It’s that season again — the season of major consumer spending and general retail frenzy known as the holidays.
The last six weeks of the year are a crucial time for commerce; many retailers make up to 30% of their annual revenue during the holidays, and one survey found that shoppers are expected to spend 5% more in 2019 than they did last year. Of course, these trends apply to the cannabis sector as well, and Green Wednesday — the day before Thanksgiving — has cemented itself as the official marijuana holiday shopping kickoff.
In the spirit of high holiday sales numbers, we’ve put together this primer to help you prep your dispensary or cannabis retail store for the busiest time of the year.
10 Ways to Boost Cannabis Retail Revenue During the Holidays
1. Plan, plan, plan!
As the old adage goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. And the busiest, most profitable time of the year for retail is not something you want to just leave to chance.
If you have sales data from 2018, study it to understand exactly which products your customers purchased the most, as well as which ones underperformed. This way you’ll be better prepared to stock up on the items you know will go fast and won’t waste resources on inventory that will just sit on the shelf.
If this is your dispensary’s first official holiday season and you don’t have previous data to reference, fear not. You can glean plenty of industry insights from cannabis retail analytics providers like Headset; check out their report on 2018 holiday season trends here.
2. Set a festive mood.
One of the best ways to get your customers — and your staff — into the holiday shopping spirit is by dressing up your dispensary with themed decor. Christmas trees, wreaths and light displays are easy and impactful ways to create a festive environment. Of course, you can highlight other seasonal holidays with Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve displays as well.
3. Merchandise for maximum impact.
If you want to truly maximize sales this holiday season, pay attention to the way your store is merchandised. Consumer psychology studies have shown that shoppers tend to display certain behaviors based on what they see when walking into your store.
You can make a good first impression by maintaining a clean, tidy entranceway and stocking your newest, hottest products and doorbuster deals near the front. Most shoppers tend to move around stores in a counter-clockwise fashion; take advantage of this by strategically placing bundles, gift boxes and themed displays along their path.
4. Support your sales staff with seasonal hires.
Onboarding seasonal staff members for support through the holidays is a common business practice, particularly among retailers. Here again you’ll want to study your data from last year (or reference industry reports, if this is your first holiday go-around) to identify your store’s peak traffic hours and make sure you are properly staffed during the coming rushes.
Of course, making sure your seasonal hires are properly trained is critical. One great way to get them familiar with your product offerings and retail procedures is by having them shadow your regular employees. Remember: by giving new and seasonal employees ample time to learn the job, you set them — and your dispensary — up for success.
It’s also a good idea to spend a few hours ensuring all your employees are up to date on your dispensary’s systems, processes and procedures before the holiday shopping madness sets in.
5. Establish and aim for sales goals.
You can’t hit a target you can’t see — which is why all successful sales teams have quotas and goals they strive to achieve. And while you don’t necessarily need to base your budtenders’ pay on sales commissions, you can certainly incentivize their efforts by giving them something to aim for. Consider setting daily sales goals for your staff, or even implementing a season-long sales challenge to see who can move the most product by New Year’s Day, with the winner receiving a prize.
6. Keep the lines of communication open.
Once things get hectic, communication can easily break down. This is why it’s important that you are intentional about routinely communicating with your staff to assess how things are going and make any needed adjustments. Whether it’s a weekly sit-down or a morning huddle (or both), gathering your crew regularly will increase cohesion and give you a chance to address any issues.
Also consider other means of communication, such as a private Facebook group just for employees. While it shouldn’t be your primary means of disseminating vital company info, this can help further build comradery and allow your staff to interact with and better get to know one another.
7. Get creative with holiday bundles, packages and promotions.
If there’s one thing shoppers love about the holidays, it’s the abundant sales, discounts and promotions. And the simple fact is that in order to be competitive in the market, you’re going to need to have some special holiday offers on deck for your customers.
Promotions can range from buy-X-get-X offers, to holiday gift sets and bundles, to price reductions on certain strains or product types. Don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with it; for instance, you could offer double customer loyalty points for people who wear a Santa hat to your store.
8. Educate new customers.
Cannabis retailers will certainly see many first-time customers this holiday season, so you and your staff need to be ready to provide education and offer gift suggestions. In the U.S., consumers may have concerns over vape products; in Canada, they may need guidance on what to expect from edibles. If customers know they can turn to you for reliable information, they’ll be more likely to return to your store.
9. Enhance in-store experience.
Another great way to please your patrons and set yourself apart from the sea of cannabis retailers is to optimize your in-store experience. This includes streamlining store flow and offering multiple ways to navigate the purchase process; for example, some customers want a guided, consultative experience with a budtender, while others prefer self-serve kiosks and express checkouts.
Naturally, your frontline staff have a major impact on the experience as well. Budtenders should be knowledgeable, helpful and friendly at all times.
10. Use dispensary technology to its full potential.
Finally, utilizing a robust cannabis retail technology solution can help you further educate customers and enhance their overall experience. Dispensary touchscreen menu kiosks allow your guests to interact with and learn about the brands you carry, while a proven cannabis POS will ensure that the checkout process is as smooth and painless as possible. Additionally, digital menus that update in real time guarantee that customers see accurate inventory info and won’t be disappointed by showing up to your store to find the product they want is out of stock.
See How Cova Can Help Your Dispensary This Holiday Season
If you’re ready to see just how Cova’s industry-leading cannabis retail software can help you elevate your dispensary this holiday season, tap the button below to book a free demo today!