Conditions have never been better for dispensaries offering recreational cannabis products. These include a range of products including flower, concentrates, edibles, topicals, and pre-rolls.
The first legalized recreational cannabis was sold in licensed dispensaries in Washington and Colorado beginning in 2014. Since then, an increasing number of states have legalized recreational cannabis through ballot initiatives and legislative bills for adults 21 and older.
Cannabis is fully legal for recreational use in the following US states and territories:
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland (July 1, 2023), Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, Marianas Islands, and Virgin Islands.
With more states legalizing recreational cannabis each year, dispensaries should study how to effectively set up displays for recreational cannabis-based products. This guide will give you some ideas and best practices for merchandising your products and increasing sales per customer.
Recreational Cannabis Dispensaries are Retail Shops
Dispensaries in the US at first only sold medical marijuana, and as many states legalized cannabis, dispensaries in those states evolved. Recreational cannabis shops, at their root, follow the same principles of marketing and merchandising that traditional retail shops follow. Routines and practiced skillsets such as customer service, bookkeeping, and inventory management will help you succeed.
But merchandising is how you will increase the average customer checkout, and boost sales. Here are some best practices for displaying recreational cannabis products.
Identify Which Products are Popular with Your Target Market
Take note of what your customer base is interested in purchasing. If possible, take notes on why people buy certain products. Does your clientele prefer cannabis flower, concentrates, or edibles? Be sure to display these in prominent locations on your sales floor. Are pre-rolls or vaporizers popular? Smaller items can be displayed at the checkout counter, or at strategic locations throughout the dispensary. Are certain brands or product types in demand? By directing attention to these displays using display cases, lighting, and professional signage, you can help drive more impulse sales of these items.
Group Similar Products Together
Consumers who come to your dispensary my use different products for different needs. By arranging your products in logical clusters, it will help customers find the items they need quickly, making their customer experience pleasant.
A display area where customers can sniff the terpene aromas of different flower strains might be in one area. Tinctures may be in a different section. CBD products should probably have their own display area. Edibles and cannabis-based drinks can be in a separate merchandising area.
Match Your Displays to the Experience You Want to Create
Some products are higher-end, and merchandising them appropriately will help accentuate that fact. Displays made from metal, wood, glass, or high-quality acrylic give customers a different impression than displays made from more disposable materials.
For lower-priced products, you may choose to keep those behind the counter, where budtenders can suggest them to customers as needed.
Lighted signage, LED lighting, and accent lighting will help focus attention on selected product displays on the sales floor.
Keep Product Information Online Up to Date
Consumers still frequent physical stores. In some municipalities, online ordering and delivery may be an option. But many people will still show up in person to buy cannabis products from your dispensary. Keeping your website up to date will still be important, even if most of your revenue comes from in-store customers.
A 2016 study by Euclid Analytics showed 83 percent of customers use their smartphone as part of the in-store shopping experience. These are relevant actions that these customers completed on their smartphones while shopping in a retail store.
- Comparing prices
- Looking for email promotions and coupons
- Taking photos of products for future reference
- Read online reviews of products
- Go to website of the specific retailer
These are the things that these same customers wanted to do on their smartphones while shopping in a retail store:
- Find store’s best deals and promotions
- Quickly access the loyalty program information for that store
- Display inventory for products in that store
- Get a more personalized experience based on their shopping history and preferences
- Request customer service from a store employee
Dispensaries should also have an up-to-date menu on their website, as well as easy to find loyalty program information.
In the years since this study was first conducted, smartphones and digital access have become even more ingrained in our daily routines. By having all the available information on your website, and providing this info easily, customers will be happier with the shopping experience at your dispensary.
Do Not Overcrowd the Sales Floor
Have you ever gone into a discount store and the sales floor is jam-packed with displays? Now compare that with high-end luxury stores that you’ve shopped at. Ever notice that the luxury stores tend to have a lot of space between displays? This isn’t by accident.
Having adequate spacing in your dispensary sales floor, and avoiding overstuffing the retail floor with superfluous displays, creates a different feel and general impression.
Stores that thoughtfully design a customer experience that feels and looks more like a luxury retail experience leave customers with that impression. By contrast, dispensaries that emulate the overcrowded displays of some retail stores leave the customer feeling like they shopped at a cheap store with claustrophobic displays. Be intentional about how you display products in your recreational dispensary.
Focus on Customer Education
Most dispensaries have a waiting room that leads to the main dispensary sales floor. This waiting area can include digital screens containing product information, printed materials, or kiosks to educate customers on the different cannabis-based products. Remember, that many states are new to legalizing recreational cannabis, and some customers will not be familiar with the different products and how they are most useful.
Educational information can also be featured on your dispensary website and in your email newsletter. The budtenders should also be well-trained in the characteristics and benefits of each cannabis product. They can help answer any questions customers might have.
Digital displays can also be used on the sales floor as part of product displays to show detailed product information and help educate customers.
Use Customer Loyalty Programs
Some cities can be very competitive for recreational cannabis sales. It is crucial your dispensary uses loyalty programs to encourage repeat business. Even when sales are peaking, promotions that reward repeat customers will help ensure repeat sales from your most loyal customers.
Dispensary Displays and Fixture Experts
For more than 25 years, Bud Bar Displays has been helping dispensary owners with innovative product displays. Our product line of dispensary cabinets, cannabis display pods, concentrate displays, and other dispensary displays are used in dispensaries worldwide.
Our award-winning team is ready to help you find the perfect configuration of retail cannabis displays for your shop. You can order online directly from our e-commerce store, reach out via email, or call us directly at (916) 858-2000.