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5 Ways to Create a Better Cannabis Customer Experience

The secret behind increasing customer loyalty and sales.


A cannabis dispensary isn’t just a place where people can go to get legal marijuana. A visit to a dispensary should be more than just a quick transaction. It should be about the customer experience and a richness in the interactions you cultivate with each and every person your dispensary engages. If “customer experience” isn’t something you’ve thought about in terms of your dispensary, you could be missing out on an opportunity to increase customer loyalty and sales.

Heath Korvola | Getty Images

What is the customer experience?

Customer experience, sometimes referred to as CX in business circles, describes all the interactions between a customer and an organization throughout their business relationship. The 2016 Digital Trends report is put together each year by Ecoconsultancy and Adobe, which highlights key trends, challenges and opportunities that companies trying to market their product should be aware of.  According to last year’s report, there are a few major interactions that Customer Experience embodies:

  • Awareness: when a customer becomes informed about your existence as a cannabis brand
  • Discovery: when your potential customer starts to find out what you have available that they may want or need
  • Cultivation: when you begin to build that important customer rapport that will lead to a sale
  • Advocacy: when you help the potential customer see the value that your product or service can provide for their life
  • Purchases and service: the point where you make a sale to your customer and become an official provider to them for cannabis

How can your dispensary cultivate your customer experience?

1. Build awareness of your dispensary 

In order to get someone’s business, they need to be aware of you in the first place. There are a number of ways to build awareness with your potential dispensary client.  These include:

  • An effective social media and content strategy
  • Engaging in public forums and where possible, public events
  • Registering your brand with cannabis-specific directories
  • Engaging in thoughtful partnerships with cannabis promoting organizations through sponsorships
  • Targeted marketing to niche audiences

2. Help clients discover you

So, they may have noticed you, but they may not be fully on-board with cannabis or what you have to offer. A lot of first-time cannabis users will have a lot of curiosity around what specific cannabis products can do for them. When you take the opportunity to integrate thoughtful and thorough cannabis education into their discovery phase, through your website, social media, and in-store materials, you can get ahead of that curiosity and bring them to action.

3. Cultivate that trust

Basic business and the ability to grow your company lies in the ability to build trust with your potential client, and have them see the value that they play in your life. Simply, pay attention to your customer, whatever level they are in their cannabis journey, and be available to them. Cannabis can be a new, and intimidating journey, and having a helpful and friendly guide through the cannabis experience is essential for someone to want to engage with a marijuana retail store.

4. Advocate for your customer’s needs

When you are working with someone interested to purchase cannabis, whether it’s their first time or not, don’t just assume they’ll know what they are looking for. When you’ve taken the time to create an effectively trained budtender team, your customer service approach becomes the advocate for customer’s needs. Understand what your customer is looking for in their marijuana retail experience. What are they looking for in a marijuana product? How can your advanced strain knowledge be the key to enhancing their experience with cannabis?

5. Make sure they return

You’ve done all the hard work to engage your prospective clients. You’ve built trust and they are confident in what your dispensary has to offer them and the role your products will play in their lives. The customer experiences don’t just stop at the point of sale. The point of sale is that critical time to build that customer experience and ensure that they not only come back to you but keep coming back to you. A dispensary client’s value shouldn’t be measured on that initial purchase, but the likelihood they’ll come back to you, the goal to have them purchase more from you, and to have them coming back time and time again. This is the lifetime value of your customer. How can you build lifetime value of your customer into their dispensary customer experience? Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a loyalty program where there is some incentive to make X amount of purchases in order to get something for free;
  • Provide “swag” that will help them value your brand and develop your brand recognition. Where you can, include extras in their sale;
  • Get personal. People love it when you take the time to learn their first name and some details about them. Use their name in your interactions to set that tone of familiarity.
  • Again, make yourself available. Let your customer know that your dispensary is there for them for any questions or needs for further products.
  • Invest in their experience by putting yourselves in their shoes at every step of the way