Now is the time to prepare for 420! After all, it is the most popular holiday recognized by the cannabis industry, and rightfully so. Each year, 420 brings with it unprecedented sales opportunities for dispensaries. This year, cannabis sales are expected to reach all-time high records.

With the holiday nearly upon us, now is the time to start getting your shop ready. In looking at 10 important things for dispensaries to prepare before 420,

Here are our top 10 takeaways to help you prepare for 420

  1. Get compliance locked in.
  2. Do marketing ahead of time.
  3. Go over your operations and SOPs.
  4. Schedule for success.
  5. Refresh your tech stack.
  6. Get everyone briefed on the 420 specials.
  7. Add extra budtender training to increase sales.
  8. Incentivize your budtenders to increase sales.
  9. Partner up with big-name cannabis brands for exposure.
  10. Listen to your budtenders.

To make sure your dispensary can maximize its profits this holiday season, keep reading to discover why each of these factors plays such a crucial role.

1 - Get compliance locked in.

As a dispensary owner, you should already have a pretty good grasp of compliance, but now is the time to get your budtenders on board. If you’re not sure how to get your compliance locked in, here are some tips.

Start your budtenders on training, training, and more training.

Especially for a super red-taped industry such as cannabis, understanding and complying with local and federal regulations is non-negotiable. Any minor compliance slip-up can get a dispensary closed, especially in the U.S., where cannabis is one of the most regulated industries.

Remember that compliance exists at both local and state levels and you and your budtenders need to understand the differences. You need to know the right way of doing things,, as well as the things that could get your shop doors closed. The best and most effective way to instill this into your team is with training and lots of it.

Understanding that the first line of communication with the consumer is your budtenders.

Another aspect of compliance is understanding that your budtenders are the first line of communication with the consumer. People will come back to your establishment if it’s safe, comfortable, and inviting, which ultimately comes back to your crew. In the same regard, it’s up to them to help maintain a smooth business environment by remaining compliant.

Consider it from a cost perspective.

The last thing you want to do after spending potentially millions of dollars to get a business license for your dispensary is to be quickly shut down for a compliance error. Considering it from a cost perspective, compliance should always be a top priority.

2 - Do marketing ahead of time.

If you really want to prepare for 420, you need to have a strong foundation for your sales this holiday season. A critical building block in the world of marketing is brand awareness. Connect with like-minded cannabis enthusiasts and potential clients by having fun with your brand and getting creative. Consider different social media platforms, including:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

Take a look at 7 ways to market your dispensary for more great tips.

420 tips

3 - Go over your operations and SOPs.

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are critical to the functionality of any dispensary. When it comes time to prepare for 420, having your operations and SOPs in place will be a game-changer. Ultimately, the goal of an SOP is to help your business run more smoothly and become more profitable.

Some everyday SOPs your dispensary should have in place include:

  • Opening SOPs
  • Closing SOPs
  • Customer check-in SOPs

But, with 420 right around the corner, it might be a good time to take a closer look at some of your existing SOPs and make any adjustments necessary to ensure a smooth holiday. Some of the SOPs you’ll want to pay close attention to as you prepare for 420 include:

  • Delivery SOPs
  • Stocking SOPs
  • Ordering SOPs

The National Cannabis Industry Association released an educational blog going over 9 standard operating procedures every dispensary should have. Take a look and make sure your shop is running as smoothly as it can be.

4 - Schedule for success.

It doesn’t matter how well you prep your team, market your shop, and stock your shelves — if 420 rolls around and you don’t have the staff to man the sales, you’re missing out. HUGE.

Scheduling can be a daunting task for any manager, but especially so for dispensaries as they prepare for 420. Thankfully, with cannabis scheduling software like KayaPush, you can schedule smarter and faster than ever.

If you have POS integration, you can pull various sales and labor reports from previous years from the software to help you forecast more accurately for anticipated sales this year. This information is critical in making sure you are scheduled for success this holiday.

5 - Refresh your tech stack.

420 is undoubtedly the busiest day of the year for dispensaries, so it’s crucial you have the tools and equipment necessary to succeed on the day itself.  If you’re wondering what dispensary technology you need to help you prepare for 420, here are a few ideas.

Time-tracking technology helps with compliance.

Using time-tracking technology helps make sure your employees are clocking in and out for their shifts and taking breaks to stay compliant. Get live alerts when employees are close to running overtime or require a break ASAP.

HR tools help you keep up-to-date.

Using HR tools ensures that your employee documents and licenses are up to date. Running a dispensary day to day entails enough juggling — don’t let this compliance concern add to your plate. Instead, seek refuge with HR tools to do the work for you.

POS integrations keep things running smoothly.

