Will retail formats serve today’s cannabis consumer better?
Cannabis companies are launching at a time when customers are e-commerce savvy. But online companies won’t have a lock on today’s customer. According to a 2018 Deloitte Canada study, over 50% say they prefer bricks and mortar, vs. just 30% who are ready to buy online.
Here are 3 reasons why…
The vast number of ready-to-buy cannabis customers have been buying in the illegal shadows for years. Not all of them will leave their counter-culture cynicism behind and feel comfortable with the potential scrutiny of their purchases appearing on online databases. For some, old habits of secrecy die hard: they’re ready for regulated retail, but they’ll go in person – and pay in cash.
In the past, cannabis commerce was a relationship business. Buyers trusted their sellers, and they kept each other’s confidence. As customers transition to legal channels, they will only buy brands they trust. Retailers need to work hard to make their brand’s credibility top priority. They’ll need a consistent offer and engaged staff with plenty of good advice. They’ll also need a well-designed store that’s easy to navigate, and makes customers feel safe and smart.
Product knowledge is the ‘must have’ for the cannabis retailer, according to the same 2018 Deloitte study. 71% of current users said this is the most important part of a retail visit. It’s no wonder: online shopping can be a frustrating hunt-and-peck through rows of little boxes, and it’s still just a guessing game. Customers will seek out retailers that help them make better choices. A store that’s designed to create discovery and learning will quickly become a favorite and will make it worth the trip – every time.