Do you remember when you first opened your cannabis dispensary? You probably thought that weed sells itself, right? After all, it's one of the most in-demand products on the market. Your assumption was probably valid because the industry is estimated to hit the $91.5 billion mark by 2028.
But now, a few months or years down the line, you've probably started to notice a few challenges, especially when it comes to sales. As the legalization of weed increases, more dispensaries are opening up, and the market is becoming increasingly competitive.
This begs the question, how can you cut above your competitors and improve sales in your cannabis dispensary? Read on to find out how.
Marketing is one of the most essential yet overlooked strategies for improving cannabis sales. Most dispensary owners see that the product is already in high demand, and hence they limit their marketing efforts. And that's where they go wrong.
When it comes to marketing cannabis, you don't have to convince people to buy it; they already want it. All you have to do is convince them to buy it from you. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Identify Your Customer Base
This is probably the first step you should take when marketing your cannabis dispensary. It's vital that you understand your customers' interests, the type of products they like, and the consumer trends they gravitate to when shopping.
If your dispensary solely deals with medical marijuana, then your target audience is people who have prescriptions from their physicians due to an underlying medical condition. If you know whom you're marketing to, you can better cater to your prospects and current customers.
Research Your Competition
Knowing your customer base isn't enough. You also need to know who your competitors are and what they're doing. If you want to maintain a competitive advantage, you need to know what your competitors are offering that makes them unique in their customer's eyes.
To get these facts right, you need to perform competitor research or conduct a competitive analysis. Performing a competitive analysis basically involves identifying and evaluating your competitors to better understand their strengths and weaknesses. This can help you answer some critical questions, such as the companies you're competing with, the marketing strategies they've adopted, and how well they are performing.
Develop a Website
When we say website, we don't mean just a website. It has to be fast and user-friendly. Everything from its overall aesthetics to the placement of CTAs (calls to action) can influence how long a prospective customer stays on your website and whether or not they make a purchase.
People expect the websites they visit to load within seconds and provide in-depth information about the company's products and services. They also expect the site to be easy to read and navigate. Your site's layout should be clean, not cluttered. And your contact information should be easily accessible.
Create Informative Service Pages
Once you've got your website up and running, it's time to convert your visitors into leads. And what better way is there to achieve this than with well-written service pages? If a prospective customer is interested in the products you offer, the first place they'll go is to the service pages of your website. If the information they get there is poor or non-existent, it might put them off, prompting them to go to the competition.
As such, your informative service pages should have clear and concise headlines, structured content, and factual information that can be trusted. You should also keep your content interesting enough to keep your readers engaged.
Perform Extensive Keyword Research
This is the process of identifying and analyzing terms that people enter into search engines when trying to find information about a particular topic. When done right, it can be highly effective in marketing your dispensary.
Performing keyword research can provide you with valuable insight into what your prospective customers are searching for so you can implement it on your website. While you're at it, it is advisable that you choose keywords relevant to your industry, have authority, and have a good monthly search volume.
Share Your Content Across Social Media Platforms
Having a great website with interesting and engaging content is great, but it won't do much good if you don't get it out there. Start by optimizing all the social media channels your dispensary is already on with content, images, videos, a bio, and a link back to your website. Once you optimize your social media channels, make sure you share content regularly to keep your audience engaged.
Obtain Your Customers' Emails and Start an Email Marketing Campaign
Email marketing has been around for quite some time now, and the reason is pretty clear. It is one of the most effective online marketing strategies across all industries. It offers a direct way to connect to your target audience and turn one-time buyers into lifetime customers.
When you take your time to build an email list, you can continue to connect with both your prospects and regular customers in a meaningful way. And that's not all; emails are known to offer higher conversion rates than other marketing methods, which results in higher returns on investment.
Excellent Customer Service
If you want to succeed in any retail business, dispensaries included, you have to offer excellent customer service. In addition to hiring knowledgeable staff, you should also make sure that they have a friendly demeanor.
The cannabis dispensary business is pretty laid back. So, apart from knowledge of cannabis products, budtenders should also be able to interact with customers in a friendly way. They should also have the ability to dispel any misconceptions that customers might have about cannabis without coming out as being too aggressive.
Start a Customer Loyalty Program
Customer loyalty programs offer a great way to retain your customer base. Let's face it: Customer acquisition is an expensive and time-taxing endeavor. Offering a few freebies and discounts, on the other hand, is relatively cheap compared to marketing. And the best part about it is that it incentivizes your customers to purchase more products while marketing to their friends through word of mouth as well.
