Why Did a Customer Leave My Dispensary Empty-Handed?
August 17, 2017
Attracting customers to your dispensary can be difficult in the cannabis industry, especially with heavy regulations on advertisements and marketing. In areas densely populated with the competition, what can you do to set yourself apart and stand out from the group? Business owners must find unique ways to attract customers, but that’s just the beginning. Customers like to shop around, so providing the best first-time experience and capturing customer loyalty can be what separates your dispensary from the rest. It’s very uncommon for someone to go into a dispensary and leave empty-handed but it does happen. If this is happening at your store, or even if it’s only happened once or twice, here are the three most common reasons why, from the standpoint of both an industry professional, and a customer.
1) Lack of Product – A wide variety of products can sometimes be overwhelming, especially for customers who are new to cannabis shopping in a regulated market, which is when customer service will become crucial. But a lack of inventory can be worse. Most of the time, when a customer arrives at your shop, they have a pretty good idea of what they’re looking for. Stopping by your local dispensary and immediately finding that they’re out of what you’re looking for can lead to a first-time patient/customer never returning. Having it in stock gives you the chance to upsell them and perhaps turn them onto another product, but only if you have something to sell in the first place.
2) Competitive Pricing – Pricing needs to be constantly observed and compared in your market to make sure you’re in the same ballpark as your local competition, especially with nearby shops. If a new customer who couldn’t find a product down the street enters your store and the prices aren’t comparable, you don’t have a great chance of them coming back, even if you’re able to make a sale that day. Keep your pricing competitive by secret shopping or looking online, and find creative ways to feature discounts, weekly/daily promos, and things like BOGO’s to move more product, but more importantly, to capture customer loyalty.
3) Customer Service – There’s nothing worse than going into a dispensary and feeling like the budtender isn’t there to help you. A new customer/patient is extremely overwhelmed in a dispensary, especially with a wide variety of options, and providing them with an experience where you show patience, a willingness to listen, and offer some advice, will help you to create return customers. People are more loyal to other people than they are to a brand or product, so establishing a relationship early on can help set your dispensary apart from those down the street.
So how can you position yourself to start? Make sure you have online menus easily accessible and updated. Communicate with your vendors to stay stocked up and be willing to accommodate the customer if you are out of something. It goes a long way to offer alternatives based on other customers who have purchased the same products, which can usually be found in your cannabis POS.
Create SOPs for budtenders to ask questions before someone leaves your store empty-handed to find out the “why”. Prevent it from happening again by reviewing your Dispensary POS System data to determine which budtender deleted the customer out of the queue, how long they were in the store, and ask why they left. Lastly, stay on top of your reviews on your website, menu apps, and other review platforms, because that’s where customers will start when deciding where to shop.
Although it’s uncommon for a customer/patient to leave your store empty-handed, you need to be prepared on how to fix the issue before you create “never returning customers”.
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