Not All Dispensaries Are Created Equal
It’s only been about five years since Washington state legalized the use of marijuana, which means it’s only been a sophisticated retail industry for a few years. As the industry continues to grow and evolve, dispensaries need to stand apart from one another in order to be successful.
And that largely depends on a lot more than just being a place for stoners to shop. Anyone dispensary can do that.
No, this requires more sophisticated and refined methods. It requires creating an experience.
The ambiance you create, and the customer you provide, add to the success of your building. They draw in the customers, they give them a reason to be there that goes beyond the products on your shelf. This is what will get existing customers to refer you, and this is what will increase sales.
Imagine going into a shop where the building looks as exhausted as the miserable-looking staff who have don’t know anything about their own menu. The product may be absolutely delicious, but it wouldn’t resonate in a place like that. A shop like that creates a negative experience in the customer’s mind, regardless of how great the weed was. In fact, many prospective customers would end up leaving before they even look at what the store has to offer.
Successful dispensaries understand everything that goes into providing the best possible customer experience. They know it starts with the outside of the building and continues through the flow of the shopping inside, all the way up to the budtender handing the customer their receipt. They know how to create an unforgettable experience.
These 3 tips will help you create the stellar customer experience that makes you a successful dispensary.
1 . Create a (Positive!) Lasting Impression
While the outward appearance of a dispensary definitely plays a key role in how the shop is perceived, it’s really the lobby that helps form the first impression.
The quality of your lobby, from the very first moment the customer steps through the doorway, will have immense influence on their impression of your dispensary as a whole.
The lobby should reflect your brand, but should also be designed to attract your target audience. It shouldn’t be generic, one that doesn’t stand out from the rest. If your customer Snapchats while in your lobby, will it be immediately obvious that it’s YOUR dispensary?
In order to be impressive, a lobby doesn’t need to have huge aquariums, fancy leather couches, or crystal water glasses with carefully sliced lemon wedges.
No, it just needs to have organized seating, clear and smooth traffic flow, and a warm feeling of Welcome. It shouldn’t feel confining and cluttered, but rather spacious and open. Once I.D.s are checked at the door, customers should be able to move freely and comfortably from display to display, with room to stand and talk with their friends before moving on.
Add artwork to the walls, play music, and have conversations with your customers. They shouldn’t feel rushed, but rather like they’ve just come to hang out in their favorite spot and pick up some premium bud.
It’s all about the experience, and the lobby is the first part of creating one that keeps customers coming back.
2 . Have Positive, Knowledgeable Staff
They may be a budtender, but that doesn’t mean your staff member is personable and outgoing. It also doesn’t mean they’re an expert on every single cannabis product you have on your shelves.
Going back to the hypothetical situation from earlier in this post, if your staff members are rude or withdrawn, your customers will have a negative experience.
Why would they want to go back to a place like that?
Instead, have staff members that genuinely enjoying talking to people and connecting with them. They don’t need to be an expert on everything, but they should be able to make recommendations and take into account each customer’s unique needs and preferences.
If the staff members are positive and fun to be around, your customers are far more likely to keep coming back.
This is part of the ambiance and feeling that you are trying to create within your dispensary. Every aspect of your store needs to go together seamlessly to position your brand in the way you want to be seen.
Additionally, your staff should be regularly updated and informed about new products and happenings within the store. Those budtenders who can field any question about your cannabis products that are asked of them, whether it be from experienced smokers to new users, are going to help your boost your sales and bring in more traffic.
3 . Give Back to Your Customers
If you want to keep customers coming back, you need to start giving back.
When customers are rewarded through loyalty points, free merchandise, special discounts, or awesome swag, they feel appreciated and are more likely to come back and spend more money. After all, they want to get more of those points.
In fact, 60% of specialty retailers (like dispensaries!) offer customer loyalty programs, as opposed to 22% of other brands. (Astound Commerce)
Customer reward programs create a positive atmosphere within a dispensary, one that makes the customers feel valued and appreciated. They’ll tell their friends about it, and encourage them to spend points and get the same great stuff they’ve been getting.
Combine these special offers with your content strategy, and you will increase both website and foot traffic. For example, you could include a special offer in your latest blog post.
Show this post to your budtender for an extra 10% off!
Not only does this increase engagement, but it also helps create a connection between your customer and your store. Both of these increase loyalty to your dispensary.
Welcoming stores with great ambiance, knowledgeable and friendly staff, and customer reward programs all help your dispensary become as successful as possible. In fact, they do more for your dispensary than product alone.
You could have the best weed in the world, but you’re going to have a hard time selling it if your store only provides negative customer experiences.
In order to set your store apart from the rest of the dispensaries here in Tacoma, you’re going to want to create a strategy that focuses on these three points.
It’s this strong triad that will help your dispensary generate revenue and get your customers to keep coming back.
What are your top three tips for dispensary success? Let me know in the comments below!