Designing a New Cannabis Culture
Think about the arc of the industry, where we started and how we ended up here, (hopefully) on the brink of federal legalization. The POTUS is actually having dialogues about the direction and state of cannabis. Where we have come from to where we are today is nothing short of a miracle.
We all hold a great responsibility to shape the cannabis culture in a way of not only inclusion, but celebration of women & BIPOC and LGBTQ faces in high places. Shake up the traditional view of management and leadership and you will see a thriving, amazing industry emerge.
Our other responsibility is to create a safe, elevated, beautiful dispensary in every neighborhood that also promotes education, healing and relief to everyone. I do this in every space I design (yes, even the 800 square foot strip mall renovations). We create destination locations which are easy for everyone to shop. Creating a plan that gives employees the space to connect to the customer, recommend the right product and really make a difference in their life. I make the space flexible for future growth but also create an atmosphere that I would send my friend/mom/self to shop. This is a need for me, fixing things that could be soooo much better.
With all the changes we see in the industry, I’m actually a little geeked out about the new advances and changes to inventory tracking and sales models. It’s not a tech snore when you see what these new, intuitive systems can do. Consumer shopping tracking & data is showing that the giant digital menu screens are not really helping customers make purchase choices. In fact, they’re making it more difficult. I’m actually happy about this because, from a design point of view, most of these are just ugly, hard to read, hard to understand. They add a fast-food feel to a space that is supposed to be luxury.
Another eyesore we are seeing less and less of (thankfully) is too much physical product on the shelves. I talk about this a lot, but it is SO valuable. Putting all your stock on the shelf in crazy stacks really doesn’t sell more. It aggravates the customer and creates headaches for employees. A handful of states only allow dummy products on display anyway, so why make it look so cluttered? Smart dispensaries have gone to a single product box on display. Clean and clear.
QR codes are really amazing in the retail cannabis dispensary world. Contactless payment for one, but some of our fave dispensaries are now displaying a QR instead of a product info card. (You know, those tiny vendor cards with too much info that need to be updated constantly?) So, the QR code is amazing. Your client can scan the code, learn all about the product, have additional recommendations made, add to cart, purchase and pickup at your order fulfillment area. Guess what? You can easily keep track of not only your inventory, but your customer’s purchasing habits, preferences, all of it. Imagine how easy your ordering team will have it when it’s internally linked to Metrc, or marketing/web sales tracking customer spending and habits.
Imagine what this means for your customer’s journey…wait- What’s a customer journey?
The customer journey is the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand. Instead of looking at just a part of a transaction or experience, the customer journey documents the full experience of being a customer.
So what this means is that from start to finish, your customer sees and experiences a professional, easy and fun shopping experience where they feel heard and taken care of by people who care for them. Simple swipe checkout, secure data, someone keeping track of what they’ve tried and the ability to review the experience and learn from it. The process is seamless. After having been recently audited by an operations specialist, I can tell you that seamless is the goal from the customers perspective.
So many entrepreneurs are changing the cannabis culture, so many great industry leaders are emerging. People who have been pioneering the laws, lobbying for rights and hitting the streets with amazing and effective social equity programs that actually make a difference.
All these things are adding up to a new direction, a new culture in cannabis. We are so excited to be a part of it all.