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CBD purveyors see huge HME potential

CBD purveyors see huge HME potential

The excitement about the future of CBD products in the HME retail sector is palpable from advocates in the field. CBD – or cannabidiol – has become a common homeopathic treatment for a variety of ailments and is ubiquitous at retailers across the country. 

The burgeoning popularity of CBD – which is a derivative of hemp and not marijuana – poses a huge over-the-counter retail opportunity for HME providers, proponents say. 

“The growth potential for CBD sales within the HME market is tremendous,” said Maria Marcotte, HME/secondary market account specialist for Salt Lake City-based MuscleMx. “When you look at the target market for HME, that audience has medical conditions that often include acute or chronic pain. If we look at the once-again rising rates of opioid use, people want and need other options to help provide relief from pain and inflammation. Equally as important, is having a place that is reliable and trusted to purchase the products that will help them.” 

Laura Hand, CEO of Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Laura Loo Experience Design, cites research that projects the United States CBD market to reach $23.7 billion by 2023. This impressive level of sales should pique HME providers’ interest in taking an active role in building this category, she said. 

“Patients and caregivers are researching holistic and natural alternatives,” Hand said. “For the next three-to-five years, a majority of patients are still unclear on what CBD can do for them and are seeking a safe place to share their stories and get help. That will change as time goes on, though.  

“Consumers are becoming educated on their endocannabinoid system and what products can help them,” Hand continued. “Some are doing testing to find deficiencies in their endocannabinoid system so they know exactly what cannabinoids will best create homeostasis in their body. They will be actively looking for credible brands and are willing to pay for quality and experience.” 

Versatility + profitability 

A big advantage of CBD is its versatility, which fits within the HME supply chain perfectly, said Nick Difrancesco, CEO of Boynton Beach, Fla.-based PurWell. CBD can be used to treat symptoms of various conditions of HME clients, with the four major categories being pain/inflammation, anxiety, depression and sleep. It also comes in multiple forms, from gummies to topicals.  

As an eight-year veteran of the cannabis industry, Difrancesco has witnessed the explosive growth over that time and can’t contain his exuberance for its profit potential in the HME industry. 

“The margins range from 40% to 63%, so well-oiled HME providers can make $100,000 a year from CBD,” he said. “It’s completely turnkey and we offer a 60-day moneyback guarantee for retailers.” 

Fueling CBD’s growth is swelling demand from the public, who are “looking for health without the high,” Difrancesco said. “There are so many health benefits with CBD it is ridiculous.” 

Sales + marketing 

In-depth knowledge of patient disorders is critical for HME providers to effectively market CBD products, Marcotte said.  

“The best way for HME providers to market CBD products is by first letting their target market know that they have these products,” she said. “Topicals feel like a very safe way to introduce CBD to their sales teams as well as to their customers.” 

Extensive product knowledge is another key component of an effective sales strategy. 

“The sales team needs to understand the various reasons people seek out CBD products and they need to have a basic understanding of the endocannabinoid system and how plant-cannabinoids impact virtually every other system in our bodies,” she said. “If there is a strong understanding that people are using CBD, they are able to sell this product as easily as they would sell a CPAP to someone suffering from sleep apnea.” 

“Owned” and “earned” media are the keys to successful CBD marketing, Hand said, with each having its own platform for effective messaging. 

For owned media, Hand urges providers to “think about your customers’ experience…because they don’t know what to ask, what is safe, how long to take it and what it can do for them. The first place they will look is your website, so develop educational content like blog articles and short videos.” 

Email marketing is one of the most effective revenue-driving channels, Hand said, because it leverages segmentation and automation to deliver personalized content based on subscribers’ demographics, interests and behaviors, which drives quality traffic back to the provider’s site.  

Social media is also part of the owned media and should be reserved for branding, not sales, she said. 

Earned media marketing consists of reaching out to local media outlets and community organizations to promote efforts on providing education and a safe environment for patients.  

“It provides transparency and additional credibility to your business,” she said.


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