If you’re a business owner yourself, then you already know that there are huge amounts of pressure to create a killer in-store experience, PLUS, if you do it right, customers will come from near and far to see your store in-action. Cannabis eCommerce introduces a branded online experience – something that is arguably just as important as having the physical brick-and-mortar experience. However, the costs of building-out a store go upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars — accommodating for renovations, installing display cases, compliant POS systems, high-tech security equipment, and the last minute decor items that make the space look fresh, new and ready to wow customers.
So when it comes to creating an effective online presence, people tend to shy away or only invest a small budget, but why?
Cannabis eCommerce important for modern retail
You’d be surprised to find out that 67% of millennials, 56% of Gen Xers, and 51% of all Americans prefer to shop online now. The new decade is going to be all about optimizing your services to accommodate shoppers of all schedules and generations, and with all the information you could need to make an informed purchase — keeping in mind that the millennials are the ones to impress.
Using California as an example of what a more mature cannabis infrastructure looks like, then we can expect to see more convenient ways to shop, and smoother transactions coming our way. And considering that California saw online orders for cannabis increase by 74% — we can assume that these numbers aren’t going down anytime soon.
Physical retail is by no means gone, but online sales are drastically gaining traction, growing about 3 times faster than traditional ‘offline’ shopping. And why is that? Well, to keep it short — people are busy — and technology is finally starting to accommodate everybody — so the nation of people who work 9–5’s, and people looking to pay a fee for the convenience of not leaving their home, now have options to make the most of their time off, better spent with family, friends, or just living their best life!
Choose the right solutions for doing business
Once you have your business up and running, you’re going to want to start thinking about how you want to look online. Simple, clean and modern interfaces will showcase your inventory, and allow your customers to search and sort their way through your products with ease.
With every partnership and integration you make, you want to prioritize companies that put compliance at the forefront of their interactions — you never want to be caught doing business with a company that isn’t operating 100% transparently, because if you do, it’s your license at-risk.
Online ordering is a simple value-add
Some states are introducing recreational dispensaries for the first time, and as we’ve experienced from our personal visits is that you should expect a decent commute to get to the nearest one, and once you arrive, parking is limited or nonexistent, or maybe the dispensary bought the parking lot next door to hold their massive lineups that people willingly wait hours in to hopefully see a tablet or a clipboard with what’s available to buy in-store.
What a process. Luckily we live in an age where online shopping is striving to give you all the information you need to make the purchase. And with so many people opting to stay home, your store needs to make sure that this information is there for the people who are looking for it.
Let’s take a look at the numbers.
40% of the people who would be looking at your store are simply trying to save time, 15% to avoid crowds, and 11% to avoid checkout lanes —all of these factors pose a big red flag, indicating that customers will fall in love with your store all over again if they have options to shop.
Integrating with e-commerce and marketplace software is the future of online cannabis retail, where your system can compile all of the information your customers are going to want to know, from seed to sale.
People seek out live menus & pickup options
Most compliant POS systems, like Greenline, come with a built-in tool that, when combined with an e-commerce platform allows you to show and share items that you have in your inventory with your customers, and adaptively display items if there is a sufficient supply.
When it comes to the importance of cannabis eCommerce, consider that your customers may be hunting for a specific strain, meanwhile, others are just trying to find the cheapest option with the highest THC content, but either way, having your stock displayed online with the addition of search and filters saves both your time and theirs.
Your customers can either save the trip and get home delivery or just pay ahead of time for a simple drop-in to pick up their goods. You can also dedicate more of your budtender’s time toward helping the customers that need a bit more support in-store, and making your operations more efficient for your long-term goals for how you want to run your store.
Build your brand online using your core values
Regulations, unfortunately, hold canna-businesses back from really amplifying their presence; not being allowed to run paid google ads, use celebrity endorsements, install or have outdoor signage, have general ads or events that appeal to minors, service coupons, or give out free samples.
That being said you ARE allowed to have an online presence and to build up your brand to something similar to what you’d find in store, engage your customers through your social media, use content marketing to drive organic search and attend the odd (and approved) cannabis event.
Heading into the new decade, use what you can do to your advantage and start establishing yourself as a long-term player in the cannabis industry for your area. Cannabis eCommerce will continue to be an important factor going forward, and Verda makes it simple.
(Psst… Verda just launched its online marketplace where consumers can find nearby licensed dispensaries, browse live menus of products and place online orders for in-store pickup or same-day home delivery (where regulations permit).