How to Build Your Website for Your Cannabis Dispensary
The legal United States cannabis industry was estimated at $13.6 Billion in 2019 according to Investopedia. This figure is expected to grow by another $60 Billion by the year 2021. This clearly shows that the business of cannabis is fast becoming popular worldwide and interestingly, cannabis sales from dispensaries are becoming more and more online.
So if you own a cannabis dispensary, building a robust website for your business is critical. During the building process, expert designers and developers focus on search engine optimization tools, customer behaviors, and user experience because these guidelines usually determine the success of a website. Let us look at how to build it the right way.
Use the right payment processor for your website
There are still many states in the US where cannabis sales are illegal. Federal laws too are not yet fully in support and since some states have given the nod to cannabis, it poses some conflict with with federal laws.
As a result, many payment processors and merchant accounts do not support of online payments for marijuana. Imagine incorporating the traditional payment processors like PayPal or Authorize.net into your website only for your customers to not be able to process their orders.
Conducting research to identify cannabis friendly merchant account is critical for your business and your customers. It also has to be a payment processor with strong customer service because the experience you customers get from the payment processor will be a direct reflection on your business. If you are building your dispensary website with WooCommerce, you may need to connect directly with your choice of payment processor because WooCommerce does not typically come with merchant accounts that are known to be cannabis friendly.
Set age restrictions
More than half of the states in the US have voted in favor of cannabis while about a fifth of the populous have adopted the drugs for recreational purposes. However, all those states where cannabis has been legalized created strict age restrictions.
States like Colorado and Washington that have accepted the drugs for recreational align age restrictions based on brain science confirming the brain continues to develop into the mid-twenties. There is enough research to demonstrate that cannabis can seriously impact cognitive functions and one’s intelligence quotient. So, the older one becomes before trying cannabis, the better. Scientists and experts have set the 21-year-old age restriction.
You can get a legal document to back this up and a disclaimer in support of your website.
Ensure the website is fully accessible with no ADA restrictions
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is a civil rights law prohibiting any form of discrimination based on disability.
Often, in trying to adhere to ADA laws, people think of wheelchair accessibility or ramps. That is not the only case as websites fall under this same jurisdiction. Discriminations based on race, religion, and sex also fall under this category.
US courts have interpreted that the ADA requires all websites have accessibility. If found that your website is not in compliance with ADA, it could cost. Cannabis websites already paint themselves as a target for possible government oversight due to the discrepancies among local, state, and federal laws, it is important not to add fuel to the fire. So, as much as possible, go with the cleanest of designs that will conform to ADA standards and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 AA) standards.
To be in line with these standards means that your website is usable and understandable for the majority of people whether they have disabilities or not. It is also good practice to include an ADA compliance statement in your website’s footer when you are done setting it up.
Integrate an all-in-one solution to your cannabis dispensary website
It is always better to allow third-party companies to handle the registration and check-out pages. Just build your WordPress website as a custom theme and integrate the third parties by adding iframe codes to your website. There are a number of companies that provide fully integrated solutions and marketing for the cannabis business. For example:
- Jane Technologies: This can provide an all-in-one integrated solution for your cannabis business. Its services include integrated shopping carts and payment processing.
- Weedmaps: Weedmaps is a tech company serving the cannabis industry also. Founded in 2008, it has more than 400 employees and several offices around the globe. It owns much of the top placements on organic search traffic. It allows you to retrieve product data from their website via a JSON: API. Even if you are not using Weedmaps, you should be on their directory site.
Cleaning up, testing, and launching the website
When you are through with building your website for your cannabis dispensary business, you need to conduct some major quality assurance and ensure you have one of the best websites possible. The online cannabis space is highly competitive and if you want a chance to succeed you need to look professional, offer streamlined processes and ensure the site is polished.
Crosscheck your grammar and all spellings. Make sure the flow and technology were properly implemented. You can also test the website with residential proxies so that you can improve its performance. Ensure that it is mobile-friendly and that the images on your website are very clear. Loading time needs to be exceptionally quick. Include calls-to-action. Keep cleaning and trimming and testing until you get the desired result and then you can launch.
Building a website to run a cannabis-related business is not like other regular websites people build. There are important things to take into consideration as you have read. Here are some other parting tips. You need to choose a short and easy to spell domain, consider building your website in WordPress, have a systems in place for easy order processing, and find a strong hosting provider that you can grow with.
With these little suggestions, you’ll be on the road to a success cannabis ecommerce business.