How to Maximize Future Sales With a 420 Sales Retrospective

Kenny Hall
May 1, 2024

Ah, 420. For some people, it’s the equivalent of the Super Bowl, Thanksgiving, and the Fourth of July all rolled up into one dank holiday. For businesses and consumers alike, 420 sales are a cornerstone of the celebrations. In fact, in 2024 alone, dispensaries in the US and Canada reported more than $83M in sales on April 20, with New York state seeing a 350% increase compared to a standard Saturday.

While the national market rose from $154.4M in 2022 to $181.4M in 2024, sales at individual stores actually declined over the same period. On 420 2022, the average sales per store in the US was $13.8K; however, in 2024, that number dropped to $10.3K. While that might sound offputting, it’s simply a sign of increased competition as the market continues to expand.

With that in mind, it’s important to plan any sales event in advance to maximize your store’s profits on the biggest shopping day of the year. With April 20 falling on Easter Sunday in 2025, it’s likely to be another big weekend for the industry. The best way to get ready is by conducting a 420 sales retrospective to figure out what went right, what went wrong, and what can be improved going forward.

How Can Dispensaries Effectively Analyze 420 Sales Performance?

The first step towards planning your next 420 event is to properly analyze your previous one. Thankfully, the practice of business analysis is incredibly well-developed and any business should already have the means for doing this. Actions such as sales data collection and segmentation, analysis and comparison of sales and inventory with previous periods, and even customer feedback can all help identify major points for consideration.

A collection of cannabis flower line the shelf of a dispensary on 420.

What Are the Benefits of Conducting a Sales Retrospective?

The benefits of running any sales retrospective should be evident; how else will you know if it went well? While just seeing a spike in sales might be enough for some businesses, many owners want to know why there was a spike. Sure, the holiday (especially falling on a Saturday) helped, but what could you have done better? After all, 420 happens every year, and next year is another opportunity to rake in the green.

No two dispensaries are the same. Some might have younger clients who prefer pre-rolls and vapes over loose flower while others might cater more towards medical patients with a higher demand for low-THC-high-CBD products. Knowing what you sold and to whom is just as important (arguably even more so) than simply knowing that the sales increased. Remember, looking backward is just as important as planning ahead.

What Are the Best Practices for Conducting a Post-420 Sales Retrospective?

The tools and techniques used to perform a 420 retrospective are similar to those used in any other sales evaluation. Let’s walk through the 5 steps of a 420 sales retrospective.

1. Review 420 Sales Goals

What were your exact goals for the sale? Sure, “make more money,” but that’s the case literally every day that you open your doors. What specific goals did you have in mind? Were you trying to attract new customers? Was your goal to sell out some backstock? Maybe to test the popularity of a new product? To play around with a new price point or upselling techniques?

There are hundreds of ways to structure a sale, and your exact goals will determine what’s best for you. For example, let’s say your goal was to sell some backstock of flower. Further, let’s say that you saw increased sales on 420, but the majority of that came from edibles or vapes. Was your sale “successful”? That very much depends on how you define success in any context.

Only by setting and evaluating concrete goals can you assess the success of any sales event.

Two customers are paying for their cannabis purchase at a dispensary on 420.

2. Collect Data and Feedback

This is the single most important step in the whole process. Without good, robust data, any evaluation is little more than blind speculation. If properly set up, your POS software should be one of your most valuable tools in evaluating your sales. It should have data on sales volume, revenue, product types, customer demographics, and any other stats that you might find relevant. The often burdensome record-keeping that the cannabis industry faces can be a major benefit for data collection.

Don’t neglect the importance of good old-fashioned customer surveys, either. After all, they’re the ones giving you money. Questions like “What brought you in today?” or “How much do you normally spend in a dispensary?” can all help paint a picture of your customers’ habits and help you tailor future sales to your most loyal fans.

3. Analyze the Data

Once you’ve got all that data, you’ll need to analyze it. This can be tricky without a business or statistics background, but there are some very powerful cannabis reporting tools out there that can help you make the most of all those numbers.

One of the most important things that you can do when evaluating sales data is to break your revenue down into segments like product categories (flower, edibles, concentrates), brands, customer demographics (age, gender, location), and sales channels (in-store, online).

They say “The customer is always right.” If your customers are going crazy for your edibles and pre-rolls, then stock up more on those. If all you sold were sativas on a sunny Saturday, keep that in mind for next year.

A team of executives are in a board room conducting a 420 sales retrospective.

4. Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

A key point in securing future success is reviewing pitfalls and errors. Below are some questions that you need to ask yourself, and be honest with your answers because this year’s pitfalls can help you improve next year.

  • Did you have a massive line out the door but no one to manage the crowd? 
  • Did people need help finding what they were looking for? 
  • Did half your staff call in sick the morning of? 
  • Were you short-staffed due to underscheduling? 
  • Did you sell out of a product within the first hour? 
  • Did you expose yourself to any security risks?
  • Did you lose money on any of your promotions?
  • Have you noticed an influx of new customers after 420? 

Jot down these questions, review them with your team, and incorporate them into the next step. 

The best way to avoid future mistakes is to use a 420 planning checklist. You can use an existing template or create your own based on this year’s mistakes and areas of improvement. Maybe next year, you need to hire a security guard or temp workers, or maybe you need to start promoting your sales earlier. 

A banner ad encouraging readers to download 6 420 checklists.

5. Actionable Insights and Strategic Planning

The last step of the 420 retro is always the hardest and will vary wildly depending on your specific situation and goals. Just because you had a good day at the register doesn’t mean that your promotions were the reason. Take the questions and answers from the previous step and start analyzing trends. Did you sell what you wanted to sell? How’s your inventory looking? What goals did you reach, and what goals did you miss? The final step in a successful 420 retrospective is to pull some actionable insights from that data and make a plan to improve next year. 

To simplify the process, you can break it down into categories like:

  • Identify top sellers: What products sold and were requested the most? Your POS and budtenders are your best resources to gather this info. Compile a list and ensure you are stocked up next year.
  • Improve your promotions: Which 420 deals generated the most revenue? Then, compare those deals with the ones that moved the most products. This will help you optimize your sales next year. You should also identify promos that were not profitable. 
  • Optimize staffing levels: 420 is the busiest day of the year. How did you manage? Were you overstaffed or understaffed at any point during the weekend? Track trends to optimize your labor costs for next year, or leverage a smart scheduling platform like KayaPush, which will do the analysis for you and use AI forecasting to schedule your team. 

Wrapping Up the 420 Sales Rush

At the end of the day, 420 sales are no different than any other promotional event. Plan ahead, think things through, and then look back at the numbers afterward. Only by taking a complete retrospective can you hope to learn from your experience and come back better next year. Book a free demo to get started on optimizing your dispensary operations all year round!

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May 2024


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