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Making Space; The Importance of Interior Design for the Modern Dispensary

As more and more states legalize medical marijuana, perceptions about marijuana are shifting and the design of dispensaries is changing too. They are evolving from sketchy locations on the wrong side of town to welcoming, beautiful spaces. Dispensary owners who want to thrive in a fiercely competitive market know that they are not just offering a product but an entire customer experience.

They are breaking negative stereotypes and buying products is becoming like any other retail experience.  Here are some reasons why the interior design of your dispensary matters.

A compelling brand is more than just a catchy name

The interior design of your dispensary is crucial because it affects your customers from the moment they enter the door. It’s not enough to have a great logo or a stunning website. A brand has to provide a particular experience and evoke emotion from a customer.

There is no one answer when it comes to creating the perfect interior design for a dispensary. Some customers may value a relaxing, spa-like environment and others will be designed for those who prefer a quick, tech-supported experience.  Every dispensary will look and feel different, depending on the target audience.

The brand has to be immediately recognizable when walking to the physical space. The consistency of the brand and attention to every detail is necessary to create a cohesive customer experience. You need to develop your brand strategy so that you can keep your design consistent all the way through from logo design to interior design.

To develop your strategy, you will need to decide who your customers will be – whether they are millennials looking for innovative products, overworked moms and dads looking for relaxation or ailing patients looking for medical solutions. Perhaps you will want to address all of these groups. You have to be clear about why you exist and design your store to appeal to all of those likely to buy your products.

Your interior space ‘speaks’ to your customers

Your interior space should ‘speak’ to every customer that walks through the doors. It should make them feel safe, comfortable, and that you are able to address their needs. It should make them want to buy and keep buying.

If you have a space that creates a bit of a buzz, it will not only keep customers coming back but draw new customers too. You want customers to start feeling a loyalty to your brand.

Store environments can also play a large part in conveying to customers a different perception about cannabis by providing education and information.

Every design element works together

Investing in design is a good investment because it is one area where your money can be used to differentiate you from your competitors. There are many other areas of investment when getting a business off the ground such as legal costs, security, licenses, permits, and insurance but the design is the one investment that can be seen and make a real impact.

The storefront  

The customer’s experience doesn’t just start when they come into the store. They need to feel that the parking area is safe and well lit. If the area in front of the store is dirty and badly lit, they will be discouraged from going inside. They need visible clues that they will have a good experience when they walk through the doors. “

The lobby

A customer’s immersion into your brand can begin in the lobby with the sensory experiences you provide in the way of aroma, music, colors, and display of your logo. The person at reception should have great customer service skills and the chairs in the lobby should be comfortable for customers of all sizes and ages. Some stores start with customer education in this area by using videos and others have an impressive product display.

The retail space

Your retail space needs to be designed to flow in the best way to keep customers comfortable, enable them to browse and allow employees to assist them effectively. All of these factors help to maximize revenue. Lighting needs to be efficient so there are no dark corners and products can all be seen in the best possible light.

The design of this space cannot just be an afterthought because it can influence the failure or success of your business.

Separate consultation area from point-of-sale

In a showroom, customers are able to see what you have available and ask questions. Not all customers are going to want consultations every time they come into the store but the space should be available.

You will also need to have an area where customers are able to get in and out quickly. This increases efficiency and profits. Many cannabis transactions are cash-based. You should have space and privacy around point-of-sale areas. Express order checkout is also becoming very popular with many people beginning to use apps to place orders ahead of time.  

The way out

When customers walk out of your store, you need to give them a reason to return. Are they walking out the door with cool packaging or interesting products they will mention to their friends? Leave them with some kind of freebie or memento that will keep you on their minds.

Interior design makes you stand out

In Los Angeles, the Green Easy looks more like a palace than a dispensary with its crystal chandeliers, white marble floors and ‘smoke’ waterfall.  Minerva Canna in New Mexico features velvet and leather upholstery, and high gloss white displays.

In San Francisco, Barbary Coast is like a high-class saloon with its red velvet sofas, oriental rugs, and old-fashioned bar stools. In Santa Ana, Bud and Bloom offer a chic, industrial atmosphere with its white marble countertops and iPads for customers to navigate through a wide range of products.  

TruMed in Phoenix, Arizona, has a bakery-inspired design that is welcoming and aesthetically appealing. Native Roots is the largest dispensary chain in the United States and each location has a minimalist look with black and white wallpaper, concrete floors and black steel furnishings.

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