When you go grocery shopping, you probably have a favorite store you try to go to first. In that store, you probably have favorite products and brands that you prefer to buy. Outside of the grocery world, you also likely have a favorite shampoo, a favorite type of car, and you probably even own a T-shirt that you consider to be your favorite.
The same goes for cannabis users. They have a favorite strain, product, and of course, a favorite dispensary.
If you are opening a new dispensary or considering a relaunch of the one you already operate, your goal is to become the favorite dispensary of cannabis users in your area (and maybe even beyond).
But, how do you become someone’s favorite, go-to cannabis dispensary?
Customers look for different things when they choose a store to buy from and even a product to buy. Below, we’ll dive into 10 things customers look for when choosing a dispensary to shop at and some factors you’ll need to consider before you open your dispensary’s doors.
First Things First
Before we look at what cannabis customers look for in a dispensary, it is important that you take the time to know who your audience is. To determine this, you’ll need to decide:
- What types of products are you selling? (I.E., medical marijuana, recreational cannabis products, or both?).
- What types of customers do you want to target? Do you want to appeal to younger shoppers, older adults, medical patients, or some combination?
- What type of aesthetic do you want your dispensary to have? Do you want to be seen as a hip place to go, a dispensary with a funky vibe, or a store with a more comforting atmosphere that appeals to medical cannabis users?
Knowing the type of dispensary you want to run will play a significant role in helping you create a store that will become the favorite for your customer base.
Become Their Favorite: What Customers Look for in a Dispensary
Once you’ve defined your business, you’ll need to make sure you meet your customer’s needs and preferences. That is how you become their favorite dispensary. So, what do customers look for? Here are 10 factors cannabis customers take into consideration and look at before making purchases.
When buying a house, they often say, “Location is everything.” The same is true when it comes to owning a business, whether that be a restaurant, clothing retailer, or cannabis dispensary.
You have a lot to think about when deciding where your dispensary should be located. You want to be where your customers can find you and easily get to you, not hidden in a hard-to-reach place.
But, more than that, you may have restrictions around where you can be located that you have to take into consideration too. Some states, for example, require dispensaries to be a certain distance away from schools and from each other.
You’ll need to balance the location restrictions you face with finding the perfect location for your customers.
2. Product selection
Customers won’t come to your dispensary if you don’t have the products they want. And while in some cases, that is unavoidable. You’ll need to do some research to learn about what types of products your target customer base wants to use and buy.
This includes not only having a variety of cannabis strains available for purchase but also products. If you are trying to reach a younger audience, vaping products and accessories, as well as edibles like gummies, may be items you want to carry. If you want to be known as a one-stop-shop where customers can find anything they need, you’ll need to carry everything, from flowers to concentrates, equipment, and accessories.
Nothing will cause your dispensary to drop to the bottom of a favorites list faster than selling low-quality cannabis products. Cannabis is a bit of an investment for people, and when they end up with a product that isn’t what they expect, you’ll likely lose their business for good.
This means you’ll need to source your products from reputable manufacturers and provide the information customers need to know they are getting a good product. Have COAs available for them to review, list ratings given to specific strains, and be choosy in determining whose products you will sell at your dispensary.
Just like quality is essential when it comes to buying cannabis, so is price. While most cannabis users know that to get the highest quality products, they’ll need to pay a little more; some users may be searching for budget-friendly options.
If you want to sell only products with AAAA or AAAAA ratings, that’s fine; just know not everyone can afford those. Be smart when it comes to deciding the price point for your products. Make sure customers will not only get a quality product, but they’ll get it at a reasonable and fair price.
Let’s face it; we live in a fast-paced world where convenience is prized. It’s why fast food and online shopping are so popular. And, in this post-COVID-19 world, making it easy for customers to shop is more important than ever.
To become the favorite dispensary of your customers, you’ll need to offer the options they prefer when shopping. You’ll want to explore having online shopping, with the option for curbside pickup, direct mail, or even local delivery, as many people prefer to shop online these days.
Having these options available and the opportunity to actually visit your store can help you appeal to more customers. By having shopping options that meet their preferences, you’ll quickly become their favorite dispensary.
6. Customer service
You probably won’t be the only person working at your dispensary; you’ll have budtenders on staff to help you assist your customers as they shop and with checkout. Having friendly, knowledgeable staff can go a long way in pleasing your customers.
