Best CBD Ecommerce Platforms for 2023
Are you thinking about selling CBD online? In that case, you need to consider some of the best CBD ecommerce platforms, since not all payment processors and ecommerce platforms are as friendly toward CBD sellers.
CBD (cannabidiol) has become a popular, and profitable, compound due to its versatility in mixing with other compounds and ability to alleviate some symptoms for anxiety and pain, all without producing a “high” effect like its THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) relative, which comes from the same marijuana/cannabis plant.
CBD sales – for items like CBD oil, hemp products, CBD edibles, and topicals – are possible online, but only if you follow all regulations put forth by your local governing bodies. And it’s essential to find an ecommerce platform that allows for CBD sales.
General Guidelines for Selling CBD Online
Rules and regulations vary across the globe for selling what are often called “vices” to the public. Since CBD is so closely associated with THC and marijuana, it’s regularly lumped into the same group, and traditionally been considered a “vice,” similar to alcohol or tobacco.
Payment processors have a history of avoiding these types of products for liability issues; they’re considered “high-risk industries.” However, enough time has passed for most ecommerce platforms, and some payment processors, to understand that CBD is more for wellness and healing, and really carries no risks.
However, there are some guidelines and general tips to think about:
- Many countries have made CBD legal but, more often than not, it’s been heavily regulated. Therefore, you must follow all production, shipping, and sales requirements of your locale.
- Although the list may change, most ecommerce platforms only allow for merchants in the USA, Canada, and some parts of Europe to sell CBD products; that’s mainly due to regulations put forth by countries.
- Even US and Canadian sellers must usually get local permits and fill out certain forms to sell CBD online.
- There’s a specific form you must complete to ship CBD through the United States Post Office. Many other carriers have similar applications.
- Find a web host/website builder that allows for CBD sales. All ecommerce platforms on this list approve of CBD sales, but many others are introducing changes to their policies as well.
- The main roadblock for CBD sales is the payment processor; without a CBD-friendly payment processor, your ecommerce platform is useless. So, find an ecommerce platform that integrates with CBD-friendly payment gateways. For example, at the time of this article, Square allows CBD sales for the US, and Viva Wallet is a good choice for some European countries (if your ecommerce platform integrates).
- You must find a merchant bank account that will accept payments for CBD and hemp-derived products. Without a bank account, you can’t get your money from the payment processor.
- You may find that the application for ecommerce platforms and payment processors takes longer than usual. That’s because it’s a heavily regulated industry.
- Hemp-derived clothing doesn’t have the same restrictions as products you consume.
- Be aware that any payment processor, ecommerce platform, shipping courier, or banking institution could shut down your account at anytime due to the highly regulated nature of CBD.
What are the Best CBD Ecommerce Platforms?
Keep reading to learn all about the best CBD ecommerce platforms. We explain what makes each platform desirable for CBD merchants, and talk about the pricing and notable features from each one.
BigCommerce is known for its support of large inventory stores and partnerships with numerous payment processing companies, making it one of the best CBD ecommerce platforms. With powerful built-in features and an ever-expanding App Store, you have the flexibility to build your ecommerce store however you want.
Why It’s Great for Selling CBD
The CBD business has many monetary upsides and downsides. On one hand, the margins are extremely high. However, you’re often stuck with regulatory application fees, permits, and potential charges for simply working in that industry. BigCommerce alleviates some of that pressure thanks to its 0% transaction fees, regardless of your plan.
BigCommerce provides tools for CBD retailers, manufacturers, and distributors. Along with the 0% transaction fees, merchants can choose from a list of CBD-friendly payment processors, integrate with leading point of sale systems, and learn from the many CBD businesses that are already using BigCommerce for their platform.
- 0% transaction fees
- Over 65 pre-integrated payment solutions, many of which are CBD-friendly
- Support for over 230 countries and 140 currencies
- Impressive marketing features like promotions, coupons, and advanced SEO
- A quick single-page checkout
- A robust theme store and App Store
- Advanced pricing lists
- Customer segmentation
- Inventory system and ERP integrations for CBD manufacturers
- Templates specific to retailers, manufacturers, and distributors
- Enterprise-grade security
- Extensive documentation on how to run a CBD business successfully, and follow all the rules
Bigcommerce offers a custom Enterprise plan that’s often the best bet for rapidly growing CBD businesses, considering it gives you full control over scalability and integrations.
The main plans, however, are a good place to start for small businesses.
