High Tunes: How Cannabis Dispensaries Choose Their Soundtracks And How They Impact Sales – Yahoo Finance


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By MERRY JANE’s Zack Ruskin, provided exclusively to Benzinga Cannabis. Illustration by Brian Blomerth.

What you hear when you’re shopping for cannabis may be more important than you think. For many dispensaries, the music playlists offer a window into an operation’s overall philosophy and ethos.

What’s the first thing you notice when you step inside a dispensary?

Once upon a time, it was likely the aroma of cannabis beckoning you in like Pepé Le Pew. Sadly, new regulations in states like California now stipulate that flowers and customers be kept at somewhat of a distance from one another. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect to smell a little something, but the overpowering aroma of quality cannabis isn’t wafting out the door like it used to.

Perhaps your focus goes immediately to the décor, be it an upscale, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) Store aesthetic or the nature-laden coffee shop vibes found in businesses like San Francisco’s Grass Roots. The way a dispensary’s counter and customer flow are arranged are things one might scope out at first glance, but there’s another sense being triggered every time we visit our neighborhood pot shops, as well.

The importance of music to the retail experience is a well-documented phenomenon.

In 1999, researchers discovered that customers at a wine shop were more likely to purchase French wine when French music was played, but purchased more German wine when German music was on. Perhaps most intriguingly, these shoppers seemed to have no awareness of what was playing when later asked about their experiences. Other research has further legitimized the hypothesis that music may have a tangible effect on our purchasing habits — whether we realize it or not.

Over 20 years earlier, business professor Philip Kotler gave a name to the concept of curating a retail experience through sensory manipulation,

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