Online ordering. Personalized recommendations based on shopping habits. Contactless shopping and payment. Familiar self-checkout options.
And that’s just a straightforward visit to the grocery store. Could you have imagined that level of convenience and predictability twenty years ago? Ten years ago?
Modern consumers are tech-savvy, and they’ve demanded more personalized and convenient shopping experiences for years. In 2020, in response to a life-altering pandemic, they now seek safe, contactless self-checkout and shopping experiences on top of everything else. Retail verticals everywhere are taking notice—including cannabis.
Dispensaries are extremely different from grocery stores, mostly because of their relative novelty (and, of course, their age-gated product selection). Nevertheless, cannabis consumers are beginning to expect the same level of convenience and personalization from dispensaries that is offered to them at so many other touchpoints in their lives.
The cannabis industry is full of revolutionary thinkers and early adopters, but it’s past time to meet customers where they are and keep stride with technological developments in other sectors. If they don’t, dispensaries risk losing business and playing catch-up for years to come.
Cannabis deliveries and curbside pickup spiked in legal markets at the beginning of the pandemic, but research conducted by Akerna indicated customers eagerly returned to dispensary sales floors once they reopened—even with rules spanning mask use, physical distancing, and limits on the number of in-store shoppers. Why? It’s all in the experience. Delivery and curbside pickup are sanitized, less-personal versions of the budtender interactions and product discovery that make dispensary visits such pleasant experiences.
Even though sales leveled off from panic-shopping peaks in March and May, we’re still seeing an average basket size—that is, average purchase amount—that is higher than before the pandemic shutdown. The difference is, consumers just aren’t visiting dispensaries as often as they were before. Now,