Customer loyalty is the Holy Grail of any business: nobody wants a patron to purchase their products once and then disappear into the night (or, worse, into the dispensary down the street). They want customers to be like boomerangs: they keep coming back for more. One of the best ways to perpetuate customer loyalty is with programs that reward devotion – a “love us” and “we’ll love you back” idea. For areas where medicinal and recreational marijuana is legal, the market is often saturated: pot shops are a dime bag a dozen. This make a regular consumer that much more important.

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What Makes Customers Loyal

A business relationship, like many relationships, comes down to how you make the other person feel about themselves. If a patron feels like they’re appreciated, like their business is important, like they’re getting a good deal on quality product, they’ll keep walking through your doors. The other things that help keep customers loyal? A social media presence (everyone’s on social media…even our grandparents), performing better than the competition, and innovation – if you’re only offering sugar-laden edibles while other places are offering edibles in a wide-range of foods, you’ll lose certain clientele. The final thing that makes customers more loyal is your ability to put a face to your company.

Shoppers have a much easier time breaking up with businesses than they do with people

Sorry, Walmart, it’s me not you but it’s really you. If you offer a warm and inviting experience, your customers will feel a kinship with your company. And that makes it harder for them to leave.

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The Benefits of a Customer Loyalty Program

Listening creates loyaltyOf course, customer loyalty programs help too – give back to the people that give to you. They encourage repeat patronage and speak to customers where they’ll listen most: through their wallets. Other benefits of customer loyalty programs include:

  • They save you money in the long run – according to Forbes, it’s seven times cheaper to keep an existing customer than find a new one.
  • They boost your reputation – you show your customers that you value them.
  • They reward your patrons for spending money.
  • They offer market research – when you understand the purchasing patterns of your clientele, you can tweak your marketing approach to one that speaks to those patterns.
  • They give you flexibility – customer loyalty reward programs can vary in what those rewards entail – previews of new product before they’re available to the public, discounts, free samples, etc.
  • They’re self-sustaining – sure, it takes some initial work on your part, but after you’ve set your program up, it works nearly automatically.
  • They keep your customers happy.
  • They prevent your customers from leaving your shop and going to a shop that offers them the rewards program they covet.

Customer Loyalty Software for the Pot Industry

The pot industry has boomed in recent years and, if the trend continues, we’ve only seen the beginning: the scene in the final episode of the TV show Weeds features the characters purchasing marijuana cigarettes from convenience stores in the same manner they’d purchase a pack of Benson and Hedges, a reality that might not be that far off.

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With this boom is the accompanying entrepreneurship: there’s a business for everything cannabis, including customer loyalty programs

According to Forbes, a new type of computer software aims to improve the efficiency of customer loyalty programs in pot shops. A software called Baker is designed to help dispensary owners view sales analytics, allow customers to order products for pickup, and receive targeted text messages. Their mission statement is simple: a better connection with your customers keeps them happy and loyal. We build smart products to help you create a better shopping experience, making it easy to grow your business. The software was developed out of need – people looking for marijuana come in and buy but without much else. Sellers don’t always know who they are (aside from the basics), what products they’re after, or what kind of things would encourage them to return. Thus, Baker aims to remedy this by turning “anonymous” customers into repeat ones. Already in several dozen dispensaries in a handful of states, the way Baker Espionageworks is easy: customers are given the option to register for the customer loyalty program via iPads placed inside the shop. They can sign up for alerts regarding their favorite product, bank points for discounts on future purchases, and enter raffles. Customers can also preorder products online and then pick them up in person as marijuana can’t be shipped through the mail. People try it, naturally, but they get caught: per the Weed Blog,

US Postal Service marijuana seizures have increased over 400 percent in the last decade

Still, a legitimate dispensary won’t risk sending you marijuana via a postal worker or a carrier pigeon or anyone else, not unless they want to risk their license.

Customer Loyalty Programs and Privacy

Though the perception of weed has changed and continues to do so, not everyone wants to advertise that they consume cannabis – some people fear their jobs; others, their parents. The Baker software takes this into consideration and tracks customers by first name only as well as cell phone number. For the shop owner, this is beneficial: it gives customers peace of mind while giving you the ability to track their purchases. This empowers you to send the right emails and text messages. If you know a customer is interested in Harlequin to help quiet their anxiety, you won’t send them emails announcing a sale on high THC strains prone to inducing paranoia. If you know a customer is interested in patches, you won’t send them emails announcing your latest dabs. If you know a customer only buys strains dominated by sativa, you won’t send them emails all about indica. In other words, you won’t waste their time and that, in part, keeps you from wasting your opportunity to turn them from a one-time shopper into a lifelong linger.