Imagine finessing a blank slate into the cannabis store of your dreams day in and day out. That's become the reality of guest speaker Mike Wilson, space converter extraordinaire - and it could be yours too.
Mike is the founder and president of Temeka Group, a commercial design business for retail and cannabis shops, and Anami Tech, a project management software tool built to help dispensary owners succeed.
Through both, he's seen great success, building stores in almost every mall in America over the last 31 years. From the Lakers fan store to huge cannabis retail stores, he's the authority in the uprising of stylish and intuitive cannabis shops wherever they're legal.
In this podcast-turned-article, Mike will share his top tips with you, so you can develop and grow your dream cannabis dispensary without making the same mistakes many new canna-business owners do. You won't want to miss these:
It's common knowledge that planning is paramount for success - but Mike covers some lesser considered pillars for us to ponder. He covered a lot, but these were our top 4 favourite unexpected pre-plan pieces.
This was news to me, Mike informed us that the government often tries to push dispensaries into industrial spaces, creating an extra design step to convert that space into a palatable retail area. He warned that this move can cost dispensary hopefuls more money and time due to the difficulty of the development of the space. Instead of troubling yourself with these large-scale projects, he recommends you aim to own a cannabis store in high-traffic areas instead.
This was a wise one - Mike advises that dispensary owners should try not to let the hype seduce you into entering a big city's booming dispensary market - it may be fun, but it's cutthroat.
I think it's about not getting caught up into the game of having [a dispensary] in the saturated market, because when you have 20, 30, 40 licenses in that city, that's a very competitive market - versus being alone with minimal competition.
Instead, stay grounded and think ahead at the potential instead; get strategic, what is coming down the road? Being able to predict the trends in a fast-growing legalization sweep is key. And rooting yourself in a state without much competition will give you the upper hand - brilliant!
Mike knows that people want a comprehensive shopping experience. They don't want lineups, confusing/overwhelming options, and difficult technology. Therefore he advices that you ensure you're well-staffed ,and have enough POS systems on the floor to work through the crowd productively, while providing other educational outlets (both with automated programs and human instruction) to those not ready to check out right away.
For those who know exactly what they want, set up an express window, so they can be in and out. Most customers best enjoy the hybridization of checkout counters (think donut shops) and interactive employee-client floor consultations (think Apple Stores). A very clever way to increase sales, and elevate customer experience!
Mike and his team come from a rich background, building jewellery stores - thus he is aware of the importance of store security. The cannabis industry, unfortunately, attracts a lot of theft since the merchandise is small and the value high, so be sure to have a secure safe for money and locked away products.
Mike advice's that store owners don't skimp on cameras and security. He also advises that store owners take security into consideration when building out their dispensary - Mike an his team are able to provide blue print suggestions that will decrease theft by strategically positioning high ticket items within the space.
Being exactly what your customers need will get you ahead in the cannabis dispensary business, despite that being a tall order. Know your regulars' names and have their orders ready with a smile. Recognize novices who look lost and lead them to helpful digital consultations/guides first (so they gain base knowledge and confidence before approaching a human with their questions, which can sometimes be embarrassing and intimidating as a beginner).
Understand that some customers need speed while others need patience, and you must make both options visibly available to them. Know your market demographic in the area and design branding for them and their needs.
This "Econo line" that we're talking about is just making it easier for the consumer - there's a lot of hype [around it ] in these new states.
Wise and unexpected - Mike encourages dispensary owners to do their part to normalize the cannabis industry by choosing designs and products that can ease the hesitant onlooker.
This means presenting the shop and staff in a professional manner and including non-intimidating products like infused cookies and candy for those not yet ready to see actual flower/bud in all its glory. Folks are still easing into this world, and we don't want to perpetuate negative stereotypes that hinder progress or scare them away.
Most importantly, don't be proud or stubborn; ask for help and guidance from the community when you need it. The cannabis industry is there to support each other and grow together. You don't have to figure it all out on your own, and it will save you plenty of costly trial and error.
At the end of the day, try to be the customer. Move through the flow of the store to experience what they will. Is there a blockage? Could something be made more clear? They should intuitively move through the store, finding the station they need easily. Be attentive to consumer needs on small and large scales and use support systems like software, design pros, accountants, communal resources, etc, to elevate your services and cannabis dispensary.
Finesse like MVP Mike Wilson and grow the cannabis dispensary of your dreams!
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