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Brochure websites vs. ecommerce websites

Let’s begin here by pointing out the difference between an online store and a simple brand-building website. It’s a pretty basic distinction but important to understand.

If you plan to start a CBD company, it’s a good idea to have a website. 

You don’t need a website if you’re selling on Amazon or eBay. 

However, without a website, if a prospective customer Googles your company they won’t find any information about your business. That can make them suspicious. And trust is the number one factor in whether or not they’ll want to do business with you.  

So, it’s a good idea to have at least a basic website

The question becomes, what does your website need to do? 

At the very least your website needs to invite visitors to learn about your company and your products and to outline the promises you are making to customers. 

This can be achieved with only a few static pages. For example an “about us” page and a “products” page, at the very least. In fact, it can be a single page website.

Now, if you plan on having your visitors actually purchase products on your website be prepared to enter a whole new world of operations that is an order of magnitude more complex and risky. 

There are some benefits to making that giant leap up. But they’d better be big ones to take that leap! 

Let’s get into a bit more detail on the two options.

The basic “brochure” website

A brochure website is simply a website that informs and educates visitors about your company and your products. It should also link visitors to websites where they can purchase your products.

  • A brochure website is not designed for shopping and placing orders. 
  • A brochure website doesn’t require a dynamic inventory system where shoppers can browse and search for products to buy. 
  • It doesn’t require an electronic shopping cart. 
  • It doesn’t require a customer database. 
  • It doesn’t require a payment processing gateway (that’s the connection between you and the bank).

All that is required is some compelling copy (“copy” is basically carefully-crafted text used on a website or other marketing tool), some photos of people and products, links to stores where visitors can actually purchase your products, and a contact form. 

At the simplest end of the spectrum, your company website can be a one-time setup that then just runs in the background while you manage your business. 

You can spice it up and increase the chances of your website being found on search engines by adding more content. 

Constantly adding fresh content either weekly or monthly via a blog or vlog would be ideal. Adding a blog to your website it an order of magnitude simpler than adding on full-blown ecommerce features.

Ecommerce shopping websites

An online store involves a bunch of complicated tasks that are simply non-factors when building a more simple brochure website. 

All of these extra components mentioned above — the ability to store customer data, process payments, and manage a dynamic inventory — open you up for a whole new world of potential headaches.

Some of the complexities involved in running an ecommerce website include:

  • Website development costs
  • Extra staff or outside contractors (eg: a webmaster)
  • Potential system failures
  • Potential cyber-attacks and data breaches
  • Added risks and liabilities 

Building your own online store can also add a great deal of expense to your project. 

First of all, building and managing an ecommerce website is probably not something that you can do on your own — that is unless managing an ecommerce website is what you do for a living, or you are a quick study and enjoy dealing with complexities. 

Another HUGE task that comes with running your own online store is actually getting people there. 

The biggest online marketplaces already have millions of shoppers. Getting enough warm eyeballs to justify the costs involved in developing your own shopping site can require massive marketing and advertising efforts. 

Again, we’re not trying to talk you out of running an ecommerce website. We’re just trying to manage your expectations and make the realities clear. 

There are quite a few ways to simplify the process of building a CBD website and reducing the workload and risks involved.

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