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    How to stand out from the competition

    “You really have to stand out or you’re going to drown. It’s just that simple.”

    – Rahn Burns, Local Roots

    So true. In retail cannabis we know that even before the doors open, just getting the license approval requires standing out. A fresh perspective, a great community asset, a beautiful floor plan and rendering, an amazing shopping experience, an exceptionally well planned business model. It all has to stand out and also be within regulations. (We’ve started a pre-licensing package which is designed to impress, check it out if you haven’t already.)

    So once you’ve got your license and space, what are you saying to your customer that will drive them to choose your shop over a bog box guy or another dispensary down the street?

    In our previous blog we covered how to personalize the customer journey.

    We’ve even talked about achieving brand continuity.

    Now we will explore how to actually stand out, tell your story and be heard in an industry where every player is loud. (This isn’t a bad thing.) Cannabis trail blazers began the road to legalization, and still are, by being loud and shaking awake legislators who had a skewed view on marijuana and hemp. They were loud to get the laws changed, loud to demand decriminalization and loud to create social equity programs that actually help the community. Loud. This really isn’t a past -tense statement either, they’re still on it. The climate of cannabis is changing and it is because people got loud.

    When you’re in an industry that doesn’t allow traditional advertising, we find our own ways to get our story out there. Advertising and marketing campaigns are the normal “go-to” for a company to get visibility, but for us we have to go a different route. The next three points are great (and simple) ways for you to elevate your dispensary to the next level and stand out against the competition.

    1. Tell your story.

    As retail cannabis interior designers, we know that the way you present your story makes all the difference when attracting new customers to your store. Your “why” of getting into the industry really does matter and should shine through everything you do. Your story is unique and should be the undercurrent of how you stand out.


    A great way to get your message out there is through the design of your space. You’d be surprised how loudly art speaks. Incorporating special images or art features that tells your customer the why behind what you do is a powerful way to set your space apart. In this space we had the opportunity to show customers a sneak peek into the manufacturing process. A simple window and graphic creates a powerful connection between customer and product. I love seeing how things are being made.

    2. Hit the senses. Hard.

    When you’re selling something that a person puts into their body, you’ve got to be hyper aware of how it is perceived to the customer. (Think about food at a restaurant. It’s got to look pretty, smell great, be the right temp and restaurant ambience too.) Cannabis in all its consumption forms needs to follow suit.


    This is so important. Pay close attention to not only the visuals of your space (Lighting, clean merchandising, exciting wow moments, cohesive color palettes) but the sound and acoustics of your space. If it’s noisy and echoing, take the step of installing some panels. If you’re playing music in your space, does it fit with your feel? Touch and Smell are HUGE factors for cannabis shops. Can your customer smell what they’re buying? Try a diffuser style bud display. (Here’s a custom style that is eye catching and checks all the marks for standing out)

    3. Invest in the future

    This step takes a little foresight & entrepreneurial thinking.. How many retail cannabis dispensaries were actually prepared for the pandemic? I mean none of us were fully prepared mentally or physically, but how many stores already had online ordering and pickup in place and functional prior to 3/2020? I had clients back in 2019 who were installing drive up windows and pickup lockers. They weren’t planning for what actually happened, but they were thinking about how to make their customer’s experience significantly better. We are already seeing major changes in the way your clients shop and pay for items. Huge increases in home delivery for everything.


    Look for ways your customer’s journey could be improved and what tech is available to make it happen. Or what tech is on the way. QR codes are everywhere now, allowing a scannable grocery store style dispensary experience and then a secure and organized, simple checkout process.

    Humans purchase from people they know and trust. By making your brand a reflection of you, customers will feel like they know the person behind the logo and are buying from a friend.

    We always try to make each dispensary design unique to you and reflective of your story. This comes through in every design aspect we incorporate, from waiting room to checkout.