bottles and containers.
  7. Start a CBD subscription box service.
  8. Start a CBD courier business.
  9. CBD-infused food and snacks.
  10. Open a CBD restaurant.
  11. CBD-Infused beverages.
  12. CBD cosmetics.
  13. Sell CBD supplements and medication.
  14. CBD spa.
  15. CBD bath lotions and soaps.
  16. CBD tinctures and topicals.
  17. CBD-infused clothing.
  18. CBD-infused pet food.
  19. CBD topicals for pets.
  20. CBD-infused pet vets and blankets.

General CBD Business Opportunities

As today’s modern world embraces the cannabis plant and its trusty sidekick CBD, opportunity abounds for budding “cannapreneurs.” With so many uses for this cannabinoid, it comes as no surprise that the CBD business opportunities are equally as abundant.

1. Become a distributor.

If you’re capable of turning inventory over quickly by selling directly to retail stores, why not become a CBD distributor? Another option is to launch a distributor wholesale company. Wholesale or distributor markup prices are usually set at around 20%-40%, and a license is required with this method of profiting from CBD. Mastering the art of becoming a CBD distributor requires you to communicate with manufacturers to arrange the all-important distribution deals.

Cost: Consider your distributor strategy, logistics, and networking. Distributor start-up costs around $50-$100, and many companies offer an immediate discount on products.

2. Form CBD cooperatives.

Many first-time CBD sellers form a CBD cooperative as a way of saving on taxation, raising capital through investors, minimizing outgoing costs, with the goal of maintaining a long-standing existence in the industry. Any 10 adults can volunteer to establish an association that nurtures self-help and mutual aid for the CBD industry. This is a perfect opportunity to integrate moral values into your CBD cooperative business, which should be registered with the Registrar of Co-operatives.

Cost: Franchisees should have at least $100,000 of liquid capital to kickstart their CBD cooperative venture. It’s also critical to discuss how dividends will be shared.

3. Run a CBD podcast.

Attracting leads become second nature when you share your opinion and the opinions of others with a CBD podcast. This is your opportunity to step out and become an authority in this attractive field. Ultimately, it can boost your credibility and influence over other sellers in the CBD niche. CBD podcasts offer a fantastic way to promote products and services, earn money through sponsorships, attract crowdfunding opportunities, and build your bank balance with affiliate marketing, virtual summits, and books/audiobooks.

Cost: Expect to fork out around $60-$70 for a high-quality microphone, $0-$12 per month for podcast services like Buzzsprout and as little as $10 for artwork on a bidding site like Fiverr.

4. CBD marketer.

If you enjoy learning new things and want to diversify your income earned through CBD products, dabble in CBD marketing. Some popular examples of ways to market products that contain CBD include affiliate marketing, content marketing, internet marketing, and social media marketing. When attracting an interested audience with marketing, popular methods of earning include advertising/sponsorship, conferences and events, donations, exclusive content offerings, and subscriptions.

Cost: Everything that you need for CBD marketing, including a website and blog setup, advertising, public relations, and promotions, should cost no more than 2%-5% of your sales revenue.

5. CBD blogger and reviewer.

An ecommerce company can increase its chances of selling a product if it provides its website visitors with unbiased reviews. Statistics show that 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase something after reading a trusted review. Blogging and reviewing are powerful ways of strengthening SEO, boosting online visibility, and amplifying conversions.

Cost: Free on WordPress or $10-$60 a month with your own hosting and other features. Computer software and hardware should cost $200-$2,600 in one-time purchases.

6. Make and sell CBD bottles and containers.

Packaging is important. After all, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently warned companies for making unsubstantiated statements about CBD. Since as many as 5 million bottles can be produced within 24 hours at a well-equipped production facility, this CBD business opportunity is a smart way of boosting profit and reducing overhead. Typically, product suppliers purchase products for $1-$2 per bottle. However, you could charge more, depending on the product information featured on the bottle or its design.

Cost: The low cost of making CBD bottles and containers enables a solid return on investment. Online sources show that the average cost or making a 500ml bottle is 2 cents, whereas a one-liter bottle is around 2.5 cents. Glass may cost slightly more but will also sell for slightly more.

7. Start a CBD subscription box service.

Many CBD sellers opt for subscription services as a way of pulling in recurring revenue. Since you’re in charge of pricing the CBD subscription boxes, you can forecast your monthly revenue based on who subscribes. With a predictable monthly income, managing cash flow and retaining customers will be a breeze. Moreover, as you look at returning customers, you can learn how to assess customer retention; the larger your subscriber base, the more attractive you will be to investors.