Research has shown that customers who receive good customer services are 60 percent to 70 percent more likely to return and make additional purchases. If your customers enjoy coming in and interacting with your staff, they’ll make you a favorite and may even go out of their way to shop at your store. Some customers may even be willing to pay slightly more if they feel they are treated well.
Having excellent customer service can also help more customers learn about you. Ninety-seven percent of customers will tell others about it when they receive good or excellent customer service. Not only will they mention you as their favorite dispensary, but a satisfied customer can also provide free advertising by spreading the word about your store.
7. Reviews from others
Speaking of spreading the news of your store and the customer service you offer, reviews play a significant role in helping you become a favorite dispensary.
Before cannabis customers try a new store or order cannabis online from a new place, they’ll do some research. That includes looking at customer reviews of your store. The thoughts and experiences of other customers can do a lot to bring them into your dispensary or lead them somewhere else.
Once they come in to purchase from your store, it’s up to you to become their favorite by offering a quality experience and good products.
8. Loyalty rewards programs
Do you have a customer loyalty rewards program? For many people, their favorite stores do. It’s part of what keeps them coming back and makes them feel valued.
The benefits of such a program are many. You can increase sales, keep in touch with customers, and establish a relationship with them. A quality rewards program may even help attract new customers as they hear about it from others (remember the power of reviews!).
These programs also make your current customers feel valued and appreciated while also helping them save some money. If you have a good program, your customers will likely shop exclusively with you to reap the rewards, and you’ll quickly become their favorite.
Although setting up such as program can be a little bit of work on the front end, there is software that can help you manage it. This little bit of work can go a long way in helping you become a top dispensary.
9. Personalized recommendations
Whether you are out of a product or have a regular customer looking to try something new, they will likely rely on you to help them find the right product or products to try. New customers may even come in needing help finding a product to help with a specific issue, such as a strain to help increase their energy.
Dispensaries that can make smart recommendations based on a customer’s previous purchases or knowledge of the product can make you a favorite for them. It instills a sense of trust between you and your customer. They’ll see you (and your staff) as experts who know them and the product you sell.
Although knowing the shopping habits of everyone who comes in your door and the benefits of every product can seem impossible, the right dispensary software can help with that too. It can monitor purchases, allowing budtenders to see what they’ve tried, and some may even allow you to input notes. This will make it easier to recommend strains and products to your favorite customers.
10. Payment options
We live in a card-dominant world. And, contactless payments are also becoming quite popular (especially since COVID-19 entered our lives). For a customer to consider your store as their favorite dispensary, you’ll need to be able to accept payment in their preferred method.
While cash is still acceptable, and some people may prefer to make cash purchases, plastic is becoming more and more common. But, not all dispensaries have the ability to accept payments other than cash. This can make shopping with you inconvenient for customers who will need to get cash and then stick within their budget while shopping. Plus, you won’t be able to build an online presence.
There are dispensary POS systems out there that will allow you to accept card payments. This will not only be appealing to your customers but can increase your revenue as well. People tend to spend more on a card than with cash.
By having the ability to accept your customer’s preferred payment method, they’ll see shopping with you as convenient. Then, you’ll fast become their favorite.
Remember, these are not the only things customers look for when choosing a favorite dispensary. But, this list can give you a good place to start on your journey to become a customer's favorite dispensary.
We are also living in unique times. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the way people shop and what they look for in a favorite store. It’s triggered a shift to online shopping for many and increased the demand for delivery and card payments. These trends are likely to continue even as we return to “normal” in the months ahead.
To become your customer’s favorite dispensary is a lot of work. You’ll need to know your audience and the type of customers you want to appeal to and attract. But, once you have this determined, you can start implementing systems and options that will place you at the top of their dispensary list.
Not only do you need to be in a location that is desirable and convenient, but you’ll also need to keep local restrictions in mind as well. Then, you will want to ensure you have the products your customers want that are high-quality and well-priced.
The experience customers have in your store can also play a part in making you their favorite. This starts with providing good customer service and having the ability to make personalized recommendations. A good rewards program can also help you become a customer’s favorite dispensary.
Finally, having the options people want when it comes to shopping and making payments is also important. If a customer perceives it as difficult to shop with you, they won’t.