The Covid19 pandemic has accelerated the digital revolution and is compelling retailers to adapt swiftly to these changing times. But the cannabis industry is relatively new to the retail game, which gives you more room for innovation and opportunities to create a fundamentally radical customer experience by differentiating your business from traditional retail stores and pivoting strategically as consumer behavior shifts. Also, as the cannabis retail space matures, creating an incredible in-store experience is not enough anymore. And even though the possibility of returning to a so-called ‘normal’ is tantalizing for everyone, the ‘digital diaspora’ is here to stay, and you must utilize all available tools to transform the retail customer experience at your cannabis dispensary.
So you may have the perfect location for your marijuana dispensary, and you have even designed it aesthetically, keeping your target buyer personas in mind. But still, your dispensary is not attracting many customers because most of them are probably sitting indoors, expecting you to offer a more convenient, safer, and contactless buying experience. Hence, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and devise a more robust strategy for delighting your customers in this digital age. The following five ways will help you design a superior cannabis dispensary customer experience in 2021.
1. Convenient Buying Options
Voluntarily or because of pandemic-related restrictions, people are working from home and spending more time indoors. Cannabis retail stores that successfully pivoted to a business model incorporating an eCommerce platform, curbside pickup and delivery options in 2020 have offered a better customer experience during the ongoing pandemic. Undoubtedly, such convenient buying options have also increased customer loyalty and brand recognition, and most cannabis consumers will continue to purchase products from dispensaries that are satisfying their needs now, even in a post-pandemic world. There was a time when online purchases and delivery only added supplemental revenue to retail operations. But as times change, these services are becoming the primary sources of revenue for retail stores. In today's business environment, you must meet the demands of customers and offer a more convenient buying experience, as you figure out ways to grow your cannabis retail business during the ongoing pandemic.
2. A Safe In-Store Shopping Experience
Social distancing is indeed the new norm as we navigate the complexities of Covid19. Gone are the days when you could organize launch parties or be excited about a crowded store on big occasions like 420. These days you must ensure that every customer entering your store is wearing a mask, is sanitizing their hands at the entrance, and even complying with temperature screening if required. You can provide a safer shopping experience at your dispensary with the help of various technological tools integrated with your cannabis POS:
Queue Management - An efficient queue management solution allows customers to check into a virtual queue instead of waiting in a physical line, facilitating a secure, convenient, and even more personalized customer experience.
Self-Service Kiosks- With self-service kiosks and touchscreen menus, customers can easily browse products, obtain information, and even order with the help of contactless payment options, without needing to interact with an employee if they prefer so. Such kiosks can even offer personalized product recommendations after a client has filled up a quick questionnaire.
- Dedicated consultation booths- As you free up interior space meant for queuing, you can transform some area into dedicated consultation booths. Here, budtenders can advise customers as per their needs in a pandemic-conscious future, and consultation appointments may be booked in advance on your website.
3. Replicate in-store experience online
There’s an adage that you have to be where your customers are. And these days, most of your customers are spending time in the digital sphere, so you must be able to replicate your in-store experience on online channels as well. You want your clients to be able to connect with your business via all your digital communication channels and pick up the conversation seamlessly from where they left off. You must make the customer buyer journey more interactive by engaging them at every touchpoint, whether it is a social media comment or email newsletter. For this, it is essential to level up your online presence and provide an omnichannel customer experience.
Social Media Presence- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the likes may be the first touchpoint for many of your customers. In 2021, having a social media strategy is extremely crucial to connect with your target market.
Robust Informational Website- Once cannabis consumers get directed from social media to your website, they expect comprehensive information to be readily available. Detailed online menus, product information, a dedicated FAQs section, and customer reviews are few things that you must have on your website to educate consumers and address their queries. Also, offer signing up for your loyalty programs online and digital promotions to provide a more customized online retail experience.
- Virtual Budtender Consultation- Many cannabis dispensaries have recently pivoted to offering free online consultations to newbies who want to learn more about the effects of cannabis consumption before dabbling into it. Offering such a service will help you attract new clients to your dispensary and enhance the customer experience.
4. Expand your product portfolio
As the legal cannabis retail industry goes mainstream and we overcome the stigmas associated with it, many consumers who are averse to traditional methods of consumption like smoking are looking for alternative and healthier ways to try marijuana. Edibles outperformed the cannabis industry growth in 2020, and this market will only grow further in the future. This is evidence that you must constantly adapt to consumer preferences and offer a variety of products, including cannabis edibles and concentrates, at your cannabis dispensary to stay relevant in this ever-evolving market and elevate the customer experience. As wearing masks may become a regularity in our lives in a pandemic-conscious world, you can also promote safe practices by selling branded masks and other paraphernalia, which will help in enhancing customer loyalty and brand recognition.
5. Build your cannabis ecosystem
As you already know, the marijuana industry is highly regulated, and cannabis laws keep changing on the fly. To thrive in this dynamic industry, you not only need a technology provider that grows with you but also continue to partner with companies in the cannabis ecosystem that are regularly innovating and adapting quickly to changing consumer behavior. To provide a high-grade online buying experience to customers, you must be able to integrate your menus and inventory with the best online platforms like dutchie, weedmaps, and leafly, and also be able to extract insights from your analytics and reporting to build your future client experience strategy. Cova Software has an ever-expanding extensive network of partners within the cannabis ecosystem, whose services can be seamlessly integrated with your dispensary POS system so that you can continue to provide an elevated cannabis retail customer experience. To learn what more Cova can do for you, book a demo now.