With the legalization of the use of cannabis in more states, there is much activity and interest in the market. There’s been a sudden influx of new products. It’s at the point that there are so many products that customers might become overwhelmed and unable to choose.
More producers are entering the market to make their fortune and create a place in a burgeoning market. For customers, a range of products is good, but a deluge can prove intimidating.
As a dispensary owner or manager, it’s up to you to find the products your customers need. This will indicate to you the product lines you need to offer.
Choosing the right products requires research. You need to establish what products are available. Then you need to speak to your customers to find out what they want.
Balancing these two sets of data can help you make decisions that will maximize sales and your bottom line.
The first step is to get an idea of who your customers are. Here are some ideas on how to profile your customers:
1. Look at customer demographics
Instruct your budtenders to keep records of your sales that speak to population demographics. The main thing you want to know is what percentage of your customers are male and what percentage are female.
The second most important thing is age. For this, you can distinguish customers by generation. Classify them as Generation X, Millennials, Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation.
Another way to get data is to have a loyalty program. It helps you to collate information electronically.
2. Collate product preferences
Having recorded the sex and age of your customers, budtenders need to keep tabs of which products these customers buy.
Put all this information together and split your customers up by demographics. You’ll start seeing consumption patterns jumping out at you. Some customers may buck the trend, but there will be an overall picture.
Sales records tied to a loyalty program make it easier to track what your customers buy. Doing it manually is unnecessary if your POS (point of sale) technology can help you.
3. Keep up to date with the latest literature
There is plenty of research online that indicates the consumption trends based on the data supplied by a wide range of sources. Compare them to your findings.
While the general information you can get online is relevant, the data you gather is even more so. It’s specific to your dispensary and allows you to make important buying decisions.
Share the information you obtained with your budtenders. This will help them to direct customers to the product ranges they are likely to prefer. It helps you to decide on products to supply and how much of each you need.
When new products confront you, you can determine which will appeal to your customers and which won’t. This makes the procurement process a lot easier. Streamlining your order process and keeping a good supply of commonly used products is the easiest way to turn a profit.
However, this is not where you stop. Further insight is needed. It will give you even more data that can inform how you buy and stock products.
The easiest way to get this vital information is to engage in conversations with customers. Budtenders should be briefed on the type of information you’re looking for. In that way, they can incorporate it into their interaction with the customer.
What type of information should your budtenders try to find out directly from conversations with customers?
1. The problem they’re using the product for
Customers will open up quickly if approached organically during their interaction with the budtender.
When they enter the store, they might mention their problem and ask for a product to address it. Others might come in with a problem looking to the budtender to offer them some advice.
A Millennial with a backache from sitting at his desk too long might come in knowing what he wants. An older lady with an age-related backache might come in unsure of what to use.
If the budtender engages in conversation with the Millennial, he/she will make the connection with the older lady’s problem. The same product can be recommended despite the variance in the demographic.
2. Do a ‘lifestyle audit’ of your customers
Budtenders can incorporate other questions into their interaction with the customer to gain even further insight. They can discuss consumption habits such as the time/s of the day the customer uses the cannabis.
Finding out what the customer expects to get from the cannabis is useful too. Does the customer want to feel focused and energetic or more mellow and relaxed? The budtender can find out how customers prefer to consume their cannabis.
3. Ask your customers what they think
Think about offering customers a feedback form rating the service of the budtender. Ask if the budtender was helpful and able to assist them. Find out if they were satisfied with the way the budtender helped them.
This is an introductory phase on your feedback form. It may not influence your purchasing process, but it will keep your budtenders on their toes!
Now you can get down to business on the feedback form. Find out from customers if there are products you don’t have that they’d be interested in using.
Ask them to rate the quality of the products they are buying. This is valuable information that can help you make procurement decisions.
Whether a customer will take the time to fill in a feedback form depends on the budtender’s approach. If he/she slaps it down on the counter and says nothing, customers won’t feel inclined to fill it in.
However, if the budtender explains that the customers’ valuable feedback is needed to improve the products and services offered, they’ll be happy to help.
The final step is to place your merchandise wisely according to the demographics. However, don’t make it too visible.
A huge sign that says ‘Senior Citizens’ will make a mom-on-the-go balk if she’s offered a topical tincture from that section!