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How Dispensaries Convert First-Time Buyers into Lifetime Customers

The moment that someone sees your advertisement or social media post for the first time, they have the potential to become a customer. Everything that goes into finding and attracting these customers to your dispensary is customer acquisition. This blog focuses on what comes next – getting them to come back to your dispensary and converting them into loyal customers.  

Unfortunately, for many dispensaries, a customer’s journey ends after the first purchase. To prevent this from happening, we need to look at the entire customer experience throughout the buying process. The sales funnel below refers to this buying process that a customer goes through – from the first time they see your ad, to their first in-store experience and beyond.

Turning first-time buyers into loyal customers is achieved from the stages of the funnel that occur during and after their first in-store experience. In the sales funnel, these stages are Purchase, Engage, Repeat and Referral.


Purchase | It Starts With a Great First Impression

A customer's first impression and experience influences their decision whether or not to come back to your dispensary. There are many factors that go into creating a winning first in-store experience. Here are a few of those factors:


The Look and Feel of Your Dispensary and Brand

The design and layout of your dispensary plays a major role in a customer’s first impression. They actively seek a comfortable and trusting environment, that provides a smooth and convenient buying process. This is especially important because many of the 'new cannabis consumers' are also new to the cannabis buying experience.

Because first impressions matter so much, it’s important to have an approachable storefront. A person could fully intend to visit your dispensary, only to arrive and be turned off by the way your storefront looks, and leave. Some other ways to establish trust and a sense of security is by designing a branded and comfortable lobby area, and hiring friendly staff members and budtenders.


Native Roots dispensary lobby


Branding, in fact, is a key factor in influencing your customers' in-store experience. Enforce consistent branding throughout your dispensary by using your brand visuals such as logos, signage, and branded merchandise or swag. Not only does strong visual branding help your customers connect with you, but it also helps them remember your dispensary later on. You must also work toward humanizing your dispensary brand. This means giving your brand a personality that your cannabis consumers can trust and easily engage with.


Fast and Efficient Service

In a fast-paced world, waiting can be very frustrating for consumers, especially in high-traffic dispensaries. Identify ways to speed up your dispensary transaction times. With Baker for instance, you can easily enable pre-ordering programs, where your customers can place their orders online. This way purchases can be fast-tracked with an express pickup, if desired. Not to mention, fast transaction times enable your staff to service more customers on any given day. This results in more sales.


dispensary loyalty checkin and self-serve kiosks from Baker


Digitally-Equip Your Buying Experience

The average consumer is used to things being high-tech. This means they're more than happy to browse through your product offering from self-serve kiosk menus. In fact, this is a rising trend in cannabis retail. See why so many dispensaries are using in-store kiosks.

Whether they’re recreational consumers or medical patients, they want to feel like they've come to the ‘right’ dispensary — a feeling you can effectively steer by using high-tech sales servicing. Whether it's with an express ordering kiosk, installing high-tech digital menus, or by enabling online ordering via your website. You can always find ways to improve your customers' shopping experience through digital solutions.

Engage | Check Back in and Keep in Touch

After a customer makes their first purchase, it’s important to engage with them again in order to convert them into a repeat customer. To do this, you will first need to collect their information. This can be achieved through your website, using Baker Collect, or in-store through Checkin. You can then communicate with them using the preferred method – a text message.

Check back in with them in a week or two after their visit with a personalized message using smart messaging tactics. You can share special offers or deals you think they might like, or highlight your dispensary loyalty program.

Using consistent communication is always important throughout these stages. Reach out to your customers from time to time with relevant offers, valuable content, or gifts and freebies. Just keep in mind that you don't want this communication to be too frequent, or you will increase your unsubscribe rate.

Communication Preferences

With a CRM like Baker, you can seamlessly collect information about your customers. This includes their communication preferences. For instance, information on what kind of products they'd like to hear about or what message types (discounts, events, promos) they'd like to receive from you.


Product Interests

Text your customers about the products they may find useful based on their interests they listed in their profile, or even their purchase history. For effective messaging, you can use a tool like Baker Connect.  It enables  you to send personalized SMS messages by using filters to target certain customers.to your buyers that gives the sense of one-on-one interactions. 

It is best practice to introduce your first-time customers to your loyalty program right away. This is a great opportunity for a first-time message to them. Try sending your first-time customers a special message thanking them for their first visit and mention what loyalty reward they will get when they come back in for their next visit. Getting an exclusive reward makes first-time buyers feel special and more welcome in your store. They also feel like being a part of your 'special' community that gets access to exclusive rewards.

Referral | Get Your Customers to Promote Your Dispensary for You

Word of mouth is one of the most trusted and powerful advertisements for any product. In fact, 43% of women decide on a new cannabis brand to try based on their recommendations from their friends, salespeople, or their family members.

Consumers naturally trust the recommendations of their friends (or even just other people) more than they trust companies or marketers. This means that each time a consumer buys any product from your dispensary, you should invite them to write a review on a listing site or cannabis marketplace, such as Potguide. Doing so will drive traffic from the review website back to your dispensary store website. Another option is to simply ask your consumers to recommend their products to their friends who might find it interesting.


Increase customer referrals to your dispensary


It’s also important to accept that not all reviews will be good reviews. If you find a customer complaint about your dispensary , take this as an opportunity to show that you take your customers’ feedback seriously and actively improve their experience. Be sure to reply to the negative comments with an apology and send them an exclusive offer to hopefully win them back.

You will also get some great reviews. This could serve as original user-generated content to post on your social media channels, showcase on your website, or use in your marketing materials.

You can also encourage your customers to share content about your dispensary with their social media circles by either re-sharing your social posts. Another great ideas is to generate "postable" or “sharable” content. An example is painting a beautiful mural on the outside of your store that says your town name or a witty saying. Naturally, people will want to take pictures in front of it and share it on their social media profiles. Of course, this will be a much subtler form of word of mouth promotions, but it will still help new audiences discover you online. Here’s a great example of this from Samantha, Potguide Co-Founder and Director of Marketing from our recent Customer Acquisition webinar.


social media and branding ideas for dispensaries

If your customers' buying cycle ends with the purchase, you're missing out on repeat business opportunities. Though it plays a role, earning repeat business is about more than just providing a good first experience. It’s really about creating a personalized shopping path and engaging your customers.

At Baker, we've designed cannabis industry-specific software that prevents you from losing all this repeat business. Schedule a demo with us to see how we can help you convert first-time or occasional customers into loyal customers that will visit your dispensary frequently.

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Customer Acquisition Tips

Watch our webinar to see how you can attract more customers to your dispensary. We cover strategies for you to win over cannabis customers. 

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