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Cannabis B2B Sales Showdown: Wholesale Marketplaces vs eCommerce Menus

In the ever-evolving landscape of the licensed cannabis industry, businesses are consistently finding efficient ways to connect with partners, streamline their operations, and increase their bottom line. For cannabis brands, Cannabis Wholesale Marketplaces and customized B2B eCommerce stores offer two distinct avenues for buying and selling cannabis in bulk. In this blog post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of both and highlight how the Flourish Wholesale Portal offers brands and manufacturers the flexibility to adopt either a combined or standalone strategy for B2B eCommerce.

The Case for Cannabis Wholesale Marketplaces

Cannabis Wholesale Marketplaces offer a compliant centralized hub where retailers can browse and purchase multiple brands simultaneously. They provide visibility in a competitive market and streamline the purchasing process for cannabis products.

Advantages of Cannabis Wholesale Marketplaces

  • Visibility: Being part of a large marketplace like Leaflink or Apex offers immediate exposure to a broad audience of potential buyers.
  • Ease of Use: Marketplaces often have established systems that facilitate ordering, payment, and even fulfillment.
  • Warehousing Inventory: Certain wholesaler marketplaces, permit brands to house their inventory in the marketplaces' warehouses, freeing up additional space for production within their facilities.

Disadvantages of Cannabis Wholesale Marketplaces

  • In a Sea of Competitors: With limited brand control and website customization, brands often find themselves as just another vendor in the marketplace.
  • Dependency on Platform Policies and Pricing: Changes in policies, features, and pricing can directly affect business operations and profit margins.
  • Indirect Customer Relationships: Limited interaction between brands and retailers can impede the development of a long-term and mutually beneficial partnership between the two.

The Emergence of Custom B2B eCommerce Stores

Some cannabis brands and manufacturers have developed custom B2B eCommerce platforms to gain control over their sales and shape their brand narrative.

Advantages of Customized B2B eCommerce Stores

  • Full Control of Customization and Branding: Your platform, your user experience, and your brand messaging align with the brand’s vision.
  • Establishing Direct Relationships: Provides the opportunity for direct interaction and cultivating relationships with retailers.
  • No Marketplace Fees: Brands could potentially experience improved profit margins without paying listing fees. It’s cannabis, and every dollar counts…Curse you, 280e.

Disadvantages of Customized B2B eCommerce Stores

  • Higher Initial Investment: As you may save on marketplace fees, building a customized platform requires a significant upfront cost for design, development, and ongoing maintenance.
  • More Complex Operations: Unlike marketplaces, which come with built-in infrastructure, custom B2B eCommerce menus involve overseeing everything from hosting and cybersecurity to site maintenance.
  • Integration Complexity: Fully integrating with manufacturing and inventory systems requires technical expertise.

Introducing the Flourish Wholesale Portal: A B2B eCommerce Menu

Utilizing Flourish Software's WooCommerce Plug-In and API integration, cannabis brands and manufacturers can easily set up their B2B store online. This allows licensed cannabis retailers to seamlessly access an exclusive wholesale purchasing channel integrated with Flourish Software. Flourish has developed and open-sourced a native plug-in for WooCommerce, the world's most popular eCommerce solution, significantly lowering the technical barriers to hosting a private eCommerce store. 

Key Benefits and Features of the Flourish Wholesale Portal

  • Automatic Order Processing: Wholesale orders placed online are seamlessly integrated into Flourish Software, streamlining the entire order processing workflow.
  • Realtime Inventory Sync: Inventory levels are automatically synchronized, providing accurate information on product availability. 
  • Security through Access Restrictions: Password-protected access guarantees that only authorized retailers can browse and make purchases.
  • Cost-Effective: Flourish offers a cost-effective solution for brands, especially those already part of Flourish Software’s seed-to-sale ecosystem.
  • Brand Empowerment and Engagement: Exercise complete control over your B2B eCommerce menu, webpages, and branding; ensure a distinctive retailer experience, enhance engagement, and provide comprehensive product information and education for cannabis retailers.
  • Lot-based purchasing (Coming Soon): Empowers retailers to select cannabis lots, expanding their choices and enhancing the overall purchasing experience.

Major Bloom's major decision to use Flourish for their B2B eCommerce

For Major Bloom, a lifestyle cannabis brand founded in Massachusetts, their collaboration with Flourish Software has proven transformative. I had the privilege to chat with Ravon Williams, Head of Business Development at Major Bloom, to explore their journey with Flourish and its profound impact on their operations.
Learn more about the Flourish Wholesale Portal
Major Bloom: Deploys Flourish Software for its manufacturing, distribution, and B2B eComm operations.

Ravon Williams, Business Development Manager at Major Bloom

Ravon, who joined the company in August 2021, disclosed that Major Bloom has implemented Flourish since October 2022 for their upstream manufacturing and distribution software. While Major Bloom utilizes a few other prominent SaaS providers to round out the retail component of their tech stack, Ravon affirmed, "Flourish is our go-to solution." In late 2023, Flourish approached Ravon and the Major Bloom team about using the Flourish Wholesale Portal for their B2B wholesale operations. In collaboration with Ranked Really High, a dispensary eCommerce website and digital marketing provider, Major Bloom became our first Flourish Wholesale Portal customer.

Major Bloom's adoption of Flourish's Wholesale Portal, a B2B eCommerce platform, has streamlined their operations and heightened efficiency across various facets of their business. Ravon underscored, "The ease of access and seamlessness for our team is incredibly beneficial. The reporting capabilities and the ability to track products have significantly improved."

"With this [the Flourish Wholesale Portal], we're able to ensure that our wholesale site mirrors our website. By collaborating with Flourish and our web development team, we've created a cohesive online experience that embodies the essence of Major Bloom."

-Ravon Williams, Major Bloom

A pivotal factor in Major Bloom's decision to embrace Flourish's Wholesale Portal was the platform's customization options, allowing them to align their online presence with their brand identity. Ravon elaborated, "With this, we're able to ensure that our wholesale site mirrors our website. By collaborating with Flourish and our web development team, we've created a cohesive online experience that embodies the essence of Major Bloom."

Discussing their strategy for maximizing the B2B portal's potential, Ravon stressed the importance of relationship-building and driving traffic to their platform. "My primary objective is to raise awareness about our website and drive traffic. Ultimately, sales will follow, but initially, it's about establishing connections," he explained. "Whether it's through email outreach or face-to-face interactions, our goal is to introduce potential clients to our platform."

In essence, Major Bloom's partnership with Flourish Software underscores the critical role of innovation and adaptability in the cannabis industry. Armed with cutting-edge technology and a commitment to fostering meaningful connections, Major Bloom, armed with its Flourish Wholesale Portal, is poised to thrive in a dynamic and competitive market landscape.

Strategically Choosing Your B2B Cannabis Sales Strategy and Platform

In conclusion, deciding between a Cannabis Wholesale Marketplace and a Customized B2B eCommerce store hinges on specific business needs. Marketplaces offer efficiency and exposure but with limitations, while custom stores provide more control and branding. Flourish Software's Wholesale Portal emerges as a transformative solution, providing flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and seamless integration with the Flourish software. This B2B eCommerce menu can stand alone or complement existing Cannabis Wholesale Marketplace listings, ensuring maximum exposure. Adopting a dual strategy allows brands to balance marketplace reach and a proprietary sales channel, optimistically optimizing returns.

Amidst the ever-changing licensed cannabis landscape, Flourish remains steadfast in its mission to empower customers with the best products. Explore the Flourish Wholesale Portal for insights into efficiently managing your B2B cannabis supply chain.