Here are the pricing plans:
- Standard: $29.95 per month to sell $50k annually with no transaction fees. You get unlimited staff accounts, integrations with all payment gateways. Special credit card rates, a single page checkout, coupons, discount rules, gift cards, product ratings, and more.
- Plus: $79.95 per month to sell up to $180k annually. You get all features in the previous plan, plus custom groups, segmentation, abandoned cart saving, persistent carts, stored credit cards, and improved credit card rates.
- Pro: $299.95 per month to sell up to $400k annually. You receive everything from the previous plans, plus improved credit card rates, product filtering, and a custom SSL.
Shopify touts one of the easiest ecommerce platforms for selling CBD due to its all-in-one dashboard, integrations with a multitude of payment gateways, and its large collection of apps and themes. You’ll also have access to various other products like its POS and fulfillment network, all from the same convenient dashboard.
Why It’s Great for Selling CBD
Every plan (besides the $5 Starter plan, which is mainly for influencers) from Shopify allows for the selling of CBD. There are already quite a few CBD merchants on the platforms for the following reasons:
First, Shopify has professional website building tools to fit the CBD industry; you can find industry-specific themes, and work with the integrated app for custom functionality. There’s also a collection of marketing tools for standing out in the competitive CBD world, like SEO, email marketing, and on-page promotions.
Not only does Shopify allow CBD merchants on its platform, but it connects you with CBD dropshippers for an easy supply source.
Although only supported for US-based stores, Shopify has partnered with several CBD-friendly payment gateways to ensure you get your money. On top of that, the intelligent shipping process helps you select location-based shipping rules so that you abide by CBD rules in each state.
- 0% transaction fees for Shopify Payments, and support for a wide variety of other CBD payment processors
- Shipping controls to prevent shipments to states that don’t allow CBD sales
- Integrations with suppliers, fulfillment companies, and some dropshippers that provide CBD products
- Powerful point of sale tools for retail operations
- Multiple sales channels beyond the online store, like social and marketplace selling
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Marketing automation and custom segmentation
- Gift cards, discount codes, and reports
Shopify has an enterprise plan for growing CBD businesses, along with the following pricing plans:
- Basic: $29 per month for an online store, unlimited products, 2 staff accounts, 4 inventory locations, all sales channels, manual order creation, discount codes, a free SSL certificate, abandoned cart recovery, gift cards, basic reports, marketing automation, unlimited contacts, customer segmentation, and support for the Shopify POS.
- Shopify: $79 per month for everything in the previous plan, plus 5 staff accounts, 5 inventory locations, standard reports, ecommerce automations, USPS mail pricing, shipping insurance, and more.
- Advanced: $299 per month for everything in the previous plans, plus 15 staff accounts, 8 inventory locations, advanced reports, and more.
We don’t recommend trying to use the $5 Starter plan for selling CBD or hemp-derived products; it’s not a full online store, so there may be confusion with finding a suitable payment gateway and handling things like SSL.
Squarespace is limited in its support for payment processors, but it’s still such a wonderful ecommerce platform that merchants often can’t see using anything besides that for their CBD businesses. As of this article, Stripe and PayPal (2 out of the 3 gateways offered by Squarespace) don’t allow CBD sales.
However, the Square integration saves the day, at least for in-person sales. Beyond that, you can link to third-party payment gateways that support “high-risk industries.” Some of these may include Authorize.net, Foxy.io, and Square for online payments. Some users even recommend the Shopify Buy button as an alternative. Simply contact the payment provider in question for details on how to integrate with Squarespace.
Why It’s Great for Selling CBD
Squarespace is a little restrictive when it comes to payment processors, but the Squarespace platform still allows you to sell CBD products. The third-party integrations discussed in the previous paragraph are easy enough to install. Then, you receive perhaps the most beautiful design tools in the ecommerce platform market for running your online store.
Overall, Squarespace leads the way in helping merchants build professional-looking sites. You can choose from stunning templates, drag and drop elements onto the page, and utilize many of the built-in marketing features to compete in the saturated CBD business.
- Third-party integration options for CBD-friendly payment gateways
- Built-in memberships for selling CBD subscriptions
- Class selling tools to make money on informational CBD products
- Social content generation
- Powerful marketing tools for social, email marketing, discounts, banners, and content creation
- The best online store templates in the game, with themes that run on high-resolution images
- 0% transaction fees for both Commerce plans
- Point of sale support
- Selling products on social sites
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Advanced discounts and shipping
Squarespace pricing varies based on features. There’s a Personal plan, but that lacks full payment processing support, so we would only recommend that for a retail CBD business that doesn’t intend to sell online.
