Are you Starbucks, Nordstrom, Target, Best Buy, The Dollar Store or the local mom & pop down the street?  It may seem like these stores are really different, but that’s actually not the case. These stores (or chains) have done well with their target audiences because they know who they are as a brand and they’re clear on the type of shopping experience they want to deliver.

The in-store experience must address a myriad of factors, especially for cannabis. Cannabis stores, especially, have a bit to overcome.  If you are in a legal state, competition is getting fierce. Additionally, rising consumer expectations are driving retailers to look for new ways to innovate and improve customer experiences.

So what do you need to evaluate to make sure your customers are getting the most out of their retail experience?  What will bring them back in your doors, week after week and hopefully, year after year?

Here are a few of the areas we see that consistently may need a bit of help. Some may seem a little obvious, but if you look at your retail environment with fresh eyes (or get another set of eyes), you may see areas for improvement.  

Create an environment that is warm, welcoming and enjoyable. Cannabis is fun, embrace it and don’t make it stodgy or stale!  And don’t make it too dank or you will lose a very profitable section of your audience! Cannabis customers are very diverse in age, ethnicity, income etc. Make sure your store feels welcoming to the entire community you serve.

Music selection is key to the atmosphere and the vibe. You may not know, but volume, tempo and genre all impact buyer behavior and the perception of your store.  Consumers are more likely to purchase when they are in a happy, upbeat mood and enjoying the atmosphere. If it’s too loud, oppressive or too specific to one audience, you may turn off larger customer bases.  But that’s not to say you can’t get creative – there’s a vast universe of possibilities for an enjoyable cannabis playlist.

Signage, product information and displays can move someone from a “just looking” to a paying customer. Cannabis can be a bit scary and overwhelming for a new customer. Let people feel comfortable and give them enough information to keep engaged and learning. No one likes to feel pressured to speak to a salesperson to find out basic information. Cannabis has a vast array of display possibilities, from terpene stations to specifics about the farms you carry… keep it interesting and keep it fresh. You never know when you can turn a “friend of a buyer” into a buyer.  

Use accessories, even down to the rug selection, to express the personality of your store.  Have fun with it, bring in pops of color and reflect the personality of your brand, your team and your store.