Ecommerce is an essential part of manufacturer and retailer We R CBD Store’s business. Which is why the retailer is willing to put up with the headaches that coincide with selling a regulated product online, says Keeon Yazdani, chief marketing officer at WeRCBDStore.com.
The retailer sells Cannabidiol oil-infused products (CBD) that have no THC. Both CBD and THC are found in cannabis plants, although CBD does not get consumers high, while THC does. CBD has antipsychotic effects and can be used to reduce anxiety and pain, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses, according to WebMD. Regulation of these products varies by state.
Until last week, WeRCBDStore.com could not accept payments. At the end of September, its payment processor Elavon Inc., a subsidiary of U.S. Bank, stopped processing payments for We R CBD. The retailer found out when its shoppers notified the retailer via email that they couldn’t purchase products.
And so for the next 34 days, the retailer couldn’t sell any products unless shoppers first mailed a check. The retailer sent an email to its customers notifying them about the issue and that they were working on a solution.
“Something happened with the bank, and they didn’t want to process CBDs anymore, and all of the websites using Elavon had their processing stopped,” Yazdani says.
“Banks don’t really want to touch it to be honest. They associate it with cannabis, even though it doesn’t really get you high,” he adds.
A U.S. Bank spokesman cites that cannabis is still illegal at a federal level as the reason why it stopped processing the retailer’s payments. “While a growing number of states have legalized marijuana, cannabis remains illegal at the federal level,” the spokesman says. “As a federally regulated organization, we are committed to operating our business consistent with federal laws.”
The spokesman did not respond to questions about how it notified its merchants.
Retailers need backup payment processors
When We R CBD realized shoppers couldn’t check out, it submitted applications to 10 different paymetn processors for another payment processor and eventually received approval from one after four weeks.
The payment shutdown significantly impacted the retailer’s business, and Yazdani estimates it lost $120,000 in retail and wholesale sales combined. Having payments shut down also hindered its customer acquisition for shoppers who visited the ecommerce site for the first time. “They’re most likely going to go to another business and not going to come back,” he says.
Online retailer Foria Wellness had similar woes in its early days of operation. Foria sells THC-, CBD- and hemp-infused products. The retailer, which launched in 2017, also struggled to find a stable payment process for its site. Similar to WeRCBDStore.com, it could accept payments one day and not the next day, says CEO Jon Brandon.
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