How Customers Choose A Dispensary

Where's Weed

Published on 6/12/22

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One of the oldest sayings in business is that the customer is always right. When it comes to the cannabis industry, customers get more choices than ever in history, able to buy products from multiple cities or states that all aim to get you as high as giraffe teeth. There can be many factors in choosing cannabis, and they may not directly involve the bud itself. Any dispensary owner or manager should recognize the options available to customers in the marijuana space. Business ventures should then position themselves accordingly to maximize their sales, brand reputation, and ability to scale an organization.

Place and Time

The most important factor in real estate is location, location, location. That's true when it comes to buying a home and absolutely true when it comes to buying a good spliff. Of all the characteristics of a reputable cannabis dispensary, where it is located is often the most important. Not only are stoners notoriously unwilling to put forth extra effort when they want something, but often the need for cannabis can be urgent - such as when it's 8:15 pm, and your options are dwindling by the second. Most cannabis fans don't think of a dispensary any differently than they would nearby fast-food restaurants: close enough is usually good enough, and anything farther is rarely worth driving to.

Location is the most important factor, meaning that any dispensary needs to put serious thought into where they choose to put down roots. Sometimes, there are only a handful of options to choose from, and not all of them are positive: certain areas may be zoned for cannabis sales and some may not, forcing dispensaries to pick a place that wouldn't be their first choice. One good strategy is to look at individual areas of a city or state where voters particularly supported the ballot initiative that legalized recreational and/or medicinal marijuana in the first place. These golden zones are most likely to have the highest number of potential customers, especially if there is not a current business supporting their needs.

Product Quality

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Every stoner has at least one long story about how they were sold a baggie of sticks and seeds back in the bad old days of prohibition. We've come a long way since getting a dealer's phone number and asking about trees, but the staple concerns of your average pothead remain the same: they want high-quality bud, not the trimmings and the stems. This is one of the key factors in choosing cannabis products, especially since most cannabis fans know what they want: they had purple kush or sour diesel last time and want this batch to hit as hard as it did before.

Product quality is not a firm concept, however. Just as most people can't tell the difference between an award-winning wine and a bottle that costs $10, so too are most cannabis consumers not incredibly picky. Many may not look farther than the THC numbers, and many change their mind depending on factors out of the dispensary's control. The dispensary can maintain high-quality options: dispensary best practices should focus on providing flower that is not dry, full of seeds, or low in the THC/CBD percentages that everyone is clamoring for. Recognizable brands and strains are also a good way to demonstrate product quality, even if indie bud may taste better or hit harder.

Price Point

Every dispensary owner or worker has had to deal with the guy wandering in with exactly $4 in his pocket, looking to get whatever he can get. Luckily, most customers aren't that guy, but the key takeaway is that cost should take a primary role in a dispensary's operations and availabilities. Options like customer rewards, savings for bundle packages, and even cheap day-olds (just like a donut shop) can make customers feel more empowered over their money and spending.

The lower price may not always win over a one-time purchase, but smaller price tags will win over customers in the longer run. A joint that costs $8 in one shop and $6 in the other will not remain a secret among the community for long, especially in a community where everyone loves to trade stories and advice. It's hard to control the supply and demand factors that lead to high prices, but any cannabis business should see what bargains they can offer - even if it may mean losing a small percentage on a given sale - to drum up greater interest.

Product Offerings

Variety is the spice of life, and just as you'd get tired of eating a birthday cake every day, so too would you get tired of smoking nothing but your favorite strain. Different types of strains, edibles, and smoking products should be the norm at a dispensary, especially a medical dispensary because picking a medical marijuana dispensary can often depend on what forms of cannabis a person can or cannot use. 

Don't confuse accessories with product offerings, either. T-shirts and shot glasses may make a cute souvenir from a dispensary for out-of-towners, but your average stoner is much more interested in what's available now and what will be in next week. Create various product offerings, and customers will reward you with interest and sales. Dispensaries who stick to a tried-and-true list of offerings may find that they miss out on a significant sector of the market, despite their success in a narrow lane.

Do you work in or own a dispensary? How have you tried to attract customers in a crowded industry market? Let us know in the comments below!