According to the 2019 Consumer Reports, 74% of the participants have reported buying CBD from dispensaries or retail stores, while only 27% made their CBD purchases through online retailers. However, this market trend has changed quite rapidly because of the recent global pandemic.
By the following year, 45% of the consumers have bought CBD products through e-commerce platforms. Another report indicates that the official websites of CBD brands generated more than half of the online CBD sales.
Now that we are gradually returning to normalcy, some people wonder if the buying preferences will change again. We won’t try to convince you to change how and where you purchase your favorite CBD products. Instead, what we’d like to discuss is the decision-making process that happens before you buy or ignore a new release from any CBD brand.
In this article, we will tackle the pros and cons of listening to the recommendations of physical stores or online CBD review sites. Similar to our opinion about the debate over the better selling platform, we believe both have good and bad sides. However, we want to highlight these points to help you make informed decisions while exploring the CBD brands’ new products.
CBD Recommendations from Physical Stores
Before we go through the pros and cons, take note that when we talk of physical stores, it’s not limited to cannabis dispensaries that are licensed to sell products for medical purposes. Given how CBD has been taken off the list of illegal substances by the FDA, plenty of stores and locations now sell CBD products.
Physical Stores: Pros
The product verification process varies from one store to another since there are no established rules related to this. However, the best cannabis retailers require manufacturers to submit test results and other certifications. They also personally try the products and observe the effects on them.
To support their recommendations, generous and confident store owners provide free product samples to their customers. Others may also have in-store product testers of CBD topicals so that people can check out how the product would smell and feel when applied to the skin.
Since you will likely go to the nearest store for your CBD purchase, airing your complaints or asking for refunds can be done by going back to the store and speaking to the owner or manager.
Physical Stores: Cons
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does not impose any regulation regarding store testing of CBD products, so it’s an optional task that not every owner is willing to undertake. As such, you can’t have the peace of mind that the CBD products being your local stores recommend will work as promised.
What’s worse than indifference is the deliberate act of cutting corners just to earn a few extra bucks. Quality CBD products can demand higher prices because they are made from domestic hemp, manufactured in GMP-compliant facilities, and tested independently by laboratories. Consumers prefer CBD brands that meet these standards. However, store owners who are only in it for the money won’t likely care enough to double-check.
If you’re a first-time CBD buyer, you might not know the differences between full-spectrum and broad-spectrum. You also may not know whether or not hemp seed oil is the same as CBD oil. Similarly, stores that are just joining the CBD hype may not have the proper or sufficient knowledge about CBD products to guide or answer their customers’ questions.
Based on these sets of pros and cons, following the recommendations of the local store owners can be a good option for you if you trust their judgment on what a quality CBD product is and if you prefer getting tangible proof of their claims before making a purchase. However, we don’t suggest this method if you aren’t familiar with the ways of the store owners or if they couldn’t address your inquiries about a CBD brand or product.
CBD Recommendations from Online Review Sites
In general, online review sites share their research and feedback about CBD products that they have tried. The products may have been bought by themselves or sent by the CBD brands. Like physical stores, online review sites aren’t equal. You can trust some to provide objective evaluations, while others promote whichever CBD brand would pay them.
Online Review Sites: Pros
Since the reviewer has enough time to translate their thoughts into words or videos, their evaluations cover all the essential points consumers want to know about a CBD brand or product. These review sites also offer tips on using a specific CBD product and reminders on what to do before and after purchasing a product.
Given that many studies and survey results are available online, review authors make it a point to include the links to these objective pieces of information to support their content. You have the choice of whether to learn further through the linked page or skip it for now.
Some review sites consolidate or embed online feedback from verified customers. Others leave the comment section open so that anyone can express their agreement or refutation of the points covered in the review.
Online Review Sites: Cons
Not every review site is transparent about being paid to promote a particular brand or product. In some cases, it’s also hard to pick up the signs, especially if you aren’t a discerning reader. Because of this, you might be listening to a recommendation that may or may not be helpful to you.
Unless you have received a CBD product as a gift or a free sample, purchasing the product recommended by the reviewer is the best way to determine its reliability. While you can read through the reviews of other sites and customers, you might still not feel 100% confident about the given CBD product.
Yes, you can email the author or leave a scathing comment under the review, but what happens after then? There is a slight chance that you’d receive a reply and an even smaller chance of getting back your money because you trusted the wrong CBD review site.
A quick search on your browser would show you thousands of CBD reviews in a matter of seconds. The first ones you would see do not automatically mean that you can trust them, though. Learn to read between the lines and compare the reviews from multiple sites for the same CBD product, just to be sure.
Which of the Two Should You Trust?
Both physical stores and online review sites put their reputations at stake whenever they make CBD recommendations. Therefore, those who operate with integrity will naturally gain a loyal following, while those who don’t will likely not go far in this industry. Nonetheless, it’s essential to be selective right from the start. You don’t want to risk your health and waste your time and money on CBD products that will never deliver their promises.
Here’s the great thing, though. Listening to the recommendations of physical stores or online review sites isn’t mutually exclusive to one another. Given how convenient and accessible online content is nowadays, you can check out the reviews from reputable sites first. Then consult the local store owner about their opinion for the same CBD brand or product.
If ever the online reviews and opinions of the store owner are consistent, you would feel more reassured that you are making the right decision. Otherwise, you could scope out the store for other CBD products that you might want to try. It’s best to verify the product’s claims and quality through the online reviews and customer feedback first, so be sure to check them out before heading to the counter.
Here at TheCBDGuru.org, we take pride in our reviews of CBD brands and products that have passed our scrutiny. We suggest reading through them to learn more about our trusted wellness brands and favorite cannabis-derived products. We are also not affiliated with any of these companies, and we take an objective and straightforward approach for the benefit of our readers.