Founded in 2019, Alphagreen is the leading online platform offering CBD and alternative healthcare products. It serves consumers through the online marketplace, and also provides tech-enabled services to brands.
Inkwood: How do you think the Coronavirus pandemic is going to affect the CBD Skin Care Industry and to what extent? (Short & long term implications)
Alpahgreen: The COVID-19 pandemic has been beneficial to the CBD market as a whole. This definitely has short term implications for all CBD products. Oils and tinctures still seem to be leading with the demand as they have been around longer than skincare and drinks. So they can leverage the first mover’s advantage. CBD e-liquids used in vaping are also gaining popularity thanks to their rapid speed of onset in terms of CBD effects. CBD in skincare is relatively new by comparison, so it is not quite there yet in terms of demand.
Further, issues affecting and limiting the growth of CBD in skincare and beauty products, in general, is because there are a lot of brands out there that make ineffective products and don’t comply with the regulations. For example, some consumers have reported some CBD creams to change color but don’t know what that means as the shelf-life indicates it is still usable. However, the color-change indicates the CBD has deteriorated and therefore won’t be effective, which means consumers will not find value in buying CBD infused products. Thus, It is essential to eliminate these unreliable brands and distinguish between the bad players and trustworthy brands with products that do actually work.
There is still a lot of research that needs to be carried out into CBD as well as product formulation to ensure they can be used safely in skincare products without the risk of them deteriorating. The Coronavirus pandemic will hopefully have positive long-term implications for the CBD industry, including skincare, as it has opened up conversations in many countries regarding regulation and testing. In Israel and parts of the US, Cannabis was declared as an essential industry during the pandemic. Hopefully, other countries will also realize the benefits and the value of the sector and follow suit by declaring it as crucial, clarifying, and relaxing regulations. All this will also allow greater in-depth research to be carried out in the industry across different applications so it can help boost demand for CBD infused products. However, in the long term, we are likely to see CBD used as an active ingredient alongside others in skincare products rather than a stand-alone within the beauty-sphere.
Inkwood: CBD-based skincare products are largely regulated by authorities due to its THC content, and at present many developed countries do not permit the use of CBD in the personal care industry. How will this affect the industry & do you foresee the industry growing with such stringent industry regulations?
Alpahgreen: The stringent regulations definitely inhibit the growth of the industry but also help protect consumers at the same time from using unsafe and ineffective products. As mentioned before, I do see the industry growing – despite the current regulations. For example, our research, which has been cited by industry experts and notable publications, such as Forbes, found that the UK is home to 8 million CBD consumers (that’s 15% of the adult population) and is predicted to grow by 50% in 2020; this is despite unclear and confusing regulations in the UK. CBD is being recognized for its benefits, and, as mentioned earlier, countries are acknowledging the importance of CBD as an essential industry that will allow for more research to be carried out. This is aimed to provide more evidence of the benefits that CBD has to offer and confirm that the products are safe to use. This would give countries confidence that the products are not harmful and will help the industry to grow. The only problem scenario appears if countries are stubborn and resistant to learning about the industry and adapting regulations accordingly.
Inkwood: Companies are innovatively promoting their product offerings through various channel strategies and are mainly focusing on e-commerce platforms. Do stakeholders that are expanding their businesses through online retail stores are expected to attract a larger consumer base? If yes, then the rationale behind it?
Alpahgreen: Focusing on e-commerce strategy is an extremely attractive and sensible option given how dynamic and digital today’s consumers are. E-commerce can also be very cost-effective in comparison to some traditional channels and provide opportunities to personalize products and offers for consumers as well as make automatic recommendations based on what has been bought before, which is what our data and analytics have specialized. The COVID-19 pandemic has further emphasized the importance of e-commerce channels in driving sales, as only businesses that could function and continue online effectively were the ones that sustained and will continue to thrive. It is a trend that is here to stay, and we can expect growth in it.
The future, however, is headed towards e-commerce companies that can successfully accompany their online strategy with great on-the-ground customer experiences, as that helps consumers build positive associations with the brand and encourages loyalty.
Inkwood: Out of CBD oils, CBD lotion & creams, CBD masks & serums, CBD bath & soaps, which product categories are key investment pockets, and which category is expected to boost in coming years?
Alpahgreen: CBD oils will make up a huge portion of investments, simply because it is one of the well-known and established products in the industry, with perhaps the most research backing it. Given the boom in the general cosmetics and beauty industry, CBD skincare will also see a boost in investment once there is more research on it and more knowledge about using CBD and having great product formulations at the same time.
Inkwood: As technology makes it easier to deliver more personalized product formulas, brands are chomping at the bit to deliver customized skincare experiences to the masses. Is the CBD skincare industry expected to benefit from such a trend?
Alpahgreen: Yes, there is great potential, although this will only gain traction once there is more research available on CBD and formulations that work with the same. Once we have the research, we can expect CBD to be included as an active ingredient alongside others in a range of branded and popular skincare products and cosmetics. It is also up to brands to establish themselves as serious players in the market by creating a loyal customer base who would advocate for these products.
Inkwood: What steps have you taken to keep consumers interested in your brand during the COVID-19 crisis, and what is your strategy post-pandemic?
Alpahgreen: During the pandemic, we focused on educating consumers about the benefits of CBD, especially in terms of the problems it can potentially help with, sleep, relaxation, pain management, mood, and other mental health concerns. We already highlighted and educated consumers about CBD’s benefits and therapeutic properties through our social media, Academy, as well as blog posts. The COVID-19 crisis created an excellent boost of traffic as people were actively looking for solutions to problems with sleep, mental health, relaxation, and so on, and found that CBD could help.
Our post-pandemic strategy will be to amplify what we have been doing in the past months around educating users. There is a lot of confusion in the CBD space with consumers in terms of what CBD is as well as its legality- thanks to the unclear regulations. We have decided that we will use our social media platform to amplify our message and educate users thoroughly, starting with the very basics of CBD.
We’re all about creating and strengthening the community within the industry, and we stand by our brands and their products, all of which are tested thoroughly and lab-certified. We’re supporting them with our end-to-end technology and providing services like SEO content creation and insights into data and analytics. We’re helping these young companies to pave the way by strengthening their brand and digital footprint, driving traffic and sales, thus creating more stability in the market.