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Florida Hemp Distribution


Florida Hemp Distribution began as a wholesale marketplace for CBD distribution in Tallahassee, Florida.

The goal of the project was to create a B2B e-commerce platform and increase sales, move all existing customers online, and make it easier for company managers to operate the company efficiently.

Project Info:

  • Client: Florida Hemp Distribution (FHD)
  • Date: Dec 2019 – Present
  • Product Designer: User Research, Interaction, Visual design, Prototyping & Testing


With the rise of online CBD sales even before the times of social distancing, it is quite apparent that being on the forefront of the “green rush” can prove very fruitful to business owners to have a digital storefront.

When I started working with Florida Hemp Distribution, I wore many hats in the 2 years working with FHD. I was part of a team consisting of an additional designer, co-owners, marketing teams and sales teams. Having led the UI and UX strategy for the company, and worked alongside marketing and product strategies, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have been part of this journey, and I have grown tremendously with FHD. Some key achievements I have listed below:

  • Estalished Usability Tests: I formulated objective decisions that hit and often exceeded our goals based on actual data generated by our users and qualitative research I’ve conducted with our customers which led to development approvals from shareholders despite having their own ideas and assumptions based on their own experiences.
  • Developed A Design System: This has helped current and new Engineering, Product, and Marketing teams to understand how and why we choose to implement certain components over others.
  • Established A Design Kit: This has helped to maintain a consistency in the look and feel across different all parts of the platform and branding channels including email, social media, and business cards.
  • Stayed Within Budget: Even though I had a tight budget to work on, I was still able to design, develop, and test the FHD platform from start to finish. By having a bigger budget however, I would’ve been able to do a lot more detailed work, but the shareholders and I are very happy with what we’ve been able to do across the board.

The Research

I used the double diamond design process to create an agile and lean UX setting as a target for our each of our projects - discovery, defining the problems, ideation, and implementation.

Understanding The Problem:

The Business Problems

Despite limited sales offline (in-person sales), the FHD sales team was severely limited since they did not have a way to scale such as taking full advantage of automated email campaigns, managing orders and shipping, and professionally onboarding new vendors.

The Customer Problems

This is a 2-part problem: a customer problem, and a vendor problem. The customers wanted a way to to use our platform online to browse and pay for products without having to make a phone call each time, and the vendors wanted to use our platform online to manage those products being sold and have the freedom of control instead of always having to email changes and new products.

I conducted research interviews with my own script per audience group, closed card sorting, and gathered data from customer feedback with our primary users (customers and vendors) to discover what our audience actually wants, respectively.

My research encompassed:

  • Understanding the user objectives and needs
  • Determining the priority of those objectives and needs
  • Identifying and isolating any edge cases

Analyzing The Research

I used the double diamond design process to create an agile and lean UX setting as a target for our each of our projects - discovery, defining the problems, ideation, and implementation.

After collecting all of the recordings from the user interviews, closed card sorting, and customer feedback (emails/in-person interviews), I conducted an affinity mapping session to synthesize the problems identified.

I grouped these problems under common themes and features that are best used in marketplace-type platforms.

By having a rich set of both qualitative and quantitative data to work with before even having a product (the marketplace), I was able to create a customer journey map.

Additionally, analyzing the competitive benchmark allowed me to map out a customer value curve to really focus on what our strengths are to focus our efforts on during the development.

Focusing The Scope of Work

Based on the data collected, I found the following most important considerations:

  • There needed to be a way to allow the customer to shop online
  • There needed to be a way to capture customer payments in a frictionless manner
  • There needed to be a way to route the PO (purchase order) details to the correct vendors to fulfill the order without having the founder get involved directly each time via email or phone calls
  • There needed to be a way to allow customers to create accounts and automate future processing of orders and customer info such as shipping

Ideating Our Design

Based on the problems identified, I worked towards addressing these pains by coming up with paths of potential solutions:

  • Designing a shop that is simple to find products
  • Reducing the phone calls, emails, and manual work to process orders offline by creating an online payment flow for customers to process orders online
  • Automatically send PO data to the relevant vendors via email and integrations
  • Implement an account for customers to manage and save their data for future use including their name, billing and shipping information

I quickly mocked up some basic wireframes to gather feedback from select users on the overall layout and structure of the shop and customer account pages. This involved establishing a standardized visual hierarchy and layout for the future platform development.

Validating The Designs

I conducted usability testing sessions with our primary users to validate whether the new designs would solve their problems. I wrote several scripts including a scenario asking the user to purchase a product.

During the session, I observed how they interacted with the prototype, purchased products, and how they interacted with their account. The usability session revealed that it was less arduous to add a new product by adding to the cart right from the catalog instead of clicking on the product which takes them to a dedicated product page to then add the product to their cart.

Developing The Designs

I created my high fidelity mockups and prototypes with Figma which kept everything in house up until the actual code necessary to build out the actual products. However, I used my HTML & CSS knowledge alongside a custom WordPress environment I set up to build out the platform, paying close attention to details such as interactions, consistency, and following the mockups.

Results & Takeaways

Working in and developing a B2B multi-faceted e-commerce platform was very challenging, and many times presented steep learning curves.

It was an eye-opening experience that taught me a lot about being lean, especially with a limited budget for a project of this scale.

Since the creation of Florida Hemp Distribution, the founder has been able to bring on all of their current and new business online and effectively handle tens of thousands of dollars each month in reoccurring revenue.

I have also received positive feedback from the vendors, users, and the founder about the online transition of the company, saving them a large proportion of their time while also producing increased revenue trackable with in-depth analytics for both admin and vendors.

Some key takeaways from this project are:

  • Create a strategic plan to launch an MVP. This helps deal with out-of-scope requests that could potentially derail the project and helps deliver a quality product in time.
  • Focus on building the MVP. There is only so much time and effort that you can invest so it's important to focus on the features that can deliver the highest value for your users
  • User testing doesn't end after development. Design is a constant iteration of improving the experience for the end user. Always find ways to collect and listen to your user's feedback.

We continued this approach across the board developing affiliate/influencer programs with celebrities, creating vendor onboarding flows, automating dozens of processes, and much, much more.

What the Future Holds

Mobile App: To top it all off, a dedicated app for Florida Hemp Distribution (FHD) is a real possibility in the future with plenty of room to improve as more resources get allocated. I’d work with a team of app developers by supplying them with FHD site maps of the platform to help engineers understand how the overall site architecture works.

This website was coded completely from scratch by Robert A. Gallo. Thank you for going through my work 🤓