Prediction for 2024: cannabis retailers will realize the importance of thoughtful visual merchandising and in-store experience. Competing on price will no longer be sustainable. Here are some considerations for this year:
MEET CUSTOMERS WHERE THEY ARE -
Don't force customer behavior. For many walking into a dispensary for the first time can feel intimidating and confusing. They may start in a waiting area not unlike a dr office, then walk in and be led straight to the POS. At that point the sale is dependent on knowledge and competence of the budtender. That interaction is what will be remembered. Allowing for browsing and education along with Intentional merchandising helps guide and inform the conversation before the customer reaches the POS.
BE CONSISTENT -
Brands that are consistent build trust with their customers and they are more likely to return. The first touchpoint most consumers find dispensaries is online. The brand pov, language, aesthetics, should carry through into the retail environment. Consider the website a preview of the in-store experience, what language being used, which product of benefit categories are represented? The vibe and aesthetic should match what is happening in store.
EXPERIENCE IS A DIFFERENTIATOR -
Setting the right tone for the retail experience can directly influence sales. Consider elements like music, lighting, clear wayfinding, and decor to create a welcoming environment that supports the brands unique pov. A comfortable and engaging atmosphere can encourage customers to discover and explore more. Leading to a more satisfying and memorable retail experience.
INTENTIONAL PRODUCT PLACEMENT -
Where and when you communicate to customers can be just as important as what you are saying. There is a right time in the customer journey for education, for promotions, cross merchandising, new/notable product, brand partners, impulse buys, etc. Many customers can be overwhelmed and feel uniformed shopping cannabis. Curating the communication at the correct touchpoints can have a lasting effect.
Looking forward to seeing the next phase of cannabis retail as the industry continues to grow. WeI believe the retailers that will stand out are the ones that consistently create thoughtful and memorable retail experiences along with quality customer service. Cheers to 2024!
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