As a dispensary owner, becoming a destination might not be high on your list of priorities – but it’s definitely something you should be aware of. Consider the following: the year marijuana was legalized in Colorado, many travel sites saw a 75 percent increase in tourism to The Centennial State. It goes to show that people are willing to travel for legal marijuana and with numbers like that, it’s safe to say that there might be some extra money to be made in attracting some non-locals or tourists.
If You Build It, They Will Come
So how does one become a destination dispensary? The most obvious answer may be to find a decent location in a touristy part of town. While this might help attract some extra foot traffic, it might also scare away your regulars and at the end of the day, it isn’t necessary. A great location is always helpful, but it isn’t the only thing that will draw in new traffic."Much like Kevin Costner said in Field of Dreams, “If you build it, he will come.” Chances are non-locals looking for a great experience will come to you."
If they’ve already traveled a few thousand miles to get to your city, they’re probably willing to travel a few more miles for a quality experience. All you have to is grab their attention.
Brand Wisely & Get Social
Create a clear and concise brand or image and carry it through to your social media channels. Your retail space should draw people in with a welcoming, visually appealing aesthetic, but also be functional. That being said, if nobody knows your operation exists, how will they ever know to visit your store? That’s where your website and platforms like Facebook and Instagram can help communicate your brand message and lure in non-locals. Put time into creating content for social media and the web and make it look nice, because like it or not – people will judge your book by its cover. You’d be surprised how many retail websites don’t link to the correct Instagram account, if any.
The guidelines around posting photos of marijuana on Instagram can be tricky to navigate, but get creative. If you have an interesting retail space, knowledgeable staff or your own branded merchandise, don’t be afraid to promote it on Instagram. The app is also a great platform for spreading the word about your cannabis retail operation; all it takes is one positive interaction from an influential user and you could quickly find that your business is the new hot spot."If you have an interesting retail space, knowledgeable staff or your own branded merchandise, don’t be afraid to promote it on Instagram."
Use Rating Apps & Lists to Your Advantage
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine suggested someone should build an app that rates dispensaries. “They already have,” I replied. “It’s called Yelp.” Combine Yelp with sites like Weedmaps, Leafly and their list of the Best Cannabis Dispensaries, and all the other lists on the internet about every dispensary everywhere, it becomes obvious that the tools you need to succeed are already out there. The beauty of apps like Yelp is they are usable and relevant for locals and non-local users alike. Everyone uses the same app and retrieves the same data. So, if you can win over locals, it will help draw in visitors
The disheartening part about all of this is that much of the information out there is somewhat out of your hands. You can’t force everyone to say something nice about your dispensary. But what you can do – as hokey as it may sound – is try your best to create a great experience for every customer. Keep an eye on your external ratings and if you see a negative trend developing, correct it.
Offer Quality Products
The final piece of the puzzle is having access to higher-end, quality products. The idea here is that above all else, weed connoisseurs will travel for a good product. As the industry grows, the gap between quality products will naturally lessen, but if you have a less-than-ideal product from the get-go, it will be harder to shake that reputation later on. Come out swinging now and it will gain you stronger footing once the industry levels out.
The truth is there isn’t a magic formula on how to become a destination dispensary. But if you promote yourself properly and offer a great customer experience with an appealing store, good products, and engaging staff, people will inevitably find out about you and make the effort to visit.
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