Meet Sunmed, Your CBD Store. They produce a proprietary line of premium CBD products with over 400 franchised and licensed locations across the United States.
In fact, there’s a good chance you’ve already heard of them. As America’s largest brick and mortar CBD retailer, they’re a leader in the infant, rapidly-growing industry. That’s a position they take seriously, from testing and developing their own products to managing regulatory changes and supply chain challenges to customer education.
“We’ve carved out a niche within the industry, which is one that’s very much focused on health and wellness,” Says Wilfredo Rodriguez, CFO for Sunmed, Your CBD Store.
Being a leader in the CBD industry isn’t easy, but it’s one Sunmed takes seriously—and is equipped to handle.
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CBD: an infant industry that changes every day
In 2018, hemp-derived CBD was legalized in the United States. The immense potential of CBD products led to explosive growth as an infant industry sought to come into its own. Sunmed, Your CBD Store has been around to see it all, from the early days of a few early entrants offering a handful of SKUs to today’s new and exciting innovations using specialized cannabinoids to address specific customer need states.
“What we have seen in the past two years is a push to bring products to market to meet new consumer need states,” says Wilfredo.
“As an industry leader, we have been at the forefront of this, we’ve developed products that are more targeted to address specific needs. Like using specialty hemp derived cannabinoids beyond CBD to address specific conditions that, based on our research, we believe will bring better results to our customers.”
But with that growth has come challenges: producers and retailers are navigating the uncharted waters of regulatory shifts, consumer preferences and innovation.
The dichotomy of this landscape is striking—an industry with vast potential, yet one that remains in its infancy regarding regulatory stability and market structure.
While Sunmed, Your CBD Store’s specialty cannabinoids aren’t very controversial, Delta-8 and Delta-9 are. “There is a lot of state level regulation over the Delta-8 and Delta-9s. It’s across the gamut. There are states who have banned them. And others have adopted regulations about the formulations and limitations on content.”
With each passing day, the ground beneath CBD retailers, manufacturers, and consumers seems to shift, ushering in new challenges, opportunities and uncertainties. Sunmed strives to stay ahead of it.
“We have a team, a regulatory and compliance team,” explains Wilfredo. “They’re not only understanding what is happening at the state level when bills become law, but they’re tracking bills from the moment they’re brought into committees in any state.”
Even when the regulatory landscape is relatively calm, a new industry means charting new waters for supply chains. Raw material prices are always in flux.
“Because it’s such an infant industry, there have been pretty significant swings in the supply of hemp and the cannabinoids that get extracted,” says Wilfredo. “In the early days, there was low supply and high demand. And then too many players got into the growing and extracting business, and that created an oversupply in the industry.”
While that oversupply means production is low cost right now, any financial planning relying on those low costs is doomed to fail. With their years of experience in the industry, Sunmed knows you can’t rely on today’s prices to hold to tomorrow.
“We’re expecting that at some point that decline in the cost of the raw material will begin to reverse and correct itself,” says Wilfredo.
Sunmed, Your CBD Store: a leader facing industry challenges head on
At the forefront of the CBD industry stands Sunmed, demonstrating resilience and success even in the face of challenges. They’re confident, because they’re putting in the work to stay ahead of the shifting realities of selling CBD.
“It’s part of being a leader in an infant industry. You’ve got to do the hard stuff in order to be able to succeed in a growing market and evolve.”
Beyond tracking changing regulations and supply chains, Sunmed has taken on the task of educating customers about CBD and related products. These efforts not only benefit their sales, but influence the perception of CBD among customers encountering the industry for the first time.
“A lot of our email engagement is educational,” Wilfredo explains. “It’s our responsibility as a leader in this industry to educate consumers about the products, the benefits, what they work for and what they don’t. It’s an industry that didn’t exist before 2018. So educating consumers about the products and what to expect and why they’re feeling a certain way a week after using a sleep product is critical.”
That dedication to communication runs deep. As they continue to develop new products, they need to be able to give targeted, specific education to grow consumer trust.
And Sunmed, Your CBD Store is a franchise business, which introduces an additional set of challenges beyond the already demanding task of being an industry leader in the market. Accessing transactional data from every store is crucial for providing the specific and tailored education necessary to support their clientele effectively.
That’s where Lightspeed comes in, supporting their mission with new visibility over stores. That’s been a big piece of the puzzle in enabling their educational efforts.
“We’ve been using the Lightspeed APIs to get full visibility into what is going on in every one of our Lightspeed locations, right at the transactional level,” says Wilfredo. With that data, they’ve been able to build a lightning-fast educational email flow, personalized to customer purchases. The day after a customer leaves a Sunmed, Your CBD Store location, the company is in their inbox with tailored information that encourages them to feel confident in their purchase—and the CBD industry as a whole.
Going forward as an industry leader
In the complex landscape of the CBD industry, navigating regulatory hurdles and supply chain intricacies has become a defining challenge for businesses.
Amidst these challenges, Sunmed, Your CBD Store has emerged not only as an industry leader but also as a beacon of resilience and innovation. Their unwavering dedication to customer education stands as a testament to their commitment to empowering both their clientele and the broader CBD community.
Using Lightspeed to streamline the way franchises run will help them keep their place at the top, helping them not only by managing regulations and supply chains, but also by managing education and data analysis to fine-tune their approach at the top.
This multifaceted approach aims to alleviate the stress on franchisees, enabling them to focus on the customer experience first.
“The growth plan is to continue to open stores. The last year has been about building the technology foundation, so that when the next wave of growth begins, we have that foundation in place and we’re able to support our franchisees the way that we need to in order for them to be successful. And the way that they’re going to be successful is for us to do the blocking and tackling of running a business for them so they can focus on the consumer.”
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