When it comes to setting up your cannabis eCommerce website and choosing an e-commerce solution for your online cannabis store, there are options galore in today’s world. Broadly speaking, depending on your budget and needs, you have the following three options available for dispensary eCommerce:
Many popular online cannabis platforms use an iFrame embed menu to display your products on their website and help consumers find your brand online. The digital menu is embedded on your website but the content is hosted through an iFrame on a third-party domain. Although this can be useful to have some online presence without much of an investment, and you can use cannabis websites with domain ranking authority to enhance your dispensary brand visibility, it won't build any online SEO authority for your cannabis brand and will only benefit the hosting website. Also, many such websites only allow online display menus, and you can’t necessarily sell your products on their domain.
A cannabis marketplace is the next level of a third-party domain allowing you to display and sell your products online through their website. These marketplaces may provide obvious value for you to start your E-commerce journey with an established online platform, but not all of these have your best interests at heart. Nor do these put you in direct competition with other retailers with no way to differentiate your brand, but they also tend to charge high commission fees, thus depleting your profits. Just as with iFrame-hosted websites, only third-party marketplaces gain SEO value, and your cannabis brand will barely have any recall by customers who make their purchases from the third-party marketplace.
Owning an independent customized E-commerce website is your best option if you want to grow your business and establish a recurring stream of revenue from your online cannabis store. This may require a higher initial investment, but in the long run, will help you establish your brand name in the market. With your website directly linked to your independent cannabis E-commerce store, you will not just benefit from customer data ownership but also build local SEO authority for all the cannabis products that you sell on your website. Reporting and analytics will help in retargeting and email marketing as well. You will have full control over website design, branding, and the customer experience you want to provide while having the flexibility to plug and play with any software solution you want to integrate your cannabis dispensary with.
While it's good to list your products on marketplaces for better visibility, the most ideal circumstance for building SEO authority is to have a fully customized eCommerce website. The reason for this is that with a custom eCommerce website, you will have unique pages for products, product categories, and potentially product brands as well. Each of these pages will have written content and images, both of which will increase your chances of ranking for keywords relative to those pages. iFrame embeds are more affordable, but essentially your entire menu lives on one single page such as the shop page, for example.
We highly recommend that you launch your own independent E-commerce store, that is hosted on your company domain. If you self-host your online cannabis store, a unique domain name registered to you or your company will link to your standalone cannabis E-commerce website. This will give you complete ownership of a custom URL, your web content, and the freedom to plug and play with multiple software options to provide the brand experience you want to. The one hurdle to overcome with custom E-commerce websites is that it can be tricky to sync your in-store product inventory with your website in real-time. To facilitate this process, COVA offers seamless integrations with various native eCommerce solutions.