Last year was a big year for cannabis, with seven U.S. states legalizing consumption in some form on Election Day. And we’re still riding the high. As of late 2016, eight states and Washington, D.C., allowed adult-use recreational cannabis, while 28 states had medical marijuana programs.
While it is nearly impossible to track the total amount of recreational and medical marijuana dispensaries in the country, a look at revenue alone speaks for itself: the booming industry is expected to post $20.2 billion in sales by 2021.
Despite these massive numbers, as many involved in the industry will tell you, there are still some stigmas associated with the public-facing image of dispensaries. Cannabis is still a foreign substance to many consumers. That’s why it’s up to dispensaries to take things into their own hands to educate their customers.
Interactive technology can help propel the budding cannabis industry.
By providing product information and enhancing educational possibilities, dispensaries can engage directly with customers, allowing them to customize their buying experience and make more informed purchases.
Reach a Wide Variety of Customers
Today’s cannabis consumer looks decidedly different than the stereotype of the past. Recent research illustrates a new generation of cannabis consumers with the following characteristics:
- 30 years old, on average
- 65 percent male; 35 percent female
- 65 percent have a household income of $75K or more
- 84 percent are employed full-time
- 63 percent are married or living with a significant other
What’s the takeaway here? That it’s important to cater to a wide variety of individuals. Whether customers are first-time buyers or regular medical marijuana patients, dispensaries can leverage interactive touchscreens and their corresponding software to provide relevant content to consumers.
While dispensaries are successfully reducing many of the stigmas associated with purchasing cannabis, first-time customers may still feel shy or hesitant about the purchasing process. Interactive software creates in-store experiences that can help reduce anxiety and provide education, while enhancing the customer service reach of your on-site staff. For regular customers, the same software provides detailed catalogues to update consumers on new products.
Put the Consumer in Control
The way that consumers interact with products is changing across all industries.
As trends show, consumers can now control their experiences and have willingly accepted this power. In fact, a recent study shows that, if given the option, 61 percent of consumers would shop in a self-serve, completely automated retail store, with kiosk stations and vending machines replacing human service.
While dispensaries certainly rely on customer service, as this research suggests, self-education is clearly an important option. In addition to putting customers at ease, interactive software places consumers in the driving seat of the purchasing experience—helping them make more educated purchases.
Paired with hardware such as touchscreens—either kiosks or mounted on the walls of the dispensary—interactive software provides customized interactive experiences to enhance the educational possibilities for each customer. It also provides consumers with store and company information and answers company FAQs—all while reducing the time and effort from human resources.
Display Specific Information to Specific Customers
While it’s important to reach a wide variety of customers, research also shows that customized experiences can increase sales by up to 20 percent. Interactive software is also capable of targeting communication. Rather than appeal to hundreds—or thousands—of customers at once, tailored messaging can communicate one type of message to one type of consumer.
The best interactive software provides an intuitive user interface, remote management, and robust tracking abilities. It also enables businesses to gather valuable data so they can tailor messaging based on the unique needs, activities, and interests of their consumers. Interactive software provides businesses with insight on who’s engaging with what content so they can ensure their efforts are consistent and compliant. Analytics allow dispensaries to track feedback and understand the interests and comfort level of their diverse cannabis consumers.
By understanding which product pages are most visited, and which buttons consumers click through, owners gain immediate insight on popular products and how well messaging is being received. The right touchscreen software makes changes and updates quick and easy, so that dispensaries can create interactive experiences around the desires of the consumer.