How much money do you think Walmart has invested in perfecting Walmart.com? What about Amazon or even Best Buy? Surely these companies have invested hundreds of Millions of dollars building the most effective, most impactful online retail experiences. How can they afford not to?
In the early days of Rank Really High we closely analyzed how traditional “big box” retail and global ecommerce giants structured their websites to see if we could gleen any insights useful for our fledgling cannabis ecommerce platform. What we observed blew our minds.
Practically every single one of the top selling retailer websites are built essentially same!
We noticed several consistent trends we knew had to be purpose built based on the estimated millions and millions of dollars that went into R&D to build these sites. They are as follows:
- It’s all about the Product Search.
- Sites quickly find the closest physical location and set it as the ‘primary store’ for you.
- Products, Specials, and Sales Events are introduced immediately.
- All ecommerce purchases to occur on most (if not all) pages, including the homepage.
The aesthetics are, by and large, the same across all of these websites. Their headers include: the store closest to you already selected. There’s a search bar at the top center of the website header and throughout the site are promotions, products, offers, and specials. Notice how blogs, education, events, and social media are not the focal point of any of these sites?
Best Buy Ecommerce
So… Why do MOST cannabis dispensary eCommerce websites look so different from every other retail website?
Armed with the understanding that the most successful online retailers have dialed-in, consistent website UX/UI (user experience/user interfaces) we went back to analyze over 400 dispensary websites in North America. What we saw was, and still is, equally shocking. Cannabis Ecommerce websites are designed the complete opposite way.
Rank Really High’s “WeedMart” Ecommerce-first concept
What we found is that most cannabis dispensary websites seem to deprioritize the ecommerce experience. Few feature bundles, specials, sales events or even products on their homepage or any other page outside of their “Menu” page which we found tended to be an iframe… in an industry where it’s “hard not impossible” to do paid search and social media marketing can we really afford our most important website page (Products, Brands, Strains, Effects and Specials) to be largely invisible to Google searches?
But… we’re a lifestyle brand. We’re different. (No you’re not). We don’t need ecommerce first design (yes you do).
I know what some of you are thinking… “We’re a ‘lifestyle brand’ we aren’t just a store!” Yeah, we thought about that too, which is why in addition to the big box stores and delivery giants like Walmart and Amazon – we also checked out the notorious lifestyle retail brand websites like LL Bean, REI, Neiman Marcus, Yeti, Jeep, Wholefoods and Burton Snowboards — they all have ecommerce-first web interfaces featuring their top-selling products, special offers, incentives, and products which can be purchased directly from the homepage and throughout their sites.
LL Bean Ecommerce
We’re high end. We sell premium cannabis products. Ecommerce first cheapens our brand.
We considered this too and went to famous luxury brand websites like Tiffany & Co., Zales, and Breitling watches. And, Yes, they all share the same, common eCommerce UX/UI fundamentals. Promoting on sale products, the ability to purchase from any page on their sites, and an empathizes on product search functionality.
SO why on earth are cannabis dispensaries building their websites so dramatically different from major retailers? Well it’s partially because of the technology that most dispensaries employ to promote their menus. These are by and large iFrames, which lack the visibility, flexibility, and customization options that most retailers from shoe stores on Shopify to big box brands like Walmart have come to benefit from.
Rank Really High has built deep relationships with industry leaders Dutchie and Jane to leverage their menu, product, and brand APIs to build experiences customers are accustomed to. The result is an eCommerce-first, retail-driven solution that allows our partners to have more control over their marketing and more online sales success.
Like what we’re saying? We’d love to show you exactly how we can apply these tried and true eCommerce tactics to your cannabis dispensary’s digital marketing plan. We can build you a Weedmart-style website for as little as $749/mo or build you a highly customized one starting from $1,999/mo! View our pricing packages!