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What traditional retail business concepts can be used when running a dispensary?

If you ask someone about the fastest growing industry in the world right now, the answer might surprise you. It’s not genetics, nor robotics, nano-engineering or anything related to these fields – it’s the cannabis industry. Due to many social and legislative changes, we are witnesses to a unique type of business that is growing at a fast rate.

Fueled equally by activism, science, and controversy, the marijuana-related businesses are seeing their best time ever. This is closely connected with further situational improvements being on the way. However, it’s not that unique, when you take a closer look.

Every cannabis business operates on the same scale that many normal retail businesses do. Everything cannabis related, ranging from MMJ containers to revenue calculation, shares some similarities with traditional retail businesses.

Marijuana businesses can learn a lot from the business concepts of other successful retailers and apply them to their own modus operandi. These business concepts have been present in states where there is a more mature cannabis retail culture – such as Washington, Nevada, and Colorado. Since there is much room for improvement, retail business trends should be a thing cannabis entrepreneurs should take a look at.

Choice is becoming more important than quality

When it comes to every business, two main facets differentiate one retailer from all others – quality and choice. A few decades ago, the entire marketing industry was obsessed with quality and showing customers that supremacy is earned via quality.

However, in the last few decades, we’ve seen more and more businesses sacrificing quality for the luxury of choice. And there is no better way to look at this than to observe the example of fast-casual restaurants. How so? Let’s see.

Pop top containers and Chipotle tacos have much more in common than you would usually think. Before, when medical marijuana was still a movement in its infancy, dispensaries competed only when it came to strain quality.

Chipotle also didn’t just stay focused on having the best burrito – instead, they opted to instill a wide array of choices in their array of products. Small portions, low-carb portions, veggie options, athlete programs – all these things have caused both ratings and stock prices to rock for the iconic Mexican grill chain.

So, what can a cannabis entrepreneur learn from this? You should pay the most attention to the different questions customers pose. Those strange demands should be a reason to expand your array of products and combine the notions of quality and choice. 200 good strains are better than just 50 great strains, believe it or not.

Improving the customer-retailer communication channels

Mobile is the king!

According to a research, 52.2% of all website visits are done on mobile platforms. And the number is only going to rise. Retail businesses are forced to calibrate their entire business concept to shift to immediacy, simplicity, and efficiency.

Having a mobile-friendly website is a must. Nobody has time to turn on their laptop to see which pop top bottles do you have or how does your custom cannabis packaging look. They want a fast and clean mobile site that they can have at the disposal of their thumbs.

Think about your ordering options for a minute.

Online ordering is a must, for sure, but there is so much more to be done to accommodate to the needs of your customers. Everything has to be individualized nowadays. Good ideas are eCommerce add-ons which provide suggestions to people who have visited and in-store orders via a tablet.

A customer will feel very well served if you aid them while they browse your website on a tablet while listening to your advice. Customer service and aid in case of trouble should also be a must. Communication and good advice is the key.

Loyalty rewards are also important.

When still exploring all the options in the beginning phases of your business, you have to assemble a core customer body. How? It’s easy. The thing you have to avoid the most is big gifts. Instead of giving someone half an ounce of Green Crack for free every 10th time they visit, think small.

Free rolling papers if they have a membership card.

Invites to tasting events when a new strain arrives, a free pre-roll every 3rd visit. These small gifts and gestures will influence the mind of the customer quite often and refresh their positive opinion of your dispensary.

It’s in the details

Have no doubts about the cannabis industry being a hectic field for retailers and dispensary owners. Every time you look around, there is new cannabis concentrate packaging, better shaped medical marijuana bottles and even better dispensary packaging.

It’s impossible to follow every trend, and you should give up on doing that. Instead, focus on only a few trends and make the most of what you already have. Here are a few tips on how to give your sales a significant boost without doing complex corporate gymnastics.

  • Shelf space is everything. Rarely are dispensaries big due to taxes and rent prices, so you have to make use of your shelves the most. Place discounted items and new items in the front. Have your most popular products somewhere in the center of the wall. Less popular items should be rotated on a regular basis, giving people the illusion that they’re new.
  • A good online presence should significantly boost your rating and popularity. If your state forbids advertising, think ahead – have websites and fanzines write about your dispensary and products in the form of an article. In return, sell their magazine at your store. Free advertising is always the best.
  • Think of other people as well, mainly donating money to a good cause. Have auction nights that will have the proceedings go to a charity and even think about actively supporting a cause with a percentage of your earnings. That way, you will serve the community in more ways than one, and your customers will adore it.

Cannabis is becoming an integral part of mainstream cultures, and businessmen are becoming important members of society. We at Green Rush Packaging have been aware of this concept for a while now. Young entrepreneurs should follow suit and learn from old retail practices, on their way to success.

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