top of page

Navigating Cannabis Retail Design: Uncover Hidden Opportunities with a Strategic Retail Audit

Do you recall the feeling of stepping into your favorite retail store? The ambiance, the intentionally displayed products, the clear navigation — do these elements translate to your cannabis dispensary? At Budder, we understand the importance of these elements, especially within the complex cannabis industry. That's why we offer strategic retail audit services.

Navigating the cannabis retail industry comes with unique challenges: evolving regulations, rising competition, and stigma surrounding cannabis use. A cannabis retail design audit is an easy way to start to overcome these challenges and set your dispensary up for success.

Our creative team conducts comprehensive cannabis dispensary audits to evaluate all aspects of your customers path to purchase. A successful retail audit not only help streamline operations in turn saving time and resources, it can also lead to:

  • Increased Profitability: A retail audit helps pinpoint inefficiencies, whether they're in inventory management, customer service, or employee training. Resolving these issues can lead to a significant boost in your dispensary's profitability.

  • Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: A well-merchandised, engaging, and intuitive shopping environment significantly enhances the customer experience. By acting on strategic interventions from our retail audit, you can drive customer satisfaction and loyalty.

  • Trend Forecasting: Stay ahead of the curve. Our audits help you spot emerging trends in the cannabis retail market, allowing your dispensary to adapt and stay competitive.

  • Compliance Assurance: The cannabis industry is heavily regulated. We ensure your operations and practices are compliant with local and state laws, avoiding potential penalties and reputational damage.

  • Establish Trust and Brand Loyalty: When your retail experience is considered across all touchpoints; from website (which is often a first impression of your store) through to final purchase, being consistent in communication will help create loyalty and give customers a reason to come back.

BUDDER'S RETAIL AUDIT PROCESS: To effectively optimize a retail experience well examine where and how the brand is currently being deployed, then well identify the key opportunities to effectively improve the cannabis retail experience.

1.) BRAND GUIDE: Brand guide is an important tool every brand should have and utilize. It allows brands and retailers to move quickly and maintain strong brand integrity with clear instructions for use of approved color, logos, typography, icons, key visuals, messaging, etc. It is our starting point for understanding how a retail brand sees themselves and their customer. However in the end it is a working document that should evolve over time as brands often do.

2.) WEBSITE & SOCIAL MEDIA: These touchpoints are often the first place new customers encounter a cannabis dispensary. It is important that the retailers messaging, POV, visuals, icons and communication to the customer is consistent and that voice and identity is intentionally carried into the built environment, this helps establish trust with a customer base.

3.) EXTERIOR SIGNAGE: Your outdoor signage sets the tone for your brand. We ensure it's impactful and resonates with your target audience and that it clearly communicates what the business is. Cannabis is a nascent industry, very few brands/retailers have the kind of name recognition that doesn't require additional signage. Some states have different laws on what is permissible but there are a number of ways around it with use of clever messaging, or temporary feather signs or cafe signs.

4.) CUSTOMER JOURNEY: Well take a macro view of the path to purchase in your existing floor plan and identify key touchpoints in the store from check in to check out. Well also examine the sightlines and areas of opportunity in the store for greatest impact on branding, education, promotion, impulse buy, etc.

PRO TIP: Often in traditional retail we utilize a "Launch Pad" table which is front and center is regularly updated with new or notable product. Always looking fresh and showing something new and meaningful creates a value for the customer

4.) IN STORE SIGNAGE & WAYFINDING: What are the written and visual qeues for your customer, is it clear how to navigate the space, where they should go, who they should talk to? Many dispensaries overlook this important moment to help set the tone for the retail experience. No need to try to change consumer behavior. Clear navigation should feel natural, the more relaxed a customer is the more likely they will spend more and want to return again.

PRO TIP: In the US consumers have a tendency to turn right when they walk into a retail space, this is often a prime opportunity for education materials, especially helpful in newer markets where the customer base may be less informed on how to shop cannabis.

5.) MERCHANDISING: This will be informed by whatever categories you have established on your website. Many retailers will merchandise by product categories (vapes, flower, edibles, etc.) some might highlight and focus on brand partners, like a "Shop in Shop" (case study for dosist) or they might arrange by benefit. All have their merits and shortcomings but its understanding who your customer is and how best to speak to them that should inform the merchandising strategy.

PRO TIP: Some best practices from traditional retail that have proven effective in cannabis is having a "staff picks" section or product highlighter. Often customers end up asking the budtender what they recommend, this helps start that conversation before they even get to the pos.

6.) MARKETING / PRINTED COLLATERAL: By identifying ideal placements for marketing collateral, we ensure your materials are compelling and relevant to your customers, leading to increased customer engagement. Also helpful to put a system in place. This is a part of the reason we designed our Budder Groove system to allow for a retailer to have a templated kit of parts system that could be easily updated onsite as needed.

At Budder, we believe our retail audits are an invaluable tool for any cannabis dispensary looking to enhance operations, increase profitability, and deliver an unparalleled customer experience. Are you ready to elevate your cannabis retail design? Contact us today for a consultation and let us transform your cannabis dispensary into a customer favorite with Budder’s retail design audit.

Get in Touch for a Consultation:


bottom of page