Double-checking that your POS is set up and integrated with the necessary track and trace technology tools is another way to ensure that you stay compliant.

6 - Get everyone briefed on the 420 specials.

Having specials is a great way to boost and leverage the 420 rush, but you should make sure your budtenders are versed on the specials and can move them like hotcakes. After all, what good is a special if no one ends up taking advantage of it?

Help your dispensary prepare for 420 by getting your budtenders up to speed on the specials you’ll be having, and don’t just wait until the day itself.

7 - Add extra budtender training to increase sales.

Much like compliance, one of the best ways to help boost your sales is by adding extra training for your budtenders ahead of time. Some of the top tips to sell more products include:

  • Allowing your budtenders to learn more about the products they are selling
  • Promoting friendly sales competitions
  • Rewarding your high selling budtenders with a sample product

Best of all, there are different technologies out there today that can help train your budtenders on your behalf. Check out tools like Toptender, which is an online program that rewards budtenders for completing training quizzes through the app.

8 - Incentivize your budtenders to increase sales.

If you want your budtenders to genuinely enjoy working at your dispensary, offering incentives should be a no-brainer. To prepare for 420, you’ll want to step up your incentives in order for your budtenders to be more motivated to:

  • Do a great job
  • Move more product
  • Explain products to customers

The top dispensaries and consultants in the world are always asked about the different ways to incentivize budtenders. Here are a few tips from the pros.

Educate budtenders on the products they are selling.

To learn more about what they are selling to customers on 420, ensure that your budtenders are sampling products. You can check your budtenders' understanding of a product by asking them detailed questions about it when sampling products. Otherwise, you might consider asking your budtenders to provide you with a short paragraph or brief about their experience with the product.

Always keep an open mind and remember that some budtenders love learning about products, but not all do. The critical aspect is that you provide the opportunity to those interested.

Run a friendly 420 sales competition.

As you prepare for 420 and figure out what your promotional items will be, consider developing a friendly sales competition along with it. For example, you can run a contest that runs through 420 and have a prize for the budtender who sells the most of the promotional items.

To avoid a sales competition becoming counterproductive in developing team spirit, ensure it is presented in a light-hearted manner. =

Giving budtenders the opportunity to earn a little more than their basic wages and tips  offers them a little extra push to get them more involved. The more engaged your budtenders are, the more successful your sales will be.

Give your budtenders samples as you prepare for 420.

Often distributors will provide dispensaries with samples of their products well ahead of 420. Use these samples as an opportunity to show your appreciation for budtenders. Some examples of times you could give out samples may be:

  • High sales day the week before 420
  • Going above and beyond with stocking
  • Doing a couple of extra things outside of the typical day to day tasks

9 - Partner up with big-name cannabis brands for exposure.

Patient appreciation days (PADs) are fundamental for all dispensary-cannabis company relationships. When you prepare for 420 this year, take advantage of brands who want to come out to your dispensary for budtender education. 

Consider having brands come out in the weeks leading up to this big holiday to help boost some of your budtender knowledge and, ultimately, sales on the day itself.

Otherwise, you can also consider partnering up with a big-name cannabis brand for the holiday. Having a big brand represent your dispensary will do wonders for your exposure. Even if they aren’t available for 420, see if you can capture them during the days leading to the holiday.

10 - Listen to your budtenders.

Last but not least, always listen to your budtenders. They’re the troops on the front line, after all. Unfortunately, although you may let your staff know that you welcome any and all feedback, you might get none. When you’re in a management position, sometimes people aren’t as eager to provide you with honest communication because they are worried about their jobs.

Still, you must find a way to understand some of the budtender troubles even if they aren’t saying them directly to you.

Do not micromanage your budtenders.

Micromanaging your budtenders is one of the biggest gripes they will have. Sure, when you prepare for 420, tensions can be high because the stakes are high. But remember that you have hired employees that you know and trust, which means you should trust them. Period. 

Trust the people who have shown responsibility and care about the shop to handle the thousands of dollars of product. They are going to do their jobs the right way. When you have terrific budtenders, you should be giving them the freedom to grow, which ultimately allows your shop to grow. 420 is the perfect day to see this in action.

Get budtenders involved in the business.

Hold meetings where you ask those interested in helping prepare for 420. Let them know they can help establish some of the promotions, incentives, whatever you’re willing to let them take the reins on.

Don’t forget that those budtenders who show up and are involved deserve to be recognized and rewarded. Don’t let them feel like their efforts are going unnoticed.

Final thoughts.

So, there you have it. These are our 10 important things for dispensaries to prepare before 420. Of course, the list might seem endless and may even go on well beyond this list, but it’s a great place to start!  If you are looking for more help navigating the big day, check out our free checklist below!

Increase 420 Sales