Cost: The contents of your CBD subscription box will determine how much it costs to produce. However, since most of these types of products sell for $10-$40 per month, the contents should be affordable enough to turn over a profit. 

8. Start a CBD courier business.

Looking for a great way to enjoy freedom and get out onto the open road while making money? If you answered “yes” to this question, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the flexible hours, social aspect, and opportunity to see new things when you get involved in the CBD courier business. Keep in mind that the taxes you pay depend on whether your CBD courier business is a a sole proprietorship, partnership or limited liability company.

Cost: The highest investment for this type of business will be if you launch a self-employed courier service; factor in the cost of a van for this. Alternatively, you could get paid a monthly wage if you become one of the drivers working for an already established company. A GPS unit should also be factored into the equation. Moreover, if you become a motorcycle messenger, you need to factor in the cost of a motorcycle license.

Food & Beverage CBD Business Opportunities

Eating and drinking are two of life’s greatest pleasures. Mother Nature took note of this when she unleashed CBD upon the world. A cannabinoid crammed with potential, CBD serves a platter of business opportunities for folks in the food and beverage sector, from morsels of CBD-enriched gummies to spreads of CBD cakes, sauces and condiments. High Beauty and Lab to Beauty are two prime examples of CBD companies that have made a name for themselves in this segment of the industry.

It’s important to know that licenses and lab results for products containing CBD are required to demonstrate compliance with all applicable laws. Follow the current FDA stance on products containing CBD. Understand the laws and pay attention to changes that may impact your business.

9. CBD-infused food and snacks.

When ingested, CBD’s therapeutic effects are released slowly and steadily. Once an infused edible travels down the esophagus, it’s digested by acids and enzymes before the primary cannabinoids — in this case, CBD — are absorbed through the stomach lining. Creating CBD edibles requires an initial extraction of the cannabinoid in oil form. This oil is then infused into a carrier oil before being whipped up into a digestible delight.

Cost of production depends on how many milligrams of CBD your edible goods contain. If you invest in an extraction device, creating in bulk will be worth the effort and provide a healthy return on investment.

Cost: While this way of making money from CBD may be more costly — food licenses cost around $700-$4000 — the return can far outweigh the outgoing costs. Some other costs to consider include opening a bank account ($50), state business registration fees (approximately $100), and product liability Insurance ($500-$1,000/annually).

When venturing into the ever-evolving sector of CBD edibles, ask yourself whether you want to label and package the products yourself. Creating them will require effort on your part, but so will the labels and packaging. Let’s not forget about the cost of running a website ($0-1,000), business cards ($50), kitchen tools and equipment ($1,000-$10,000+), and sales sheets ($10-$20).

10. Open a CBD restaurant.

If you’d rather see the satisfaction on your customers’ faces when they sink their teeth into an infused edible — as opposed to them consuming CBD edibles at home after they buy from your online or brick-and-mortar store — why not launch a CBD-focused restaurant?

Of course, for this option you have to set aside time and money to secure a space inside which your guests can peruse CBD-infused dishes and enjoy them socially. However, since you can organize events inside a restaurant, regularly update the menu and introduce deals for special occasions or guests, there are plenty of opportunities to earn an indulgent revenue.

Cost: A recent survey conducted by RestaurantOwner.com showed that the average median cost of a restaurant is around $375,000. However, low-scale restaurants will set you back a lot less, around: $175,500.

11. CBD-infused beverages.

Entice your target market to rise and shine with a CBD-infused morning coffee or reel them in with an infused mojito at the end of a busy day. Because of CBD’s supposed anti-inflammatory effects, CBD-infused drinks are also an appealing choice for post-workout recovery. However, since cannabinoids are insoluble in water, CBD-infused snacks must be produced using an emulsifier to enhance bioavailability.

Cost: Consider the same costs associated with CBD-infused food and snacks for this one. However, the cost of equipment may be different. CBD-infused beverages can be made from home if your production capacity is small. This will cost you just your usual kitchen equipment and time. If production capacity is high, invest around $10,000-$20,000 in equipment.

Health & Beauty CBD Business Opportunities

Everything that happens inside is reflected on the outside, which is why health and beauty go hand-in-hand. CBD may work as the missing puzzle piece in many people’s self-care regimens. The statistics show just that, with U.S. sales of CBD topical and skincare products racking up an estimated $1 billion in 2019.

12. CBD cosmetics.

With its supposed anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties,  CBD is believed by some to be the perfect aid for relieving pain, soreness, redness, dryness, and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. You could partner with a store that places impulse-buy products, such as CBD cosmetics, near the checkout counter. Alternatively, give samples away on the street and provide the buyer with a business card so they can recommend and follow your website or social media page.

