Best Customer Retention Strategies for your Cannabis Dispensary
Time to read 7 min
Loyal customers represent one of the essential factors in any profitable business. Neglecting your existing customer base while focusing merely on attracting new customers is a recipe for stagnation if not downright failure. There’s a notion that states that people tend to return to places where they’ve been happy before, and while this may not always be taken literally, major enterprises like McDonald’s understand the power of this principle. One cannot help but notice how efficiently they invest in cultivating customer loyalty from childhood, ensuring to keep customers coming back for more.
Where can you find some of these invaluable loyal customers? Join us as we explore some of the most effective customer retention strategies specifically applied in the cannabis industry.
Why is it Important to Increase Customer Retention?
A loyal customer is not just a person willing to spend money on a particular business. Customer retention rate depends on a much deeper relationship rooted in the satisfaction of intricate needs such as trust, convenience, or even shared ideals among others. Once this positive status has been achieved, a person will not only choose your brand or company over competitors but will develop an emotional attachment to it. They will be willing to recommend your business and stand by your side even during tough economic conditions.
Now, evidently, no business can maintain a perfect shopping experience forever. There will surely be issues with products or customer service from time to time; however, loyalty will be built with constant positive experiences and will be maintained depending on how well those negative experiences are handled.
Customer buying something from a shop (Envato)
Build Customer Trust
Customer's trust doesn’t simply appear out of thin air, as it doesn’t either in other aspects of life. Trust is gained through a series of actions during certain periods of time. On the other hand, even the most loyal clients –those who really rely in our enterprise or product- might stop believing if the customer feels that an important factor associated with trust has been somehow altered, for example, if a person finds out that the chef of her/his favorite restaurant has been fired or a product has changed the formula or design.
Now, while there are different classifications of trust depending on the topic, business-wise we can talk about two specific types: rational and emotional.
Consists of those actions where the customer assesses the company in terms of logical and objective factors such as the ability to keep promises, competence, expertise, credibility, etc.
Several factors may contribute to increase rational trust, these may include: product quality, transparent pricing, the commitment to honoring warranties, the constant adherence to sale promotions, etc. On the other hand, customers who rely on rational trust tend to make informed purchasing decisions opting for products with specific measurable attributes. Other factors that may decrease trust, among them it can be mentioned, are extra hidden costs, constant changes in stock and inventory, product defects, etc.
In contrast, emotional trust is based on personal connections, feelings and subjective experiences. The customer evaluates the way the company operates beyond the economic considerations. Building a rapport with employees, sharing beliefs and values, and feeling a sense of identification to what the company represents are some examples of how emotional trust can be nurtured.
It’s important to understand the importance of trust to develop the correct retention strategies according to our business and objectives. Now we will present some of the tools that we can use to achieve the objective…
Woman asking a doctor about a some pills (Envato)
man shaking hand with a client (Envato)
Improve Customer Experience
While this tip may seem obvious, it's hard to believe how often it's overlooked. The store and its staff serve as the business's calling card, and, similar to first impressions in human relationships, they tend to be long-lasting. Make sure that the place is inviting and make an effort to create a warm and friendly atmosphere. Small stores tend to be cozy and intimate. It would be a good idea to take advantage of this charm and leave a positive and lasting impression on your new shoppers.
On the other hand, a huge boost to develop rational and emotional trust with your clients is the quality of the relationships they have with your staff. It's crucial to keep your staff well-informed not only about the cannabis industry but also about customer service and sales strategies. Encourage your staff to build genuine connections with your customers, understand their preferences, and, if possible, form a personal bond. This investment in your team's development can have a profound impact on your store's reputation. A knowledgeable and empathetic staff not only gains trust but also sets your business apart as a welcoming and customer-centric destination.
Develop Loyalty Programs or Rewards Programs
Another effective way to retain customers and attract new ones is to offer something your competition doesn’t. One of the effective methods to achieve this is by developing loyalty or reward programs. These programs provide clients with pending rewards and discounts, creating a compelling incentive to return to your store. Over time, a sense of belonging and emotional attachment to your business will naturally grow.
Additionally, it would be advisable to take advantage of our current technological tools. Modern POS system (point of sale) software is equipped to efficiently store and manage customer data such as purchase history, contact info, loyalty points and preferences. With this information businesses can create detailed customer profiles, allowing them to create personalized recommendations and tailoring marketing strategies such as special sales and exclusive offers. However, it's important to highlight the fact that handling this amount of information comes with responsibility. It’s necessary to implement a system that guarantees data protection and complies with the laws of the respective jurisdiction, maintaining in the process customer trust and loyalty.
The Importance of Post-Sale Strategies
Post-sales strategies play an important role in maintaining and growing your cannabis customer base. It's essential to communicate to your clients how valuable they are and how much they're missed. Utilize the metrics provided by your POS software to send targeted messages, such as promotions, special sales, or exclusive invitations, according to the needs and preferences of your target market. Moreover, reassuring your customers of your readiness to assist with any product-related questions or doubts could be an appreciated gesture. Also, sending an automated thank you message can go a long way in building trust and nurturing loyalty, especially with new clients.
Another tip could be to invest in attractive packaging.This does not only increase brand awareness but can also create an emotional attachment and brand loyalty to your business. Just think of how people proudly display bags from their favorite stores, even if they're not carrying anything from them. Seeking feedback is another crucial post-sale tip. Consider the option of sending surveys to gather valuable insights about what your customers appreciate and identify areas for potential improvement. Offering a discount can be an effective incentive for customers to complete the surveys and, in turn, encourage their return to your cannabis business.
Improve Customer Loyalty by Using Social Media Tools
Social media platforms can also be powerful tools to improve customer loyalty. Social media was initially conceived to keep in touch with friends and family, for this reason, it’s only natural to use its features to interact with clients and nurture that little extra attachment to transition from just another business to be “their” regular business. One essential point to consider is an extension of our previous tip, where we encourage clients to provide feedback, in this case, on our social media platforms. Remember that, while it’s impossible to maintain a perfect review score, both regular clients and potential new ones closely observe how such situations are managed.
Try to post consistently relevant content to your target market and respond to messages punctually. Make the most of tools such as badges on Facebook to recognize regular commentators and motivate them to continue interacting. Hosting special live streams on Facebook, Instagram or Youtube could be also an interesting alternative to encourage interaction with your audience and announce special sales, promotions, or giveaways and linking them to your e-commerce system.
Finally, consider the option of creating paid ads to increase post visibility and grow your online community (we know this might be a bit tricky and almost impossible in the cannabis industry, but it's worth giving a try). Due to the current strict restrictions on the cannabis market on the major social media networks, most work of building your enterprise or products has to be done outside social media or just organically (so focusing on branding, image, etc… would be good for awareness).
If you need more information on how to use social media to promote cannabis-related products check the following article. Or, if you are particularly interested in promoting your shop on Facebook, these tips might help you.
Some Final Words About Customer Retention Strategies
Simon is an accomplished entrepreneur and inventor in the cannabis industry. He’s the founder and CEO of HØJ; a revolutionary high-end cannabis accessories company. His mission is to change the way we experience the herb and enhance people’s smoking experience through knowledge and unique products.