Already there are close to 10,000 dispensaries that exist in the United States – with new stores popping up every single week. Like all retailers, some of these dispensaries will last, while others will close and then quickly forgotten.
Step 1 – Find your Niche and Value Proposition
If you don’t know yet, begin Interacting with your dispensary customers to understand what that is.
Understanding what your people want and why they should choose you is the single most important thing to consider when starting a dispensary. Understand your value proposition.
Dispensaries are becoming more and more competitive as more states legalize marijuana. Make sure to decide what makes you unique, as it could be in any of the following areas.
Cost – Can you sell certain strains or variants of the product that are cheaper and more affordable than your competitors?
Quality – How does your product stand next to your competitors? Does it provide a pure, better quality experience?
Volume of Products Offered – Can you offer a bigger variety of products? Are you able to provide different variants, complimentary products that customers can choose from?
Customer Service – Do you have the best, most helpful, knowledgeable, friendly employees?
Store Experience – Can you create an effective store design? Build a sense of comfort with the products. Look at the color pattern on the way the employees are dressed, display your products nicely, all which to help drive customers through the purchasing process.
A great example of store design is Jayne in Northeast Portland. At the moment you walk in you experience an extremely thoughtful and experienced store design that feels like a home. You’ll see soft tones with rustic furniture and 20th century decor. Situated in a younger neighborhood, it creates an ambience that is memorable for the average customer.
Here’s a video from That High Couple as they take you through a tour from Cookies Melrose in LA.
Step 2 – Leverage your Network
The way that consumers talk to your employees can be a deciding factor in your business staying alive or going under. Most importantly, this is a great tool to show that your dispensary exists (if people don’t know who you are, why would they choose you?)
For example, you can do some community outreach. These can be as simple as sponsoring some of your neighborhood events, hosting a potluck or dinner, or doing to meet as many people as you can. Other options include a neighborhood concert or a charity canned food drive to help become involved in the community.
Step 3 – Incentivize Your Customers
Providing proper customer incentives to give an added push for customers to choose you can cost time and money, but this encouragement is important especially if your dispensary is in its early stages.
You’re getting some folks in the door, but how do you get them to keep coming back?Using daily deals, loyalty programs, stick out in people’s minds, and even get them to tell their friends about you.
You can also utilize a club signup program that sends daily texts or emails to your loyal customer base. Companies like G2 Crowd (a software reviews company based out of Chicago) offer people actual gift cards to write a review on their company.
Building a successful promotion takes time and work – but if done correctly, it can resonate with a HUGE volume of spending customers.
Step 4 – Hustle Harder and Become Unstoppable
This seems like an obvious step, but it can be forgotten in this industry. There is serious competition out there, and the nature of cannabis is about the following:
Relaxing – reflection — Meditation.
The above is NOT something you want to necessarily exhibit on a daily basis when starting a business. Instead, it requires serious hustle and grit to build up a dispensary.
Most locations have difficulty making it because they don’t do CONSTANT marketing through (promotions, networking, customer service) and they think they can coast through this. There are many marketing challenges that are unique to the cannabis space; make sure to study up, and be prepared to grow your business.
There is so much on the line – Can you risk it by doing anything less?