Cost: Typically, USA hemp-derived CBD costs $30 per gram, $25 for 2-9 grams, $9 per gram for one kilogram, $8 per gram for 10-99 kilograms. Aside from the cost of buying CBD in bulk, you should consider the cost of mixing your CBD products with carrier oils and solutions to make cosmetics.

13. Sell CBD supplements and medication.

Some CBD proponents have explored the therapeutic benefits of CBD, which they believe provide analgesic, anxiolytic, and pain-relieving properties. However, it should be noted that the FDA doesn’t regulate the safety and purity of CBD products sold as dietary supplements.Uncertainty also remains regarding dosage and risk interactions with other drugs.

Cost: A few things should be included in your budget when you sell CBD supplements and medication online, such as the long-term storage fees, referral fees, selling plan, and advertising. However, the cost of selling this kind of product online usually requires an online store, basic configuration, and training, which works out at around $5,000. An online store provider like BigCommerce, however, could be a lot less costly.

14. CBD spa.

Whatever the circumstances, the appeal that a CBD spa provides is sure to keep enticing customers. For example, when given in a luxurious setting, a CBD massage is believed by some to minimize post-workout soreness, muscle discomfort, and tiredness; ease joint inflammation and arthritis pain; ease back, shoulder, and neck pain; and decrease inflammation caused by strain or injury. You may even want to cater some of your CBD spa products to athletes, like Beam TLC has done.

Cost: Start-up costs for a luxury spa could far exceed $100,000. Nonetheless, the return on your investment could be much more. Profit can’t be calculated accurately unless you account for the start-up capital that must be earned in order to fund things such as advertising, equipment, necessary licenses, supplies, permits, insurance, and training. If the large investment doesn’t appeal to you, seek out a U.S. Small Business Administration loan, an investor or a personal loan.

15. CBD bath lotions and soaps.

Some people claim that receptors in the skin are reactive to the effects of CBD, which can be infused into topically applied solutions like CBD bath lotions and soaps. Best of all, they can be developed to include a specific dosage of CBD per product, for example, 20 mg per bar. Combine the infusion of terpene-rich CBD extracts with other dermatologically enhancing ingredients, like goat milk, and your products are sure to satisfy.

Cost: A number of things should be added to your list of outgoings when selling CBD bath lotions and soaps, such as the referral fees, selling plan, fulfillment fees, long-term storage fees, and advertising. Store costs, in the range of $40 per month up to $100s or $1,000s monthly, depend on the provider. Brick-and-mortar stores may cost as much as $50,000 inclusive of storefront rental costs, electricity, insurance policies, salaries, and workers’ compensation.

16. CBD tinctures and topicals.

As a cannabinoid that may possess anti-inflammatory effects, it’s not surprising that CBD tinctures and topicals are quickly replacing conventional skincare products and treatments. Since tinctures boast uses that could potentially extend beyond their topical convenience, you could even market these products for a broader audience. CBD For Life has experimented with topical solutions; the company’s product selection features an array of wellness products, hand sanitizers, and self-care goods, such as face, body, and hair products.

Cost: You can make a tincture with alcohol, concentrated herbs, and a container. Alternatively, you could make them using advanced equipment which will, clearly, cost you more.

Fashion & Apparel CBD Business Opportunities

CBD on the catwalk? So it seems, what with acclaimed brands starting to introduce the non-psychotropic cannabinoid into their range of fashion and apparel. The jury may still be out for this method of getting dosed up on CBD, but it’s a trend that harnesses some serious selling power.

17. CBD-infused clothing.

Since CBD can penetrate layers of skin to provide localized relief, individuals who don CBD-infused garments can seamlessly dose. Many product manufacturer infuse droplets of CBD concealed in a protective polymer coating. Some people believe these CBD-infused fabrics are able to focus on major muscle groups and when worn, create friction as the wearer moves. You can sell these products at a brick-and-mortar or online ecommerce store.

Cost: Hiring a designer will set you back around $50 per hour. You also need to think about how you want to advertise the goods and who you wish to model them for your portfolio.

Pet CBD Business Opportunities

A few years ago, people would have thought you were barking mad if you gave your pet something that was derived from a plant once thought to be a gateway drug. Times have changed, and some CBD proponents now claim that pets can actually harness the same benefits from CBD that people can. Enter pet CBD business opportunities, which, based on stats published by cannabis research firm Brightfield Group, will be worth $1.7 billion by 2025.

18. CBD-infused pet food and treats.

Data published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association has revealed that 20% — one in five — dogs signify that they are experiencing some kind of pain. This information is useful if you intend on developing new products for pets, including dog treats, capsules, and various other ingestibles.