These plans have at least some sort of ecommerce functionality:
- Business: $23 per month for fully integrated ecommerce, unlimited products, donation acceptance, gift cards, a transaction fee of 3%, promotional banners, analytics, premium blocks, SSL security, and more.
- Basic Commerce: $27 per month for everything in the previous plan, plus a 0% transaction fee, point of sale, product reviews, customer accounts, checkout on your domain, powerful ecommerce analytics, merchandising, product selling on Instagram, limited availability labels, and more.
- Advanced Commerce: $49 per month for everything in the previous plan, plus commerce APIs, advanced discounts, advanced shipping, subscription selling, and abandoned cart recovery.
Wix is known for its dead-simple design interface, plentiful website themes, and the fact that you can either build an online store or a regular business website with the ecommerce platform. Wix has advanced into a leadership role for the CBD selling community due to its flexible payment options and dropshipping opportunities, both of which are integrated into Wix and provide wonderful support for CBD businesses. Wix is also one of the more affordable ecommerce solutions, as well as a platform that’s suitable for beginners and advanced users alike.
Why It’s Great for Selling CBD
Wix allows US merchants to sell CBD and hemp-derived CBD products through its platform, and they make it as simple as possible with access to CBD dropshippers, secure and CBD-friendly payment gateways, and shipping solutions that move CBD products.
Along with that, you gain access to a powerful suite of marketing tools for getting the word out about your CBD business. Wix has CBD templates to build your site, and one of the simplest ecommerce website builders to ensure that even those without development experience have a chance at selling CBD, or any products, online.
- Partnerships with CBS payment processors like Evergreen, Pinwheel, Square, and Payments Northwest
- CBD-oriented templates for your online CBD store
- Preconfigured shipping arrangements for CBD
- A readymade process for completing all CBD-related requirements and submitting a declaration form
- Email marketing
- Social media connections with social post creation and video making
- Search engine optimization
- Live chat support for speaking with customers
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Content marketing like blog creation
- Dropshipping CBD products through Modalyst
- Transparent shipping and tracking portals
It’s possible to launch a standard business site with limited ecommerce functionality through Wix. For those, you’d select one of the Website Plans, which range from $16 to $45 per month.
The Business and Ecommerce plans, however, are best for running a complete CBD store.
Here are the pricing options:
- Business Basic: $27 per month for secure online payments, recurring payments, social channel selling, a custom domain, customer accounts, unlimited products, abandoned cart recovery, and more.
- Business Unlimited: $32 per month for everything in the previous plan, plus selling on marketplaces, subscriptions, multiple currencies, automated sales tax, advanced shipping, dropshipping, product reviews, and more.
- Business VIP: $59 per month for everything in the previous plan, plus a loyalty program, customized reports, and more.
5. Square Online
You may have noticed that Square is a suitable third-party payment processor for those interested in selling CBD with Squarespace. However, you might also consider running your entire store from Square, considering they give you a completely free online store, they’re a CBD-friendly provider, and you get one of the best ecommerce platform POS in the business.
Why It’s Great for Selling CBD
Square Online makes selling CBD less expensive than most alternative ecommerce platforms. Your payment risk is minimized, since Square has fewer extra fees. It’s also possible to get an ecommerce business loan from Square Loans; they’ve publicly announced that CBD businesses are on their list of approved loan options.
On top of all that, processing rates from Square are reasonable for CBD brands. There’s also the fact that Square offers one of the most advanced point of sale systems for those looking to sell CBD in-person and online. Pair that with Square’s third-party integrations for expanding your options with tools like PinWheel, C-Trax, and Limelight.
- Lower processing fees for CBD businesses
- They’re the payment processor and the ecommerce platform, and it’s all CBD-friendly
- Free ecommerce site builder
- Powerful POS for in-person sales
- Payroll tools for paying employees from your operation
- Support for the selling of bookings, services, and all types of products
- Selling on Instagram and Facebook
- Text message and email marketing
- Invoices and estimates
Since Square functions first as a payment processor, its ecommerce platform is almost entirely included with the free gateway products you can get from Square. For more advanced features, merchants opt for the Plus or Premium plans.
