There’s no rule that owning a pot store will automatically equal financial success: if you’ve recently opened a dispensary and you’re counting down the days until you can invite your controlling father over for dinner and push him off the diving board into your Scrooge McDuck vault of money, don’t hold your breath unless you’re willing to put in lots of hard work. Building a marijuana business – like any business – takes time, effort, and luck. But, most of all, it takes customers. And following up in a timely manner encourages those customers to return.
Follow-up: What does it entail?
The great thing about follow-up is that’s it’s an easy way to show your customers you care. You don’t need to follow-up every few days (that may backfire on you) or show up on their front porch with a bottle of wine and a bouquet of marijuana flowers, but check in with your customers after they’ve stopped in. If you recommended a strain, call to see how they liked it. If you come across information you know of interest to them (a new topical product great for eczema, for instance), call them and let them know. If they were looking for tinctures and you were all out, call them to tell them that you’ve restocked as soon as you do.
Timing is important though: following up two months after they’ve patronized your shop doesn’t show much initiative. But too much too soon is also risky: calling them an hour after they leave the store is a little less “business owner” and a little more “stalker.” Day and time can be influential as well: contact people when they’re more likely to have a moment to speak with you and refrain from calling them on Monday mornings at eight a.m. as they ready their five children for school.
You can follow-up by email or text in addition or as an alternative to phone
Many of your customers probably prefer this as the telephone grows more obsolete. Communicating with a phone call? How quaint! Why don’t you just send a telegram? We hope you enjoyed our weed. <STOP> Please like us on Facebook. <STOP>
Reaching the Elusive Patron
No matter how or when you follow-up, not every customer will prove receptive to your efforts. But you improve your odds if you keep customer service at the forefront. So, be polite even with customers who are rude or silent – though it’s difficult, it’s best not to take these things personally. It’s also important to remember that follow-up, while it involves some persistency, can be too much of a good thing: if you contact a customer day after day, they might be unlikely to return to your shop because they think you want to date them (on the flipside, if they want to date you, then everyday follow-up may be recommended).
You should customize how you go about follow-up too; does your elderly patron care that you’re having a sale on your most potent dabs? Probably not. Are they interested in the CBD infused coffee you recently began selling? Maybe.
Loyalty Among Pot Shoppers
Certain industries are conducive to loyalty: bars, for instance, are breeding grounds for return clientele. Patrons come in, they establish relationships with the people that work there, and they return as part of their after-work or night-on-the-town routine. Businesses that sell products without the added benefit of socialization experience less loyalty: people believe they can get what they’re after no matter where they go.
One way to help with customer retention is through a loyalty program. A survey conducted by Marijuana Business Daily found that 40 percent of customers want a program to reward them for their loyalty.
Other things that keep customers happy: patient and informative budtenders, high quality without high prices, and – wait for it – following up in a timely manner
Follow-up is more important in businesses where customers tend to go elsewhere – and lots of marijuana shoppers do indeed shop around for the best buds and the best deals.
If you happen to have the corner on the market – you’re the only marijuana store in town – don’t assume that follow-up is unnecessary. Some customers view that as taking them for granted. And, if they think you don’t appreciate them or their money, they’ll gladly take their business elsewhere.
Knowing Thy Customer
It’s only natural to have a preconceived idea of who makes up your target audience: perhaps you think cannabis is a young person’s game or purely for people who wear snowcaps when its seventy degrees outside. But your target audience is much broader: it’s everyone. The typical marijuana shopper: anyone.
In fact, according to the company Headset (which provides intel for the cannabis industry), the average loyal marijuana customer is 37.6 years of age. While a younger demographic – those between 25 and 29 – make up the highest percentage of users, they don’t spend as much money or stick with the same dispensary as often. Older people tend to have more disposable income than younger ones; thus, they tend to make bigger purchases at dispensaries. They’re also more likely to take part in loyalty programs, which keeps them returning to you.
Headset reports that the average user in their 20s spends 627 dollars a year on marijuana while the average user in their 50s spends 823 dollars a year
There is cap, however: only 1.25 percent of loyal marijuana customers were between the ages of 70 and 99. Yet, as more people ditch their prescription drugs for plant-based ones, there’s a good chance that will change.
Customer service is vital to any business even if you’re selling hash like hotcakes. The pot industry is, as of now, saturated in many areas and in order to draw customers in, you must stand out. Following up with them is a simple way to do this. People want to feel special: make them feel this way and they’ll return the favor.