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Inside The New Brandless Marketplace And The Decision To Launch With CBD


PSFK speaks to the digital native known for its low-cost everyday essentials about launching a marketplace that sells merch from partnered brands, touching on the retailer's aim to become the #1 destination for CBD wellness products

In Brief:

  • Brandless, the e-tailer known for its curated and economically priced range of home, food and wellness essentials, is breaking with convention, debuting its first offer from a partnered brand.
  • For the launch of its new Marketplace strategy, which includes a harder focus on self-care and wellness routines, the retailer will be partnering with Plant People, a direct-to-consumer CBD maker known for its commitment to sustainability and quality.
  • PSFK spoke to Aaron Magness, chief marketing officer at Brandless, about using insights from subscribers and also visitors to the retailer's IRL popups to develop a marketplace that will sell other wellness and sustainability-focused brands. Here's how Brandless is refocusing to become a one-stop shop for a wellness-led lifestyle, and aiming to become a leader in quality CBD.

What motivated you to develop Marketplace, and how does it play into the larger Brandless retail strategy?

Marketplace is our strategy to focus on what we do best and what customers love about us—from the products we home in on to the way customers shopping with us experience Brandless.

Over the past few years, we have built an incredible insights engine that is driving this strategic roadmap heading into 2020 and beyond. By understanding the preferences and habits of our community of engaged customers, we’ve harnessed every click, every like and every order to map the future of Brandless on what our customers want. And that’s not just online. We’ve hosted pop-ups in NYC and L.A. to learn from customer shopping habits and inform our future strategy.

Now it’s clear: The vast majority of our customers choose Brandless for sustainably made wellness, self-care and home products. This is what our marketplace is all about.

Tell us more about the R&D process, and any other consumer insights that went into the design of the Brandless Marketplace.

We essentially ran an extensive audit on the data, and decided to first phase out items that simply no longer fit within this customer-driven roadmap, and second to innovate and expand the products that are driving customer loyalty and happiness.

For example, we’ve seen that customers are looking for products that improve their wellness routines. So we are going to stop selling products that don’t have a direct impact on people’s wellness and self-care, such as condiments, pastas and other basic pantry items. But we’re also innovating further to offer things that will impact wellness and self-care, from clean beauty to CBD.

Take clean, depuffing eye gel ($11) or rosewater facial toner ($8) for example: Both are unique to our assortment, and have been instant best sellers (it’s also clear from our data and insights that customers come back to us because they trust the quality and curation of our products, not just because of the price point). And in the past month, CBD was the #3 searched product on

We know customers look to CBD to help promote rest, stay calm, ease discomfort and more. That’s why CBD wellness is such a fitting introduction to our Marketplace strategy.

Furthermore, because Brandless is focused on becoming a one-stop shop for any and all sustainably-sourced products that support a wellness-focused lifestyle, CBD wellness logically follows: We aim to become the #1 destination for CBD wellness products. And CBD is the perfect proving ground for rolling out this broader Brandless Marketplace strategy.

The demand is there, both broadly and within our existing customer base. As CBD has transformed from a niche product to a full-blown, more normalized (and less stigmatized) mainstream wellness product available in various known retail channels, it is reaching tens of millions more consumers across the age, gender, regional, and political spectrum every year. In fact, in the next four years, the CBD market is expected to grow nearly 400% to a more-than-$23-billion market because of that demand. This trend is reflected in our own customer data.

But it’s also a chance to lead. Right now, we’re in the wild, wild west of quality and safety for CBD. It’s impossible to know if what you’re buying was made in someone’s garage or by a giant corporation, and there’s little to no consistency in quality, grade, or dose. We’re interested in being a leader in establishing quality and safety standards in the industry; that’s also what customers expect of us.

We love that you’re debuting with Plant People and its CBD offering! What drove this choice of partnership?

While we are also developing our own line of Brandless CBD products, the demand is so great from our customers that we want to bring them high-quality CBD products as soon as possible. We’ve vetted CBD brands to find ones that meet our incredibly high standards and values, and we’re proud to bring them to the Brandless community. Plant People couldn’t be a more fitting launch partner here, from their similar values to their rigorous quality standards and their commitment to sustainability.

What strategies is Brandless employing to become a trusted CBD resource? There are a lot of competitors emerging in this space—what will set Brandless apart?

Brandless already has a robust quality and safety testing program facility for our in-house products and we’re going to use this same system for creating being a standard bearer of quality, sustainability and safety in the CBD industry. When you buy CBD from Brandless you’ll know that the manufacturer and product has been thoroughly reviewed, tested, and meets our rigorous standards.

Beyond CBD, what other wellness-related offers can we expect? Any specifics you can share?

Looking forward, we’ll be focused on health & wellness, clean beauty & self-care and home. While we can’t mention specifics of upcoming launches, we can share that we are focused on providing high-quality home goods that improve people’s wellness and care routines.

Plant People

Lead image via Unsplash