Here are the Square pricing plans:
- Free: $0 per month for a free website builder and complete online store, tools for selling on social, multiple payment types, Square POS syncing, and support for pickup, local delivery, and shipping.
- Plus: $29 per month for all features from the previous plan, personalized ordering, PayPal acceptance, advanced item settings, customer accounts, self-serve (QR) ordering, expanded site customization, and more.
- Premium: $79 per month for everything in the previous plan, plus a decreased processing rate, and real-time shipping rates.
WooCommerce is the go-to ecommerce platform for merchants that want full control over their CBD operations. It’s an opensource ecommerce plugin that works on the WordPress content management system. You must get your own hosting and add plugins and themes, but there are no limits to the amount of customization you have over your online store.
The opensource nature of WooCommerce results in lower upfront costs (the plugin is actually free), but keep in mind that no opensource ecommerce platform is truly free. You must find your own paid hosting (in this case, a CBD-friendly host), buy a domain name, purchase a theme, and potentially acquire multiple plugins to expand your business.
Having said that, all of that is relatively easy, as long as you have at least some sort of technical experience.
Why It’s Great for Selling CBD
WooCommerce is one of the best CBD ecommerce platforms because it’s opensource. That means you have full control over the payment gateway and hosting you choose. There are hundreds of each to pick from; some of the payment gateways for CBD businesses include Square and Viva Payments.
In addition to that, WooCommerce is rather flexible in its design. You can always find a WooCommerce theme that’s suitable for a CBD store. WooCommerce also offers a USPS integration (which allows for CBD shipping), along with an onslaught of third-party dropshipping plugins for finding a supplier for hemp-derived and CBD products.
- Self-hosted and opensource for increased control and easier cost management
- Large community for finding other businesses that sell CBD, and to locate CBD-oriented plugins and themes
- CBD sales in places like Europe, USA, and Canada, all thanks to payment processors like Viva Wallet and Square
- Shipping management and labels through USPS (and other carrier options)
- Massive extension and theme store
- Powerful marketing tools for things like Facebook Ads, Google Listings, third-party marketplaces, abandoned cart recovery, automations, and newsletters
- Coupons, rewards, and gifting
- Upsell, cross-sell, and related product listings
- Built-in SEO
- The best blogging experience out of all ecommerce platforms and website builders
You can’t sell CBD on WordPress.com, so we’ll skip that pricing altogether.
WooCommerce on WordPress.org, however, enables the sale of CBD products. That means you don’t have to pay anything for the plugin.
However, there are expenses to consider. We won’t give you absolute pricing, but it’s important to understand that other fees will apply to run your store on WooCommerce.
Potential fees include:
- Credit card fees from a CBD-friendly provider
- Monthly hosting fees (anywhere from $3 to $50 per month) from a CBD-friendly host
- Premium WordPress themes
- WooCommerce plugins and extensions (which most stores need to expand upon the initial feature set)
- Domain name fees (often around $10 per year)
- Shipping fees
- Development costs
Which Ecommerce Platform is Right for Your CBD Business?
From Bigcommerce to Shopify, and Square Online to WooCommerce, the best CBD ecommerce platforms vary based on what you need for your business. For instance, Squarespace is ideal for design-conscience sellers, but it may be trickier to configure a CBD-friendly payment gateway. For Bigcommerce, it’s one of the best options for CBD dropshipping, shipping, and payment processing, but many users aren’t that fond of their template designs.
If you’re still trying to figure out the best CBD ecommerce platform for your store, here are our final recommendations:
- BigCommerce: CBD-friendly payment gateways, themes, transaction fees, and point of sale systems.
- Shopify: CBD-friendly payment processors, themes, transaction fees, and point of sale systems (and a stronger design experience when compared to Bigcommerce).
- Squarespace: The best design experience possible, but lacking in CBD business documentation and built-in CBD-friendly payment providers—you must find a third party to make it work.
- Wix: Perhaps the best design and marketing experience for both beginners and advanced users. Excellent dropshipping, shipping, and payment provider support for CBD businesses. They also have some decent CBD themes.
- Square Online: We like Square if you’re in need of both a POS system and online store. It’s great if you want the payment processing and online store all in one package. Plus, it’s free to build an online shop and start accepting payments. And Square is completely accepting of CBD companies.
- WooCommerce: Perfect for the ultimate control of your design, CBD payment processor, and the themes and plugins that go into the store. Can get expensive and clunky, but there’s no greater way to scale your business.
If you have any further questions about the best CBD ecommerce platforms, share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.