In the competitive cannabis industry, customer experience is key for growth and survival. Speed up transaction times to provide an enhanced customer experience, and increase sales.
Though it is young, the cannabis retail industry is growing at a rapid rate. National marijuana sales are expected to rise from this year’s forecasted sales of $11 billion, to $21 billion in 2021. As the sales grow over the coming years, so too will the number of dispensaries...and the number of competitors. In the face of increased competition, the key to attracting and keeping a solid customer base is through customer experience.
Enhancing your dispensary’s customer experience can be achieved through revamping your store’s look and feel, or ongoing budtender customer service training. But these things take months to fulfill, and months to see an impact.
However, there is one factor of customer experience that technology can help you improve in a manner of weeks – faster transaction times.
Wait Time: A Major Factor in Customer Experience
It’s no surprise that in today’s fast-paced, digital world, customers expect to make quick and efficient purchases. In the one report, 86% of shoppers said they would avoid a store if they perceived it as having long lines. Additionally, 76% said they would move to a competitor if they thought that the wait would be shorter there.
Consistently having long wait times will drive even your most loyal customers to a nearby competitor. Your customers want little time between the moment they walk into your dispensary, and the moment they receive the service required to make their purchase. Fortunately, in an industry that has leapfrogged technology, there are there are several ways to increase operational efficiency and reduce transaction time.
The first attainable solution to long wait times is establishing a pre-order program, allowing your customers to place their orders prior to entering your store. The best pre-order programs implement the latest trend in customer efficiency – online ordering.
Loyal and new customers, alike, love online ordering because they can skip the line and reduce the time spent on their purchases. They’ve already made their selections, so there is no need for them to stand behind customers who are still deciding what to buy. This gives your online orderers the satisfaction of knowing that the product they ordered will not be out of stock, and will be available when they arrive in store.
To improve the efficiency of your pre-order program, designate a staff member for preparing to and checking out online orders. This frees your budtenders to focus their attention on providing quality customer service to the patients seeking their personalized recommendations and product knowledge.
For customers that prefer online product research, as opposed to with a budtender, an online menu allows them to explore your in-stock products. Certain inventory and online ordering menu integrations will automatically show more detailed product information than strain type – such as THC percentages. You can also customize product descriptions to show terpene profiles, effects and more. This allows your customers to experience product education, from the comfort of their own homes.
To create a pre-order shop program, such as online ordering, you’ll need to a system in place to seamlessly communicate with the orderer, and notify them when their orders are ready. Some CRM services that offer online ordering, such as Baker, allow you to customize this communication, as well as automate notifications when the order is ready.
Kiosks For In-Store Ordering & Product Information
Another solution to improve customer service and reduce wait time is to implement an in-store ordering system. Kiosks serve multiple functions in a dispensary that will elevate your customer experience. Shoppers can browse inventory from branded iPads in your waiting or showrooms, place their orders and explore your available products. Together, these functions result in faster transaction times while also increasing revenue for your dispensary.
Kiosks provide customers with detailed and helpful product information, without requiring the assistance of a store team member. Because they can be self-service information centers, you’ll have fewer customers clogging up lines at the registers or taking up budtender’s time with questions that they can answer themselves. Yet, at the same time, if there is information they can’t find themselves, dispensary staff can help them.
When customers can explore and shop for products at their own pace, they often upsell themselves. It may be surprising, but digital orders placed from in-store tablets are 20-30% higher than orders placed with a person. Thus, in addition to reducing transaction time, in-store ordering also increases revenue.
Data Insights: Integrating your Data: POS and Store Software
Knowing when your shop is busy is imperative to optimizing staff scheduling to meet your store traffic needs. If you can quickly and courteously help your customers, even at your busiest times, you’ll create lifelong store fans.
However, you can’t be on the floor at all times. You need clear data that tells you what your store trends are. Do you have access to the data you need to know the answers to the operations questions you have? Sufficient data can provide you with insights such as: the 3rd Wednesday of the month is busier at 5pm than any other Wednesday, your most common sale on Friday nights are pre-rolls, or though sales are high on Thursdays, they are mostly through online orders.
If you can’t get data easily from your POS system, you might be slowing down your store’s team or missing opportunities at critical points in your customer experience flow. Your POS can offer wealth of information, and paired with CRM customer information will provide you with the insights you need to produce a top-quality customer experience.
Choosing a POS system that integrates with your other store software can give you the power you need to understand ebbs and flows in your week-to-week and day-to-day operations. The ability to quickly view your data can tell you when you’re busy and need more staff, or when you’re busy, but mostly with online orders and can reduce your staff. Based on your customers’ product preferences, it can identify products you should order more of, or based on their interests help you choose new brands and products to add to your store.
The customer experience should be top of mind for any dispensary owner. While customer loyalty requires repeat visits and takes time...it takes just one poor customer experience to lose a customer. No amount of advertising dollars, and no number of deals can mask a poor customer experience.
Streamlining operations by increasing self-service options and gaining a solid understanding of your shopper’s habits will give you the tools you need to craft an excellent customer experience.
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