Dispensaries are rapidly expanding all across the US. With more and more states legalizing marijuana, there is a growing need for change. The way supply chains and retail function will transform and improve. There is now a substantial amount of data available, based on which changes in the industry can be gleaned and foreseen.
The variety of products available on the shelves of dispensaries is increasing. Customer preferences have crystallized and are now clear, charting a course for the entire industry. Take a look at this quick overview of the emerging trends that dispensaries will embrace in 2019.
Standardized Product Organization
Cannabis is a booming industry. The competition to win over customers is fierce. New types of products appear each day, and so are new varieties of products we already know and love. This amount of variety will soon hit a tipping point, and standardization will be required.
The appearance of a dispensary is about to change. The shelves of dispensaries will have to be organized in a completely different way. As of right now, the way that products are placed on display is more or less random with no rules set in stone. But to achieve a greater volume of sales, this will have to change.
When enough normalized categories of cannabis products appear, they will have to be categorically organized in a way similar to the average, every-day retail experience. This, in turn, will affect cannabis packaging, product branding, and the planning and allocation of inventory.
How this will affect products
This will give producers a huge incentive to develop brands similarly to other, more traditional products. The focus of marketing will shift even more to quality, sustainability, product origin, and concrete effects. The end result – customers will have an easier time finding exactly what they need.
Increased Branding and Advertising
Cannabis products are mostly marketed over the internet and word of mouth. The cannabis sphere of the web is alive and well, but 2019 will see a surge in more traditional methods of branding and advertisement. You can expect to see point of sale materials, as well as shelf-talkers and advertising within the dispensary.
Another thing to expect is further regulations. This won’t necessarily be a bad thing – no matter what is decided, the rules regarding advertising cannabis will be clearer. Branding will become one of the most important things for dispensaries.
Building trust by consistently meeting the needs of customers will be the top priority nationwide. The instant recognition that branding can provide to dispensaries will be invaluable in growing businesses.
Shift to Traditional Retail
The expansion of the market will require a shift to traditional retail methods. Traditional retail offers solutions to many problems that the industry is struggling with. In traditional retail, everything is a conscious choice – from architecture and lighting to the placement and organization of products.
Traditional retail has become an exact science. Retail chains know the intricacies of their model and target demographics. Retail management is full of professionals who can facilitate the change to a higher profit and higher volume model. This is why dispensaries are expected to go through this change.
An Inevitable Change
Two additional factors will drive this change. Number one, this model will allow producers to gather more data on customer preferences, helping supply meet demand.
The data on spending habits will prove invaluable to any producer or distributor. And second, traditional retail will dominate cannabis delivery, which has already become one of the industry’s most important sectors.
This is the echo of a larger point – traditional retail has the potential to bring infrastructure and knowledge which is sorely needed to the cannabis industry. In the end, it’s all motivated by customer demand and profit, and these two forces are unstoppable in business. The shift to retail is inevitable.
Flower Leads Sales
Unlike the other trends in this article, this one isn’t new. Flower and preroll are still the categories that sell the best. But there are visible changes when it comes to product popularity.
Vaporizer cartridges have seen an immense surge in popularity, making up 31% of sales on average, neck and neck with cannabis flower. The vaporizer segment of the market is always growing and shows no signs of stopping any time soon.
Consumer Trends and New Products
There have also been changes within established categories. Overall, more and more customers are showing interest in low THC, high CBD products. Gummies are dominating the edibles market, and the advent of microdosing is changing the face of the industry when it comes to edibles.
Edibles are becoming more popular in general – the products are being perfected, and the public is becoming more aware and informed about them. The same applies to other lesser known cannabis products– extracts, tinctures, topicals.
Another thing to look out for is more cannabis-based products. Although they don’t represent a big share of the market yet, cannabis-infused coffee, beer, cooking oil, and beauty products will be a huge hit. Cannabis will only continue to move further into the mainstream.
The Cannabis Lounge
Another trend to follow is the appearance of the cannabis lounge. Cannabis dispensaries are opening lounges at a fast pace, competing with bars for customers. These are designated areas for smoking. There’s no food, alcohol is prohibited, and only those older than 21 can enter.
Lounges provide a great way for patrons to relax and enjoy themselves, all the while sampling different strains. It’s a new and luxurious experience, reminiscent of a nice restaurant more than a dispensary.
The air is meticulously ventilated, all the equipment is provided by the dispensary, and the service is top-notch. Lounges represent a new way of thinking in the industry, one that is focused on customer service and luxury.
This trend started way back in the ‘70s in Amsterdam but has just now made its way to the States. San Francisco was the first city to allow permits for these lounges. All signs are pointing to lounges as the next trendy way of enjoying cannabis.