It has been more than a year since the global pandemic was declared due to Covid-19, and more and more states are opening up and returning to a sense of normalcy. But things will never completely go back to the way they were pre-March 2020 because we’ve all changed our habits. That’s especially true when it comes to how we shop for things like toiletries, groceries, and cannabis. Change is good, and here are 5 major developments for cannabis dispensaries post pandemic to be mindful of.
Customers Barely Have to Leave Their Vehicles
Like many retail sectors, cannabis dispensaries added drive-through windows and curbside pickup as more and more people could not or did not want to enter businesses. These new features materialized quickly at the onset of the pandemic and they proved to be so popular that customers will expect them to continue. And that’s a good thing for those who launched these options, and a hint for those who did not — it might be time to explore new ways with which to interact with your customers and sell your products.
Offering these purchase options also helps make overall dispensary operations run smoother, so your customers can get what they want fast and hassle-free.
Ordering Whenever, Wherever
Where legally allowed, online ordering is nothing new for cannabis. However, it became wildly popular during the height of the pandemic and customers will expect it going forward. Cannabis dispensaries that did not already have industry-leading software such as that offered by BLAZE ran into significant problems when they needed to build an ecommerce site overnight. Thanks to compliance and other onerous regulations, it’s more complex to process cannabis purchases than clothing purchases.
An excellent online ordering platform also improves overall dispensary operations and helps avoid a crush of customers queued up and waiting to buy directly from a budtender.
More Options for Reaching Customers
In the pandemic world it was difficult and time-consuming to do simple things like shop for groceries, which led to a huge spike in demand for third-party delivery services. Such services are now zeroing in on cannabis marketplaces for good reason, but dispensary owners shouldn’t wait for Instacart or Uber and instead launch their own delivery operations to reach more customers. Delivery is fast and efficient, and customers are now used to having it around.
Adjusting to Changes in Consumer Behavior
Customers started making fewer trips to cannabis dispensaries during the pandemic, but they spent more money during each visit. This indicates that demand for cannabis did not change at all, but people are now less interested in making frequent trips to dispensaries and that will likely continue post-pandemic.
It’s a trend that presents an interesting opportunity in terms of packaging, quantities, sales, and marketing. Most dispensaries offer far more eighth-ounce flower options, for instance, than quarters, halves, or full ounces and that is largely due to legal limitations on how much product can be purchased daily. This is where you need to get creative. Let’s say the legal limit for your customers is 1 ounce of flower daily. You can create all sorts of discounted, bundled packages not just for flowers but for edibles and other products.
You’re Now an ‘Essential’ Business Forever
After the global pandemic was declared in early March 2020, California and Illinois were quick to shut down almost all business operations statewide. Both states deemed a handful of businesses as essential, such as pharmacies and grocery stores. Cannabis dispensaries were also included, and soon every other state with a legal marketplace did the same.
It’s too soon to understand the ramifications of this move, but its importance cannot be overstated. To put it simply, the move took cannabis from a fringe medical product to a mainstream treatment — something advocates have been working toward for decades. Now there’s no going back. Cannabis as an industry is becoming more and more mainstream and legitimate, and that trend will continue and lead to greater acceptance in banking, technology, and business.