Supporting Cannabis Retailer Success | 4 Expert Tips

The cannabis retail industry’s success has been massively fuelled by strong product knowledge, effective branding, compliance with legal and regulatory landscapes, and effective management of financial resources. 

In a recent episode of the Kaya Cast podcast, Tom Mulhern was joined by Gary Cohen to share his experience on how cannabis retailers can develop their brands and stand out in the cannatech industry. Gary Cohen is a leading figure in the cannabis retail industry known for his expertise in helping retailers navigate the complex world of cannabis compliance and operations. 

As the CEO of Cova, an award-winning dispensary software and POS system in North America, Gary has worked with nearly 2,000 dispensary operators from coast to coast. He leverages his industry knowledge and experience to provide the support dispensary owners need to get a license, pass inspection, launch a store, and improve operations. Gary has played a key role in making Cova the fastest-growing software solutions company in the history of legal cannabis. 

A woman who works for a cannabis retailer smiling while on a call.

4 Expert Tips on Building Successful Cannabis Retail Services

Gary discussed four key pillars to success in the dispensary business:

1. Creating an exceptional customer experience

A cannabis retailer must create a memorable customer experience. This is achieved by ensuring customers are given all the necessary information they need, while creating an amiable atmosphere. Creating an exceptional customer experience is important for the success of any business – but especially in the cannabis industry, because of stigmas and its novelty. A good customer experience can lead to customer satisfaction, repeat business, and word-of-mouth advertising. 

2. Delivering on brand promises

A successful retailer should consistently train their employees on how to deliver brand promises and personify the brand. What are your company values? Do you have a specific way of greeting each customer? Are your budtenders educators or is your dispensary more of a self-guided experience? This maintains consistency and builds customer trust. Customers expect a consistent service and experience each time they visit. If customer experiences vary widely from one visit to the next, it can lead to frustration and a lack of trust.

"It is up to you to manage, reinforce, and train on what your brand is about. Don't make assumptions.”

3. A sustainable business model is a must for cannabis retailers

A sustainable business is always looking ahead. How will what we do today impact tomorrow? That’s why it is important to avoid relying on discounting as a strategy, since this can lead to a downward spiral of decreasing prices and profitability.

If you live by price, you die by price.” 

Retailers should aim to integrate sustainable models for their services. As a cannabis business owner, you want to make sure that the way you handle transactions and sell products is not only good for your customers and business, but also in compliance with the law. Ensure that you are leveraging the right tools that can help you stay compliant and abide by the, always changing, legal requirements. 

For example, a dispensary POS system allows you to manage inventory, streamline sales, verify a customer's age, and even calculate the amount of THC in a cannabis product. This helps to prevent unintentional legal violations and allows you to concentrate on developing more effective marketing techniques and enhancing customer satisfaction. 

A successful cannabis company must ensure they have a consistent and sustainable business model, because you never know what the future holds. 

A customer checking out at a cannabis retailer.

4. Understanding the Legal Landscapes

The cannabis industry has some big risks and challenges, like getting shut down or having products seized if you don't follow the law. Gary advises to always abide by the law and avoid loopholes, like encouraging customers to come back after 15 minutes so that you can sell above the legal amount. The short-turn gain is not worth the risk. Making even the smallest and most innocent mistake could cost you fines – or even your business. It's important to stay compliant to avoid these issues.

The industry also operates in a complex regulatory environment with different laws at the state and federal levels. Businesses in the cannabis industry need a compliant system that provides safeguards to ensure standards and regulations are met, along with keeping records and reports.

“In any other industry, a mistake in your inventory, accounts, or reports can get you fined. But in this industry, that's ground for game over. You lose your business."

Becoming a business owner is exciting, but in the cannabis industry, things can get complicated. By employing Gary’s tips, you can grow a successful and compliant cannabis business. Catch up on the rest of the conversation on the Kaya Cast podcast where Gary discusses brand USP (unique selling position), building visibility, and creating a seamless system. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on your favorite app, and check out all the great episodes that can help you grow and launch your cannabiz.

Promotion for the Kaya Cast cannabis podcast, which discusses tips for cannabis retailer success.

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