Beyond the Bud: How Upselling and Cross-Selling Can Elevate Your Dispensary

A.W. Naves
June 25, 2024

In a market as competitive as the cannabis industry, dispensaries should leverage every opportunity to maximize sales and enhance customer satisfaction. Two aggressive strategies that can help elevate your dispensary above the competition are upselling and cross-selling. Using these techniques can increase revenue, improve customer experiences, and achieve a loyal customer base. Let’s dive into what upselling and cross-selling are and some practical tips on how to employ each. 

What Is Upselling?

Upselling is a sales method where the seller recommends that a customer purchase a higher-end product or an upgraded version of the product they are considering. This strategy is designed to increase each transaction’s value by offering a premium option with greater benefits or features. Upselling might involve suggesting a higher potency strain of cannabis, a larger quantity, or a more sophisticated consumption accessory.

A budtender is smiling and laughing while upselling a product to a customer.

How to Upsell

Learning how to upsell, in addition to employing proven pricing strategies, will help boost profits and customer satisfaction. To upsell products, you will want to focus on the customer's needs and preferences. Ask questions about their past experiences, desired effects, and consumption methods to tailor your suggestions to an individual customer’s wants and needs. Armed with this information, you can suggest a higher-end product that will provide greater benefits.


One thing to note is that it is important that you don’t come across as pushy when upselling to your patrons. Customers tend to be more receptive to suggestions when they feel they are being guided rather than pressured. You will want to only recommend products that you feel might enhance the customer's experience. Emphasize the value proposition of the upsell. This could be in terms of quality, potency, convenience, or any other factor that adds tangible value to the customer.

Examples of Dispensary Upselling Opportunities

  • Premium Edibles and Concentrates: Suggesting a higher-quality edible or a more potent concentrate can be a great upsell opportunity. Customers looking for a stronger or more refined experience may appreciate the recommendation.
  • Top-Shelf Accessories: Upsell premium accessories like vaporizers, glassware, or grinders that offer better performance and durability compared to standard options.
  • Upsized Portions: For regular customers recommend larger quantities of the same product. For instance, if a customer frequently buys singular pre-rolls, suggest they consider a five-pack for better value.
  • Higher Potency Flower Strains: For customers seeking stronger effects, suggest strains with higher THC content or more pronounced terpene profiles. Customers seeking quality over price will appreciate being guided toward products they may have overlooked.

What Is Cross-Selling?

Cross-selling is a sales method where the seller recommends additional products or services related to the item the customer wants to purchase. The goal is to enhance the overall value of the purchase by offering additional items that complement the main product. Cross-selling might involve recommending rolling papers with flower purchases or pairing edibles with drinks.

Shelves at a cannabis dispensary with a diverse range of products, including oils and creams.

How to Cross-Sell

Effective cross-selling requires a strategic approach that identifies and highlights complementary products. You’ll want to remember that your ability to cross-sell is only as good as your team. It is wise to train your budtenders to recognize products that pair well together. Your staff will be hard-pressed to cross-sell a bong to a customer purchasing edibles. More importantly, they will annoy customers with inappropriate sales tactics, costing you repeat business.


There are also some ways to easily cross-sell your cannabis products without the direct influence of your staff. You can create bundles of corresponding products and offer them at a discounted rate. You might also offer promotional deals that encourage cross-selling.

Examples of Dispensary Cross-Selling Opportunities

  • Pairing Flower with Rolling Papers or Bongs: Customers purchasing flower might also need rolling papers or a bong. Offering these items together can enhance their consumption experience.
  •  Munchies with Edibles: Suggest snacks or drinks that pair well with edibles, enhancing the overall enjoyment of the product.
  •  Topical Creams with Pain Relief Flower: For customers seeking pain relief, recommend a combination of topical creams and relevant flower strains for a more comprehensive solution.

Cross-Selling vs. Upselling: Which Strategy Should You Use?

Choosing between cross-selling and upselling for your cannabis dispensary depends on your specific business goals and customer needs. Upselling is ideal for maximizing revenue per transaction by offering higher-end products or upgrades. This is great for increasing the average order value and works well when customers are looking for a more potent experience or premium products.


Cross-selling, on the other hand, enhances the overall shopping experience by suggesting complementary products and encouraging customers to purchase additional items. This approach is great for improving customer satisfaction and fostering loyalty among customers who appreciate the more enhanced experience they receive — while still boosting profits and revenue per transaction. 


In general, neither strategy is inherently better than the other; both can be highly effective when used appropriately. The best approach is to listen to the customer’s needs to understand which approach, if either, you should use. Customers looking for an elevated experience will appreciate an upsell, while a novice user will appreciate a cross-sell much more. Both can elevate the shopping experience and build customer loyalty, but only when used appropriately. A balanced approach that incorporates both strategies as needed will yield the best results and highest profits.

A customer is tapping her credit card on a POS machine to make a purchase at a dispensary.

How Cross-Selling and Upselling Enhance the Customer Experience

Cross-selling and upselling are not just about increasing sales; they also enhance the customer experience by providing personalized recommendations that add value. These strategies can build customer loyalty and lead to repeat business by ensuring that customers feel understood and satisfied with their purchases. When customers see that your dispensary is committed to meeting their needs and enhancing their experience, they are more likely to return and recommend your business to others.


Knowing about cross-selling vs. upselling strategies and utilizing them in your dispensary can significantly elevate your business. By understanding the nuances of these techniques and training your staff to implement them effectively, you can boost your sales, enhance customer satisfaction, and build a loyal customer base.


Want to learn more about how to streamline your dispensary operations and minimize costs? Book a demo with KayaPush today.

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