Cost: Since you may pay anywhere between $0.04 and $3 per mg of CBD, the cost of launching an edibles company depends on where you source the CBD and your production capacity. You also need to set aside money for marketing and a platform for sales transactions.

19. CBD topicals for pets.

Let’s face it — our pets always want the same thing as their owners. In that sense, this category of CBD products can be targeted toward everyday people who have four-legged pet friends. CBD topicals for pets can be vegan products that are 100% plant-based. Since the cannabinoid triggers a normal anti-inflammatory response and dogs also have an endocannabinoid system, some people believe these products hold promise for treating animals with physiological and neurological conditions.

Cost: Consumers pay between $0.05 to $0.10 per mg and $0.20 to $0.30 per mg for quality pet CBD oils. You can charge a 50% markup on the product you develop using extraction equipment ($1,000-$100,000) and flowers ($150-$350 per pound.)

20. CBD-infused pet vests and blankets.

Similar to CBD-infused fashion products, CBD-infused blankets can be manufactured with micro-encapsulated beads that gradually release CBD’s effects through friction. In order to make CBD bioavailable in this way, it must be coated in a microencapsulated package.

Cost: The advanced technology required to make CBD-infused pet vests and blankets could be on the steep end of costs. Typically, a specialist machine for binding the material with CBD costs around $3,000-$40,000. You also need to fund labor costs and sourcing the CBD.

Tips for Ensuring Your CBD Business Is Successful

The market for CBD business is saturated, but this doesn’t mean you can’t succeed. Gaining a competitive streak over your rivals is all about differentiating, understanding the legalities, and, most of all, letting your customers know why you are the best choice.

1. Source a product that you are confident in.

Delving into the world of CBD is easy for anyone who is well-versed in the aforementioned areas. Spend time finding a supplier who develops its products using USA-grown hemp. Certificates of analysis are essential to ensure the product has been approved for lab testing.

After the 2018 Farm Bill removed CBD from the federal Controlled Substances Act, the FDA started providing oversight for the industry. This means that everything you sell should pass lab testing to avoid your business facing legal action.

2. Be transparent about your CBD products.

Make an effort to inform consumers about the type and quality of CBD being used when you sell products that fall into this category. While some products are extracted using alcohol, others are made using CO₂.

Something you really must confirm is whether the goods were produced in an area where the soil has been tested. Examples of some other ways in which you should guarantee transparency for your audience is the product label, which should feature the amount of CBD contained in the product.

Furthermore, it’s crucial that you highlight whether or not the product was made using CBD isolates or whole plant extracts. Lastly, does your product contain under 0.03% THC? This is the minimum standard, so be transparent about it.

3. Establish your brand.

As a fairly saturated industry, despite still being in its nascency, the CBD market is brimming with opportunities for sellers to shine. Standing out will depend on the credibility of your brand and the tactics you implement to achieve differentiation.

Aside from focusing on the marketing methods you execute to lure in your target market, you should also invest effort in the results of your customer retention strategies. Remember to spotlight ways to boost your reputation, such as creating captivating content, educating your audience, promoting awareness with influencers and establishing brand authority.

4. Stay in touch with laws and regulations.

Licenses and lab results for products containing CBD are required to demonstrate compliance with all applicable laws. This is true not only for manufacturers of CBD products, but also for resellers of these products. You should have this documentation readily available. Additionally, you will need to ensure that the products are legal in any jurisdiction in which the products will be offered or sold.

Stay up to date with the FDAs stance on products containing CBD. Make sure you understand the laws and be aware especially of those that have an impact on your specific niche.  

Conclusion

Whether you’re new to the world of CBD business opportunities or have already gained experience in this area, there’s no doubt that the demographic is swelling by the day. Spend your time researching the laws and regulations in the states where you intend to sell CBD products prior to exploring one of the above business ideas.

This material does not constitute legal, professional or financial advice and BigCommerce disclaims any liability with respect to this material. Please consult your attorney or professional advisor on specific legal, professional or financial matters.

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Table of Contents

    SHARE

    Bethan Rose

    Bethan Rose

    Bethan Rose is a passionate cannabis advocate/consumer, writer and traveler with no permanent address. Currently based on the Indonesian island of Bali, she can usually be found curating cannabis content on her hammock. Her work has been featured on Leafly, CannabisFN (CFN Media), LiveStoner, VeriHeal, Nutritional High, Cannabis News Box (Ultra Health NM) and Ganjapreneur.

    View all posts by Bethan Rose

    Less Development. More Marketing.

    Let us future-proof your backend. You focus on building your brand.

    Infuse Growth Into Your Hemp or CBD Business

    Learn how our ecommerce platform can help you sell CBD online.