The head developer of the Ford Mustang, Lee Iacocca once said, “In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product, and profits.”
Truer words have never been spoken on the subject of business operations. These facets of the professional world fall into the jurisdiction of just about every industry you can imagine. A dispensary selling cannabis products is no exception.
Do you want to know how to promote operational efficiency at your dispensary? Let’s take a moment to determine what that means and how to accomplish it. Following these tips will give you a competitive advantage, make your day-to-day life easier on the floor, improve customer experience, and boost sales and revenue.
What Are Key Factors in Efficient Dispensary Operations?
Most retail companies run successful operations by placing an emphasis on three key factors: their staff, fast transaction times, and inventory management.
The people you work with are the most vital aspect of promoting operational efficiency for your dispensary. Improper or inadequate staff training and onboarding can lead to damaging consequences for your business. Help them avoid time-wasting activities like repetitive tasks and focus on more productive efforts. Some repetitive tasks (such as updating your menu across third-party listing sites, your website, and digital signage) can be minimized through software integrations.
Of course, cannabis education is also key. During slow hours, motivate your staff to catch up on updates and new trends in the cannabis industry. Assist them in learning about your dispensary's product offering and provide them with more knowledge to share with customers. You can also invite brands to come in for vendor training days where they can teach your budtenders about their newest products.
This factors in how long it takes a customer to reach the checkout line and complete the sales process. This is also a crucial aspect of customer experience. To promote quick transaction times, ensure your team is well-versed in your products. Another important part is successfully onboarding the software and technology tools that your team uses each day – which we will come back to in just a bit.
As a business operator, it's imperative that you are aware of what your customers want and you are prepared to consistently meet their needs and exceed their expectations. Behind the scenes, you should strive to always maintain a steady inventory. Having too much of a product puts you at risk for shelf life expiration, but not having enough results in products going out of stock. One of the most important ways to maintain operational efficiency in your dispensary is by monitoring the items which are selling, as well as those that are not.
Another aspect of inventory management is the strategic placement of products throughout your store floor. Ensure that products that go together (product pairings for a gift set or complementary products) are stocked close by one another to make it easy as possible for customers to find what they need. Check out the “In-Store Merchandising” chapter in this guide for some amazing merchandising tips from experts in the industry – we promise you can use these ideas in your dispensary floor all year round!
Why Does it Matter?
It’s easy to feel like things will always work themselves out. But when you’re running a business, operations and logistics aren’t something you can simply hope will fall into place. Not only do smooth operations make your day easier, but they also have a tremendous impact on customer experience which will affect your revenue.
Customers pay closer attention than you may think to how a business is operated. They notice everything from how clean a store is to how the employees interact with people. Your goal is to develop customer loyalty that will keep them coming back again and again. These repeat customers save you the cost of expensive print advertising and education it takes to constantly get new clients into your store.
Using Technology to Boost Operations
While you may not consider your dispensary to be a tech business, just about every industry in the world benefits from the vast opportunities provided by technology in this digital age. And once again, the cannabis industry is no exception.
As mentioned above, one of the most important parts of running efficient operations at your dispensary includes how long it takes your customer to get through the purchasing process. And technology has made it easier than ever to speed up these transaction times. Some of the greatest tactics you can use range from in-store kiosks to updating your website menu. Keep in mind that whenever you implement a software solution, you should look into what integrations the solution has with the other software tools you use. This will reduce repetitive tasks and help you run more efficiently.
Using in-store kiosks can have tremendous benefits for both your customers and your business. They are quick, easy-to-use, and give the client more privacy when selecting the cannabis products and medicines they need.
When it comes to your dispensary website, there are few ways to optimize its efficiency for your website visitors. One of the most beneficial practices is to set up online ordering through your website. Try to find a solution, like Baker, where you can run the online shopping experience through your own website. Though menu providers through third-party listing sites are easier for cannabis businesses to find, these options ultimately drive traffic (and potential customers) away from your website, as the user can navigate to other dispensary menus.
Focus On Team Management
In an industry that essentially requires face-to-face interaction, your team members are literally the face of your company. It is critical that you have an adequate number of employees staffed at all times. And while you need the bodies there to help run the store, it's vital that each team member is well educated in industry and consumer trends and is passionate about helping your customers and patients.
Depending on how long you’ve been in business, you probably already know when your store is most busy. A key part of your success is having enough staff during the busiest hours. Keep your schedule organized and make it easily accessible for all members of your team to avoid running the risk that they won’t show up for their shift.
Though the retail industry typically experiences high turnover rates, turnover is especially high among floor staff in the cannabis industry. This can have a negative impact on your operations as it means you're constantly training new employees on your standard operating procedures.
A few great ways to avoid staff burnout are by offering days off, providing incentives, and even bringing in little treats like coffee or donuts. Team bonding is another great way to boost morale. Organize staff appreciation parties or even take a day to volunteer together.
Budtender Education & Customer Service Training
You may have employees who are well aware of the most popular products and trends in the cannabis industry but could work on their customer interactions. On the other hand, you may have a teammate who provides excellent customer service but needs to gain more cannabis and industry knowledge.
As their manager, it is up to you to fill in the blanks on both accounts. Teach your team how to take care of customers and also about everything they need to know to educate customers. These training session should include everything from using your POS, e-commerce solution and CRM, to the most popular strains and the benefits of specific cannabis products.
More knowledgeable budtenders result in faster decision making for customers, leading to faster transaction times and more revenue for your bottom line.
Know the Laws in Your State
Arguably the most important part of maintaining efficient operations in your dispensary is by knowing and keeping up to date on cannabis compliance regulations – not just in your state, but also your city and county.
These regulations are constantly changing, so any time you learn about a new requirement, it is beneficial to have a team meeting where your compliance manager can discuss how it affects business operations. Sometimes this will mean additional training and reorganizing your usual procedures.
In order to take the operational measures we discussed in this article, you will likely need to use software and other technologies to achieve big results. Use the Ultimate Guide to Dispensary Software to find the right tools for your unique business needs. In it, you'll find top software providers in the cannabis industry, questions to ask when buying, onboarding tips and more!