How Dispensaries Can Provide a Custom Experience for Consumers

According to a survey by Epsilon and GBH Insights, 90% of consumers indicated that they consider personalization appealing. Moreover, 80% expressed an increased likelihood of purchasing products from a company that provides personalized experiences. Considering such eye-opening findings, dispensary owners need to prioritize creating a pleasant and tailored shopping experience for their cannabis customers.

As a dispensary owner, you probably have seasoned cannabis customers who know what they like and what to order. But first-time clients often feel shy and uncertain about what they really want. So you will need to put them at ease by offering them a customized customer experience.

Read on to find out why customer experience is an important aspect of your dispensary and how you can tailor it to fit every customer's needs.

Why Does Customer Experience Matter?

One of the building blocks of running a thriving cannabis business is customer experience. A well-tailored customer experience will lead to:

  • Increased product purchases
  • Improved customer loyalty
  • Referral to their family, friends, and colleagues

A customer who has had a satisfying shopping experience with your brand contributes fourteen times more revenue than a customer who's had an unpleasant experience. And a shocking 82% of customers who experience a negative shopping experience will never do business again with the said company. So to ensure your customers' trust in your products, you need to tailor their customer experience according to their needs.

Below are several ways to raise your dispensary's customer service game and turn new customers into repeat customers.

Use interactive Display Solutions

The modern consumer uses at least four touchpoints when shopping before they finally decide to buy a product. These touchpoints are a source of consumer data that many cannabis dispensaries using analog shopping methods are missing out on.

You can transform your dispensary into a cannabis smart store by installing interactive retail display stations. The stations educate shoppers, offering a custom shopping experience while cultivating loyalty between consumers and your dispensary. The stations would also help you collect customer data through touchpoints in a physical store. Previously, this kind of data was only available for collection through an e-commerce website.

Here's how a typical interactive display station works:

  • Customers browse your dispensary's product line then pick their preferred products and add them to a cart for checkout. The dispensary's Point of Sale (POS) receives the checkout information.
  • The display system shows the inventory, prices, content, and images. Once a customer completes building their online cart, it's sent back to the POS for fulfillment.
  • Meanwhile, the system captures consumer behavior data to give you better insights into your customers' shopping behavior. You'll then use these valuable insights to tailor your customer shopping experience.

Create Customer Profiles

Cannabis is a highly regulated industry. For medical dispensaries, keeping tabs on customers is vital to ascertain that they are genuine medical marijuana patients. In states that allow for recreational cannabis use, dispensaries must verify that their customers are above legal age before offering service.

Fortunately, installing a dispensary POS system can help you create and maintain customer information in the system. Apart from age verification, the customer profile feature can improve customer satisfaction.

A customer profile may contain a variety of valuable information, including:

  • Recent purchase history
  • Product preferences
  • Medical preferences

Your budtenders can refer to this information to create a more personal interaction with every consumer. For example, by gathering data such as how regularly a client shops at your dispensary, and their favorite products, you can be able to make an accurate proposal of the products they might enjoy.

And because customers want a more realistic experience, you can incorporate a human element into your engagement with them. For example, it is common for dispensary staff to refer to customers as “sir” or “madam.” But when you call them by their first name, you give them a more personalized experience.

Research shows that certain parts of the brain become activated when a person hears their name being called out, causing the release of feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine. The excitement unconsciously sends trust, compassion, and empathy signals to the brain.

So something as simple as a “thank you” note with your customer's name in it could make them feel special. Addressing your customers by name also shifts your dispensary from average to top-grade in the eyes of the customer.

Use Debit Payments

The cannabis payment landscape is quite inconvenient. In most cases, customers have had to carry enough cash or decide how much they need before going to the cashless ATM. This is before you even factor in the high transaction fees. All these hassles create unnecessary friction at checkout, which may lead to abandoned purchases.

Customers typically desire a wide range of payment methods. With many dispensaries only limited to cash and cashless ATM payments, using debit cannabis payment processing can give your dispensary a massive boost. So a point of sale system integrated with debit payments is the way to go.

A recent study conducted by NerdWallet found out that the debit card was the most favored payment method by most US adults for daily purchases like gas, groceries, and entertainment. Many consumers perceive debit payments as responsible spending. Unlike with credit cards, they only spend available funds. As such, debit cards are more suitable for daily items that fall within their typical budget.

Customers also prefer the familiarity of paying with debit cards during checkout as they do in any store. They don't like working with strange payment modes they don't understand.

