Businesses rely strongly on converting new customers which can be a unique experience for a cannabis dispensary. Even with the majority of U.S. citizens voicing their support for marijuana legalization, the plant is still approached with a sense of taboo from many that grew up through decades of uninformed Reefer Madness
-style propaganda and Reagan-era PSAs that seemed to justify a schedule I classification that relegated marijuana to the same notoriety as heroin. Despite the federal government’s best efforts, the truth about cannabis has been reaching the public. While your dispensary may still receive its heaviest traffic from seasoned smokers that know their way around a water pipe, you’ve likely already become well acquainted with the new breed of cannabis user. And it’s going to take something different than a few generous dispensary deals on pre-rolls to gain their loyalty and trust.
Who is This First Time Dispensary Customer?
A few weeks ago, Matthew Kind of The Cannainsider Podcast
sat down with Ana Hori of online medical cannabis community Enlucem
to discuss trends she had mapped in first-time dispensary visitors. Data collected from 1800 individuals across the five leading states in cannabis legalization revealed that 67% of first-time cannabis users visiting dispensaries are women approximately between the ages of 45 and 65. New customers make up about 1/5 of your clients but it’s important to convert as many of these curious consumers into repeat patrons as possible. This will require you to go a bit deeper than offering up simple dispensary deals because this is a whole new world to these customers. Some may even regard it with an element of danger. Offering a free blunt to a novice probably won’t do a lot to persuade this particular type of customer to return.
How Do You Turn a Skeptical New Customer Into a Repeat Customer?
A knowledgeable, savvy budtender has a much better chance at securing this type of customer than blanket product-focused dispensary deals. Rookie consumers are often searching for a new solution to a recurring problem. One of the most common issues driving new faces into your dispensary is anxiety but a whole host of common ailments could be at play, some of which have been traditionally treated with potentially hazardous and addictive opioids. A budtender should strive to understand and sympathize with this type of new customer while offering suggestions appropriate to the consumer’s desired response. It may seem like common sense but a seamless fusion of product knowledge and personable customer service will go a long way toward building trust in these new customers. And with trust comes loyalty.
What Sort of Items Appeal to a Potential New Customer?
As we mentioned before, dispensary deals on blunts or pre roll freebies may not go down that well with this type of consumer but why not? Hori’s research showed that 55% of first time consumers are more open to purchasing edibles. 55% also said that they would be interested in buying topicals and lotions. She went on to explain that first time visitors to a dispensary often expressed an aversion to smoking. Since it’s easy for a novice to equate smoking and vaping as the same thing, these avenues of consumption may require a period of cautious orientation. Once a budtender has identified whether a new customer is adverse to smoking or vaping, s/he can begin suggesting the mediums most conducive to the customer’s preferences. Many of the consumers in this demographic will value discretion highly and may warm to the idea of vaping in time but it can be good to start with low dose edibles or cannabis topicals.
The Type of Dispensary Deals That Keep on Working
Once you’ve identified the preferences of a new customer, you can use customized dispensary deals to actually help build value on top of the trust. But some insiders have cautioned against a regular practice of introductory deals since it can breed a fickle nature in the consumer where s/he instead hops dispensaries to pick up as many first time freebies as possible. Setting dispensary deals for a certain hour of the day can reward loyalty as opposed to rewarding novelty. You can also consider setting up a rewards system similar to those successfully used in the food industry. You could even have fun with it a bit by tying giveaways to raffles or games of chance. Either way, there are far better ways to use dispensary deals to reward customer loyalty than relying on one-time introductory gifts. New customers to your dispensary are likely to be diverse with varying objectives. However, Hori’s research has helped to build a profile of a type of customer that can become a true asset to your dispensary clientele. Introductory dispensary deals aren’t likely to build trust in this type of patron as well as a knowledgeable and caring budtender devoted to delivering a product that can get them reasonably close to their desired response. Integrate deals into your business that reward loyalty and instead use authoritative information and stellar customer service to hook curious newbies.