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5 Things Cannabis Consumers Don’t Know (& An Actionable Checklist for Cannabis Retailers)

Amy Killoran

Top Takeaways & Low-Hanging Fruit for Retailers to Boost their Bottom-Line

One of the great parts of being a Product Manager is talking to users. Recently I’ve jumped on board with a Cannabis Marketplace and eCommerce Startup and gotten to talk to Cannabis Consumers about their buying experiences. eCommerce is nothing new, but as I’m finding out from talking to customers, many cannabis brands are missing the mark on low-hanging fruit that is impacting your bottom line. (Skip to the bottom for my checklist for cannabis retailers)

I’m going beyond the basics and giving you actionable highlights from my latest round of interviews. Here are the top takeaways I wish Cannabis Retailers (especially in Canada) knew about their customers:

  1. Your customers don’t know how to spot a Licensed Retailer
    Seriously, this shocked me. In Canada, adult-use Cannabis is legal nationwide. Online consumers are searching for stores near them and assuming the listed results are legal. Many online marketplaces include non-licensed retailers alongside licensed ones, making it even harder for consumers to differentiate who they should be buying from. It’s only when the customers reach the payment or delivery stage of their order that they realize they’ve been dabbling in the grey market. Sometimes they only realize once they’ve used the product and get some funky side effects. Shopping on a marketplace for only licensed retailers is a way for cannabis consumers to sidestep this confusing research.
  2. Customers bounce if you don’t have a large and diverse menu
    Customers are more likely to look elsewhere when your online menu is too small. With so many products on the market, it’s possible to provide a range of potency, formats, and brands while still only listing products that suit your brand values. When customers see a small online menu, they assume you have also have a small selection of products in-store and might choose to not plan a visit. During ~these times~ your online presence is the only interaction you might have with your customers. However, don’t overwhelm them with products; use collections and suggested products to get them exploring your menu.
  3. They want to know where your high-CBD products are!
    High THC products get a lot of attention (and revenue!) but, stores are missing out on serving a more reserved customer looking for high CBD or balanced products. Make sure to round out your collections with one dedicated to high CBD products. Don’t lose a sale by making these products hard to find! This desire for higher CBD stood out in the 30+ age group, which typically means these consumers have a higher disposable income to spend. In my most recent research, this group accounted for 30% of consumers.
  4. They want to buy products from local and BIPOC LPs
    Your customers are looking to support local businesses and small shops more than ever. Even Ontario’s OCS reports that 88% of legal cannabis sales are happening at private neighbourhood stores. This value-based buying extends into the products they buy from your store. Consumers are choosing to put their money where their values are. Make sure to include social equity information, showcase BIPOC producers, locally grown product, and products with more environmentally friendly packaging. If you aren’t sure where your licensed producers stand, ask them!
  5. They don’t know you have delivery!
    Again this one took me by surprise. Maybe it’s because smaller local shops don’t have enough time to dedicate to web design, or maybe it’s because delivery laws seem to be ever-changing, but many sites don’t make it clear that delivery is an option! Even if you have it listed, I’ve watched a few users shop on their local site and miss subtle cues about delivery.
  6. The ability to re-order
    A high percentage of cannabis users I’ve talked to want to know what they’ve purchased, when they purchased it, and want the ability to re-order as easily as possible. Not only does this help them track their purchases and their favourite products, but creating an account where users can revisit their favs and reorder in a few clicks will get users in and out of your online shop with no friction. While we’re a long way out from weed subscription boxes being legal, allowing users friction-less reordering is a step in the right direction.

Is your eCommerce experience hitting all of these points? Are you sure?

Here is your low-hanging-fruit checklist for Cannabis Retailers:

  • Add copy to your site’s homepage and ‘about us’ page about being a licensed cannabis retailer. Consumers need to be educated and more informed. The more they see it, the more they will expect to see it.
  • Add your License number to your footer.
  • Add your license number to your Google listing.
  • Add your license number to display on your eCommerce solution.
  • Join a Cannabis Marketplace for licensed retailers.
  • Make sure your online menu syncs with your in-store offerings by getting an eCommerce solution that connects to your POS.
  • Make sure your collections cover these categories (in this order).
  • Make a custom collection of High CBD Products.
  • Check your current menu, do you have at least 2 high CBD, low THC products in flower, vape, and edibles?
  • Check your current menu, do you have at least 2 balanced products in flower, vape, and edibles?
  • Create a custom collection of locally grown products.
  • Create a custom collection of explicitly BIPOC owned producers.
  • Update your product descriptions to include information on social equity, female or BIPOC ownership, and/or environmental info.
  • Feature a product that aligns with your shop’s personal values on your social media.
  • Create a list of questions to ask your LP’s about their ownership, social equity initiatives, or other social-good works they may have.
  • Make a list of all your newest LP’s and email them with the list of questions.
  • Link your delivery menu in many different areas. If you can, show it on your homepage, in your navigation, in your footer, and as an option when users click ‘shop’.
  • Check your users’ eCommerce experience and see how easy it is for them to reorder using your system? This should be 5 clicks or less. (It’s 4 clicks from landing to purchase on Verda).

I work as a Product Manager for Verda Innovations, a Canadian, Scaleable eCommerce, Delivery, and Marketplace solution for Licensed Cannabis Retailers across North America.

If you’re looking for a low-cost way to get more orders online, talk to us.

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