The global pandemic has changed many things in our lives. In the cannabis industry, it drove a rapid transition towards online ordering, pickup, and delivery services. Before COVID-19, the in-store retail experience was important, but now it is even more crucial to make it worthwhile for consumers who choose to enter your dispensary. If the choice is between pickup/delivery and coming into your store, the in-store experience must give them something extra. So how do you do that? Here are some ideas.
All of us are apprehensive as we reengage with society. Even those who feel comfortable going out and about in public will be put at ease by hearing about what your establishment is doing to keep everyone safe. This can be signs detailing how often surfaces are cleaned or any new rules about distancing.
Be sure to talk about hygiene, too. Most dispensaries have hand sanitizer at every station and encourage budtenders and customers to use it after touching cash or other germ-intensive items. You may also use this as an opportunity to promote cashless and contactless payment methods like PIN debit card processing and Hypur Pay™. In particular, Hypur’s safe checkout option makes it easy for in-store patrons to purchase product without even touching shared surfaces, instead entering their Personal Access Code (PAC) on their own phone.
Customers can also input a tip for the budtender (if your location allows it) right from the PAC screen of the safe checkout option. Even if consumers use the traditional retail payment method with Hypur, they will get a text after the transaction is complete with an option to add a tip for the budtender. This way, Hypur users can thank their valued budtenders without worrying about handling cash or visiting an ATM.
Connecting… from a distance
Traditionally, consumers visiting a dispensary might be greeted with handshakes, fist bumps, or high fives as well as opportunities to smell products or browse accessories. With minimal physical interaction and reduced touching of shared surfaces, these experiences can no longer continue. While social distancing is changing the way we connect, it has also highlighted the need we all have to feel mentally or emotionally close to others, even as we maintain physical distance.
It may seem like common sense, but budtenders are encouraged to ask visitors “how’re you holding up?” or “how’re you doing… really?” – so often, people answer with a habitual fine when simply asked “how’re you?”, so changing the pattern can lead to a more honest answer. Be authentic when you ask and be sure to make eye contact.
Not only can this help you to build a genuine connection with the person in front of you, it can also give insight into potential new needs regarding product. If someone mentions dealing with more anxiety, or new pains from a different work environment, or trouble sleeping, this can be a reason to discuss the product that they’re currently using, and which changes might work better for their new symptoms.
You might want to ask if they are still consuming product in the same way, or if they’re looking for new alternatives. Many consumers have reported switching to edibles or tinctures to avoid the potential risks of inhaled product, so be prepared to discuss alternatives, dosing, and other questions.
Feel free to also make use of virtual connections. Even if restrictions are loosening in your state, many people are still more comfortable staying in their homes as much as possible while staying connected. If you organized virtual sessions, 4:20 hangouts on social media, or video chat apps during lockdown, you may want to continue these as opportunities to communicate with your community.