Cannabis hasn’t been on the radar of mainstream commerce for very long, and while it remains at the center of a legal tug of war between state and federal law, it continues to be a booming industry—especially in the many states that have legalized it for medical and recreational use.
It’s a unique and intimidating experience for those with a prescription seeking cannabis to be able to walk into a retail outlet—even a highly regulated one—and purchase it. Alongside this new experience comes a range of new uses for interactive technology that can improve the customer experience and help the sales process. Legal marijuana and ubiquitous touch screens are two concepts that people 30 years ago never could have imagined and that now have the potential to work together to provide a new healthcare experience. Here’s how:
Cannabis Education in the Age of Legalization
The different characteristics of cannabis strains—everything from the distinctions between indicas and sativas and their differing effects on the user right down to aesthetic features like flavor and scent—are discussions that have until recently been restricted to the pages of niche publications like High Times. But limited legalization has brought a whole dialogue about these topics and how they pertain to patient care. Customers looking for pain relief want to know what strains and methods of consumption will best suit their medical needs, and technology has already been helping them along.
Startups have begun to help customers pursue this level of education, setting up patients to collect and log data on what their experience is with different strains and how well it’s working for them. Utilizing in-dispensary touch screens to provide this personalized knowledge makes the shopping experience convenient and hands-on and relieves any uneasiness a customer might have about talking shop with an employee.
Increased Comfort, Increased Ease
Plenty of people of all ages have experimented with marijuana at one time or another. But that doesn’t mean everyone will be comfortable buying it in a store or has the level of expertise to make informed choices on the product itself or the paraphernalia used for consumption. Some of the most promising features of kiosk-based purchasing in a dispensary are offering customers confidential standardized product education while also enabling the customer to make informed decisions regarding what product may be most beneficial in their specific situation.
Dispensaries offering these touch screen displays will provide their customers with a more personalized customer-centric shopping experience tailored to their individual level of comfort. These dispensaries will be supporting their customers to make more educated purchases by allowing them to choose between interacting with an employee or using the display for a more confidential standardized and streamlined experience.
The ROI on THC
The potential for increasing sales throughput and ROI by investing in technological solutions is as obvious in the budding cannabis space as it is in more traditional markets. People are more likely to take part in a brick-and-mortar experience that’s convenient and comfortable and provides them with the information and expertise they need to make a purchasing decision. This is as true in cannabis sales as it is in conventional retail.
But in a space where there’s so much that’s new, and so many potentially different comfort levels among consumers, there’s an even greater potential for ROI. Technology that makes the buying process more comfortable and offers more guidance will naturally become a part of the dispensary model—and the dispensaries that offer these kinds of customer-centric options will be the ones that get more customers of all ages, levels of experience, and levels of comfort.