We had some great momentum early this year.
We developed partnerships with some amazing brands. We had the opportunity to interact with some incredible customers. We hired a developer to make some dramatic improvement to our product pages, and we were all set to bring in a number of new products.
Then it all came to a halt.
If you wanna know what happened, read on. If you just wanna see what’s new and exciting, click here to skip to the good part.
See…what had happened was…
Elavon (a subsidiary of US Bank) was our credit card processor. They really made things simple for us. They were reputable, had a great tech infrastructure and we really trusted them to handle payments for our most valuable fans. Our customers.
Suddenly, Elavon decided to stop supporting CBD transactions. There’s a lot of speculation why they did so, and much of it centered around the fact that the FDA chairman Scott Gottlieb (a staunch supporter of hemp reform and an ally of US Bank) stepped down in March 2019.
That changed the entire landscape of the boutique CBD industry. The only processors that would do credit cards were requiring minimum monthly sales of $100k – $250k. After only a few months of operation, we weren’t anywhere near those numbers.
“Hopefully I can come up with something on Monday. A lot of my [CBD sellers] are throwing in the towel because of the hassle.”A text we received from our payment processing broker
A difficult decision
The news wasn’t encouraging. Our payment broker was scrambling to find us another alternative. We had no idea how long we were going to be without the ability to process payments. It could be a day, a week, a year, or never.
We ultimately decided after a number of days that the best/right thing to do was to cancel all of our unfulfilled orders and notify our subscribers what happened along with our well wishes and a link to some of our competitors and suppliers so they could continue to buy the products they like and trusted.
We also replaced our home page with a message letting everyone know we were down, and to be patient while we finished our enhancements (see below) and found a new payment provider.
It was terrifying. All of the money and effort we had invested into building the business, only to have a payment provider take it all away in a heartbeat.
At the end of the day, we just had to trust in karma and that the hard work we put in and the service we provided would build enough loyalty that our customers would return. Of course there are more fish in the online shopper sea, but we’re loyal. We really wanted to see our old friends again in addition to making new ones.
But enough bad news. This is a good news story.
A brand new look and feel
We used the down time to make multiple updates to the browsing and purchase experience of our site, and we think you’re going to like them.
An all-new product page
Our old product page worked okay, but we felt like it should be easier to see all of the product info without so much scrolling, clicking on tabs, and then having to scroll some more if you wanted to see a product image or add the item to your cart.
Mike, one of our founders, designed a really nice experience and we spent some time with a developer to get it just right.
Improved product images
On desktop, a single view with a persistent product image and the ability to click (or swipe) left and right to see any additional images. (Hint: You’ll know how many there are based on the number of dots at the bottom of the image.)
The mobile experience allows you to swipe through the images with ease.
Additionally, the majority of our images are now on an off-white background with a nice drop shadow. Not only does this look way better, it also helps you differentiate between any white areas on the product itself instead of having it blend into the background. Easier to see is good, right?
Improved product description layout
Now you can see the entire product description simply by scrolling down the product description portion of the listing. It is no longer broken up by our return policy, subscription pricing, or an Add to Cart button in the middle. You no longer have to click on different tabs to see different types of information. It’s all right there.
Improved access to add to cart
Whether you’re on desktop or mobile, the Add to Cart button is persistent at the bottom of your screen, even while you scroll through the product description. That means that as soon as you have enough information and you’re ready to pull the trigger, it’s super easy.
Enhanced pricing information
For many items, the product description also contains a “Price per milligram” calculation. It should help you easily compare products, both within and across brands. Just remember, not all mg of CBD are created equal, depending on the absorption method (tincture, edible, etc.), the quality of the carrier oil, and the other cannabinoids and terpenes present in the product.
New secure payment options
We spent months looking for the perfect combination of new payment options to provide to you. Since CBD is still considered a “high risk” category in processing world, it means taking payments is costly and often comes with highly restrictive requirements.
There were plenty of providers that rushed in to fill the void from Elavon. Some of them were based in Asia, a lot of them charged setup fees in the thousands of dollars with no guarantee that they wouldn’t discontinue support within a few months. We felt like it was better to be picky.
Oh…and we learned our lesson. We also need to have more than one payment provider in case the unexpected happens.
With that in mind, we wanted to select two providers. One should be an expert at processing in the cannabis industry. Not just CBD. Actually supporting marijuana dispensaries. If they can operate in that environment, we know they can support the much less regulated CBD industry.
The second was a traditional credit card payment processor. More convenient for our customers, while still being safe.
Hypur – Our industry solution
Hypur is revolutionizing the way the cannabis industry takes payments. The founders have a background in banking and regulatory compliance, and saw a way to legitimately help dispensaries move away from a cash-only model.
We initially resisted the solution because it does have a (very simple) setup process where you verify your identity, connect your bank account, and setup a PIN. That’s a one-time process, and it lets you use your Hypur account across any merchants that accept it.
Oh…and they also have a really sweet referral program where you can get $20 deposited into your account for each referral. Pretty cool!
Our not-so-traditional new credit card processing solution
Somewhat similar to Hypur, our credit card processor and point of sale provider is targeting the marijuana dispensary market. Their processing solution is based on blockchain technology (the same technology on which Bitcoin is based) which has proven to be incredibly secure and reliable.
New order status messages
Who cares? BORING!
Well, except people got confused when they saw their order was “On Hold” pending payment. They already paid, right? Didn’t it go through?
Yep, it sure did. We decided it was probably a good idea just to authorize the credit card until we actually shipped the product. The software we were using called that state of being authorized but not charged “On Hold.” Dumb.
We have some new software now that helps the old software get some sense and rename some of those status messages. Isn’t that exciting?
We think so (but that’s probably because we got all the customer service questions asking about it.)
Still Real Good
Maybe even Real Good-er. We’re still the same guys as before. The ones that refuse to offer anything but the best products. The ones who believe that an online purchase can (and should) be a great customer experience supported by awesome service.
These Real Good things remain unchanged:
- A curated selection of the best products on the market
- The best customer service and support in the industry
- A hassle-free subscription service that you can manage online (no phone call necessary to skip a delivery or cancel your subscription.)
- Our Real Good Return Policy to help you buy with confidence
- We still like pie. Sweet, delicious pie. Mmmmm.
As always, we appreciate your business and value your feedback. Let us know what you think of these changes in the comments below. If you have a suggestion, email us and we’ll respond!
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
As with any dietary or nutritional supplement, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor or a trained medical professional. It’s also important to keep in mind that the information in this article should not be considered medical advice.
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