As a dispensary owner, here are some advantages that come with offering debit payments to your customers:

  • You will appeal to many cannabis customers who prefer to pay for their selected cannabis products using a card than cash. And when they pay with their chosen card type, there's a reduced chance of an abandoned purchase.
  • Customers get to pay the actual cost of the transaction with no additional transaction fees or Out of Network costs.
  • Offering your customers the choice to pay with their card will undoubtedly grow your dispensary sales revenue. The average debit transaction is at least 60 percent larger than cash transactions at dispensaries. It means every customer who goes from using cash or cashless ATMs to debit card payments will spend more on your retail store.
  • Remember that an excellent POS system will make taking debit payments much more seamless. The ability to process payments without delays will help satisfy the average customer who wants a fast checkout. And as a result, they will repeatedly come back to your dispensary for an unmatched customer experience.

Give Your Customers What They Want

A vital part of providing a custom experience to your customers is offering them an array of products they need. Of course, it is important to know the top products that you'll need to keep a well-stocked inventory that satisfies your customers. In the same vein, it's paramount to know which products are not selling so that you substitute them for other customer favorites.

Often, many dispensary owners make the mistake of stocking inventory that largely reflects their projections and tastes. Instead, your dispensary inventory should match the preferences of your customers.

So how do you derive such inventory insights? Back-end reporting from your point of sale system can provide insights into the customer favorites and best-selling products. Your pride will need to take a back seat because it makes sense to sell flowers and vape cartridges that your customers would purchase and not the pre-rolls you personally like.

Educate Your Budtenders

Cannabis products come in different flavors, forms, delivery methods, and uses. So walking into a dispensary can be quite confusing for newbie cannabis customers who don't know what they're looking for. They might be unsure whether to go for an oil tincture or an edible product. Or maybe they want to try out vaping for the first time. This is why they need a friendly budtender who listens and offers knowledgeable product advice.

You want your customers to view your budtenders as a reliable resource of information. Especially now that the industry is expanding at a rapid pace. And most consumers don't entirely trust the integrity of the products sold by many vendors.

If your budtenders know what they're doing, they can assist buyers with the most crucial details that would make a difference in their purchasing decision. For example, since the effects of cannabis consumption vary based on the user's body chemistry, dosage, and product type, a knowledgeable budtender would be able to guide customers in their product selection.

You should also teach your budtenders how to soft-sell the products to customers. What this means is that they shouldn't appear like they're trying to force the products on the customers. Instead, they should be able to offer a wide range of suggestions depending on what the customer is looking for.

As a dispensary owner, you can provide the following education resources for your budtenders:

  • Books
  • Industry newsletters
  • Scientific research papers
  • Brochures and Pamphlets
  • Online courses

Another exciting way to enlighten your budtenders about the products they're selling is to organize exclusive vendor hangouts. A good example is a meet-and-greet with your best-selling cannabis brands. The important details they receive when talking to growers and manufacturers that process each batch of cannabis flower can, later on, be useful in creating a curated shopping experience for your customers.

If you're running a cannabis e-commerce store, you can personalize an online purchase by incorporating a chat feature that allows online users to chat with a live budtender. This way, users won't feel lost when they're making their product decisions.


E-receipts, also known as electronic receipts, are a key element of an online transaction. They are digital receipts sent to customers’ emails after a transaction. Online dispensaries send order confirmation emails. Even brick and mortar stores have adopted the same. Emailed receipts serve several purposes:

  • They are proof-of-purchase
  • They give the customer the confidence that the transaction was not a scam
  • They send important information right in the email inbox of the customer
  • They are an avenue for email marketing
  • They tell the customer what to do if the product is defective or wants a refund

Most online dispensaries think of electronic receipts as necessities, not as opportunities. According to research, email receipts boast a 71 percent open rate. This trumps the average 17.2 percent open rate typical of other email marketing methods. So you can be sure that almost all your customers will read your email receipt.

You can use this opportunity to create a personalized experience for your customers. Remember, the customer experience is not limited to just your dispensary floor or online store.

In a brick-and-mortar transaction, budtenders would automatically thank every cannabis customer. But how can you show appreciation to a customer who buys cannabis products through your online store? The electronic receipt is a great place to thank your customer.

A simple "thank you" put on the top or center of the e-receipt can go a long way to building a great rapport with your cannabis consumers. Addressing the customer by their first name at the top is also a creative way to personalize the e-receipt. While these simple tips are ignored components of an e-receipt, they can mean a lot to your customer.

The Bottom Line

As more cannabis dispensaries open their doors in an increasingly cutthroat legal marijuana sector, dispensaries have no option but to distinguish themselves from their competitors. Besides stocking up quality products on your shelves, you should also provide a custom experience for your customers.

Remember, customers are people first. So creating a customized experience makes them feel like people than customers for profit. The measures that you should adopt include: digitizing the retail experience, allowing debit payments, personalizing email receipts, creating customer profiles, and using the insights you collect from customer data to offer unique product suggestions.

If done right, customer personalization can turn one-time customers into repeat clients, provided your products are of good quality. This not only builds trust in your brand but also drives your sales through the roof.