The Future of Experiential Retail in Cannabis
February 8, 2019
February 8, 2019
Guest Blog from Jake Levin, Co-Founder & COO of Best in Grow
So you’ve won a license and you’re ready to break ground on what you’re sure will be the next cannabis empire. Whether you’re a maverick in Missouri about to launch one of the state’s first legal dispensaries, or you’re looking to tackle a more mature market like Colorado, launching a lucrative retail operation is no small undertaking. With the help of Canna Advisors, you’re undoubtedly on the right path to opening a compliant and well-oiled cannabis business.
It is undeniable that no matter which legal market you’re located in, competition among cannabis dispensaries is growing each day. Let’s be honest: everybody claims to have the best flower, the cleanest concentrates, and the lowest prices. And as online review sites increasingly become the arbiter of retail footfall, investing adequately in a unique and memorable customer experience is one of the few levers you have left to differentiate yourself from the competition.
A strategic and well-executed plan for providing a superior in-store customer experience is sure to pay dividends. Customers won’t only buy, but will also recommend you and your business to their friends, share their experience on social media, and come back again and again. Here we explore three key components of experiential retail.
Sell the lifestyle.
Experiential retail is an extension of your brand. Expanding your retail concept must answer your customers’ needs – or even better, preempt them.
For example, cannabis retailer Ajoya, with their flagship location in Louisville, Colorado, is setting the standard for the modern marijuana dispensary. Designed in a way that entices you inside, the store uses open space, interactive displays, and knowledgeable staff to provide an educational experience for each customer. Retail space becomes much more than a place to purchase; Ajoya has successfully turned their dispensary into a learning experience that leaves their customers with a deep affinity for their brand.
Integrate digital and brick-and-mortar.
Though the share of online sales is growing, more and more digital-first businesses have started opening pop-up or permanent shops. Take menswear brand Bonobos, which offers in-store appointments so their customers can try on clothes before ordering digitally and receiving the package at home. It’s a reverse collect-in-store, with the advantage of keeping costs low as the stores have minimum inventory.
Other ways to integrate digital and physical shopping include QR codes providing more information on the products or brand and augmented reality which relies on data to improve the customers’ experience.
The Peak Beyond is a technology company changing the future of in-store cannabis retail with their Smart Shopping Display system. Using large touchscreen displays, customers can bring products to life and receive real-time information. The smart shopping display also collects customer information and preferences to help inform how dispensaries can better engage customers.
It’s not as expensive as you might have thought.
Successful experiential retail doesn’t have to cost thousands. Activities like tasting and sampling are two classics of experiential marketing that aren’t going anywhere, and not just in the food and beverage industry. For instance, French womenswear brand Sezane recently launched a new concept store in New York. Presented as a slice of French style and spirit in the Big Apple, the boutique got into the holiday spirit with complimentary hot chocolate.
Looking for a good place to start?
Nearly 75% of online dispensary reviews cite the budtender as the most important part of their purchasing journey. Investing in your frontline workforce is one of the wisest decisions you can make as a business owner. A connected, engaged, and knowledgeable retail team is going to save you time and money in more ways than you can imagine. Reduced turnover, fewer callouts, greater customer satisfaction, and higher average ticket prices are just a few of the benefits you can expect to see once you empower your team with the tools and resources they need to succeed in their roles. At Best in Grow, we provide cannabis businesses with a secure platform where retail operators can communicate with and educate employees, manage schedules and tasks, and collect all-important data to drive your very own experiential retail initiatives. Feel free to reach out for more information here.
Jake Levin is Co-Founder & COO of Best in Grow, a dispensary and brand management tool designed to meet the unique challenges of the cannabis industry.
Best in Grow is a software solution that empowers dispensary operators and brands to understand and harness the immense influence of the budtender. With tools like internal communications, scheduling, compliance task-management, and brand education, Best in Grow is the world’s most powerful dispensary team management platform.
Prior to launching Best in Grow, Jake studied psychology and public policy at Harvard University. Upon graduating he worked in private equity and management consulting in Boston, Massachusetts.