As recreational cannabis stores opened on January 1st of 2014, Colorado had no idea what to expect. While prices started out predictably high, soon the market corrected as more shops opened their doors and supply finally met demand. The most successful ganjapreneurs learned throughout the year that these five things weren’t going away anytime soon:
Browsing for cannabis is a lot more like picking out a pair of khakis nowadays as customers browse more and have fewer presale interactions. While on the onset of medical marijuana brought the “budtender” into existence, the one-on-one experience is slowly being moved away from in favor of more open layouts. Here, patients walk in and shop on their own, filling out a sheet or ordering through a kiosk, then pick up and go. This also coincides with better jar technology that allows customers to smell and closely inspect marijuana, with built-in security features that address loss prevention. Another big benefit for open shops: decreased payroll. Instead of requiring a budtender to show jars and answer questions for each visitor, one employee can float and answer questions as they arise. This helps increase the volume of transactions each dispensary can process in a day.
Lower dose edibles
After a rash of incidents where people simply had too much of an edible, the market is shifting dramatically. The old adage used to be “What’s the strongest for the cheapest?” Now, people are looking for what’s going to give them a great time without the paranoia of possibly over indulging. In recreational states, edibles have a huge advantage over cannabis flowers for visitors: they can be ingested just about anywhere without anyone noticing. There’s also the added bonus that they don’t have the same pungency as raw cannabis, making them the discrete choice. One of the biggest players in the space, Dixie Elixirs, recently launched their “Dixie One” line to capitalize on the growing trend by offering these 5 to 10 mg edibles that are considered a single dose. Look for more of these as consumers continue to try to take the guesswork out of getting high.
The hottest cannabinoid on the market in 2014 wasn’t THC, but rather cannabidiol or CBD. Gaining popularity because of its use in treating seizure disorders in children without the psychoactive effects of THC, it’s considered effective for a number of different conditions. Patients love it for the lack of a stoned feeling and curative properties. Recreational users love it because it’s less prone to making a user feel anxious while providing great mood elevation. Since breeding plants has gone from basements to laboratories, we’re seeing a new wave of strains rich in both THC and CBD pop up. Coupled with the fact that testing has improved so dramatically, there’s no shortage of great genetics… if you know the right people. Getting your hand on these special strains is the best way to make your dispensary stand out.
Merch is a must
You’ve spent many hours mulling over a name and thousands of dollars on graphic design. Now, the best shops are figuring out how to leverage that hard work by creating more and more merchandise. While customers from out-of-state may not be able to take home the cannabis you’ve so carefully cultivated, they love taking home a sweet t-shirt or lighter. Many of the best designs feature funny or clever slogans to get people in their apparell, acting as a trojan horse for their logo. Other shops, such as Denver Relief, create custom logos for each strain. There’s nothing better than having customers pay to advertise your brand, so talk to the most creative members of your team and ask them for their suggestions. You’ll get great buy-in if you adopt a slogan of theirs.
Less is more
The name of the game used to be having the most variety possible, with some dispensaries offering over 50 different strains. What a great way to confuse a consumer. Like a restaurant with too many items on the menu, it can be overwhelming and leads to a longer transaction time as customers want to inspect all of the jars to make sure they’re getting the “best”. Budtenders will invariably pick a few they like the most, meaning you’ll cycle through that inventory faster than other strains that will grow stale. It also decreases efficiency in the grow, as different plants require different care and must be processed separately. Having core genetics that you do well, while continuing to introduce new names slowly, will give you the best bang for your shelves.