Like with any other retail business, boosting sales boils down to one thing—good salesmanship. As such, your staff needs to be good salespeople. They should be able to market new products to customers while convincing them to buy more.
You should also take opportunities to offer small quantities of products, accessories, and anything else that improves your customers' convenience to enable them to buy more but “spend less.”
The best way to ensure that people only buy from you is by being the sole distributor of a specific product. The marketing power of this ingenious strategy lies in the significance of customers knowing that the product can only be obtained from you.
You can achieve this by approaching a local grower and asking for exclusive access to their products, especially if they have a new strain. You can also diversify your accessory inventory by partnering with artisans to provide you with custom pipes. Apart from making your dispensary unique, you can also use these new products to reward customers participating in your loyalty program.
Cultivate a Positive Customer Experience
Cultivating an attractive atmosphere is vital in developing both your brand as a dispensary and your reputation as a business. You should strive to create a conducive atmosphere for your customers. Everything from how your dispensary is decorated to how it is organized significantly affects how your customers perceive your dispensary and products.
To solidify your brand even further, there should be consistency between your social media presence, storefront, and website. When it comes to layout and design, consider the flow of customers and staff. They should be able to move around the store freely, without any congestion throughout the purchase process.
To achieve this, you can establish specific areas for order pickups and shopping lineups to help declutter your space. You can also use technology to streamline the customer experience. For example, point-of-sale systems (POS) like Posabit provide more convenience for both your staff and customers. They also make inventory management and compliance much easier.
Know Your Customers
When running a cannabis dispensary, it is essential that you know both your customers' buying habits and demographics. Here, you need to understand why your customers keep returning to your store and why others don't come at all. You should collect information about:
- Popular items
- Your customers' lifestyle and occupational interests
- Your customers' preferred method of cannabis consumption
- Their average purchase frequency
- The average age of your customers
- Your busiest hours
Data and Experience
Let's be honest here. When starting a cannabis dispensary, there's a lot of trial and error involved at the beginning. If you've been at it for a while, then you've got the advantage of experience. But even if you're just starting out, you can still use historical trends in the cannabis industry to your advantage.
Another way to tackle this is by asking your customers for feedback. Find out what they expect from a quality dispensary experience and take their feedback to heart and implement it. In time, you will develop a solid quality customer experience that will keep your customers coming back for more.
Leverage Holidays, Events, and Customer Groups
The best thing about holidays and special events is that they attract buyers of all types. And they're looking to buy, whether there's a deal going on or not. That being said, you can take advantage of the opportunity by advertising specials applicable to certain customers or the occasion.
For example, if you are the only dispensary offering a discount to senior citizens, you will likely see considerable sales to that age group. All you have to do is get the word out to reach your prospective customers.
Instead of just offering generic deals for holidays and events, spice it up a bit by theming your specials around the holiday in question. Everybody enjoys a good pun, so the more creative you are with it, the better.
Offer Zeitgeist Deals
Every now and then, certain trends and products catapult themselves to the pinnacle of consumer desire. If you see it happen, don't miss out on the opportunity to rack in more customers to your dispensary. All you have to do is make it known that you offer the product or service in question, and you'll have customers flocking into your dispensary in no time.
You can also consider updating your search engine optimization to include keywords centered around the trend or product in question. The secret here is to act before your competitors make their move.
Attract Foot Traffic
Having a great marketing strategy is necessary. But let's not forget about the good old-fashioned walk-by customers. If your cannabis dispensary is located in an area that sees a lot of foot traffic, then you stand a chance of attracting lots of new customers.
Your outdoor signage can play a huge part in capturing foot traffic, especially for customers who previously had no clue that there is a dispensary there. If your outdoor signage and business name don't exactly scream cannabis dispensary, consider including some additional symbolism or information to remove ambiguity.
Collaborating with other local businesses in your vicinity can also lead to mutual growth. You can partner with other businesses so that you reward customers for visiting both your businesses. This way, you can significantly improve your sales through informal advertising. This can take the form of discounts or coupons.
The Bottom Line
Contrary to what most people believe, the cannabis dispensary business is pretty cutthroat. If you don't know how to attract customers, even the best stock in town won't do you much good. So, put yourself out there and give your competitors a run for their money. The tips we've discussed above are sure to get you started.