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How To Enhance Your Cannabis Dispensary Customer Experience

by Kimberly Baylies on July 9, 2021

Cannabis dispensary customer experienceWhen we think about creating the perfect customer experience in our stores, what do we think about? Yes, of course we want to create a seamless and efficient dispensary customer experience. Convenience and efficiency are nice. But we also want customers to have an experience that is pleasurable and results in satisfaction. Because having a pleasurable and satisfying experience is what brings people back time and again!

“Customer Experience”. It's something that every retail store is concerned with, and is concerned with improving. That is true for cannabis dispensaries too. But for dispensaries, customer experience is so much more involved and personal and rich than most retail outlets. 

Creating a memorable customer experience isn't just about having an aesthetically pleasing store design. It's not about having a plethora of awesome product selections. And it's not about creating a fun and safe environment to draw a customer in. It is about ALL those things coming together, and so so much more.

The customer experience at a dispensary is a unique one.

Walking into a dispensary is a lot like walking into a candy store. Have you ever been in  a real candy store? There is SO MUCH CANDY. 

There is so much to choose from and so many different styles of candy. But at the end of the day, it is all candy. We see barrels of hard candy, tubes full of jelly beans, aisles of taffy and lollipops and fudge. Oh my! 

We recognize and are familiar with the styles of candy on offer. And we get a little giddy.

Visiting a dispensary isn't like shopping anywhere else. It is a multifaceted experience: part fun, part clinical, and part regulatory.

For many dispensary customers, walking into a dispensary can be a bit overwhelming. There is SO much product and SO many smells and where do they begin? Sure you probably have your regulars, customers that know what they like and go right for it. 

But for a lot of customers, while it is all forms of marijuana, there are so many different strains and forms. There are different flavors, different types, delivery methods, and of course, different uses. Your customers are most likely not familiar with all the different strains. They may not be sure of the form of consumption they want. Or maybe, they'd like to branch into something they haven't tried. 

For most retail stores, customer walk in ready to shop, ready to buy and feeling confident. But for cannabis dispensaries, many customers walk in feeling apprehensive and unsure. Cannabis dispensaries have to go the extra mile to ensure a comfortable and pleasant buying experience for their customers.

Budtenders are well-trained and very good at making customers comfortable and helping them open up. But there are also things the business can do and processes they can have in place to support that mission. And make life easier for their budtenders. 

How cannabis dispensaries can enhance their customer experience.

The cannabis dispensary customer experience begins before they walk in your door and doesn't end until they’ve consumed their purchase.

Improving your customer’s experience is all about knowing your customer. The customer that comes into your dispensary to browse and explore what you have to offer is different from the one who orders online for pickup in the store. But you can still focus on creating a satisfying customer experience for both of those types of customers. 

Below are a few ways cannabis dispensaries can improve the experience both online and inside their dispensary to gain customer loyalty and increases sales.

Strive for an Omni Commerce presence.

The customer journey is no longer a linear one. We live in a very connected world where customers want to be able to purchase things however it is most convenient for them. Customers are connecting with brands in person, digitally online, and within social media outlets. And they expect these to be seamless interactions.  

In addition to your retail space, do you have other ways your customers can engage with your brand? Are you also offering sales through an eCommerce platform? If so, do you offer options for BOPIS, curbside pickup, or delivery? The question isn't “are you on board with all these things?”, it's “how well do they all work together?”.

The dispensary’s challenge is creating an online experience that rivals the in-store experience. Your customers should be able to find detailed product descriptions just like they might get from a bud tender in the store. 

Cannabis dispensaries lean into the omni commerce strategy

Customers should be able to read customer reviews online about the products they’re interested in. 

A thorough FAQ’s section can help them with the most common questions.

You may also want to offer free virtual consultations for a more personalized experience. This will help newer customers feel confident they are purchasing the correct product for their needs.

In addition, a chat feature where customers can communicate with a live budtender personalizes an online purchase. This creates a safe place where people find out specific information regarding uses and/or dosage. 

It's also a great way to personalize the customer experience even after they've left your store. Customers can check in with a budtender, of course. But it's a great way for the budtender (or your dispensary) to reach out to customers to inquire about a recent purchase. Especially if customers are trying a new product. Extend the personal attention and check to see if they like it, have any issues, or have any questions.

Having a fluid experience between your digital presence and your retail experience builds confidence and eliminates confusion.

To put new customers at ease, tell them what to expect.

One of the best ways to create a pleasant customer experience is to put the customer at ease. One way to do that is to tell them what to expect. State laws and regulations vary from state to state. In addition, you may have certain dispensary etiquette you require. To put customers at ease, introduce them to the rules and show them what to expect as soon as they

 get there.

When customers arrive, they're going to have to check in, show their ID and possibly wait a bit for a budtender. This is a great time to help them understand the process and flow within the dispensary. For example, clever signage can inform them there is no cell phone use. The associate at check in can also educate customers about the process when they get inside so there are no surprises. Knowing how things work and what to expect can empower customers and help to diffuse anxiety they may have about not knowing how to act.

Shoppers vs buyers - both need attention.

In the retail environment, you will have customers that are both shopping and buying. Some customers' goal is to shop; they want to browse and see what you have to offer and learn about your products. Others are there with one thing in mind, and that’s to find their product and buy it. 

You have to find a way to create a pleasant experience for both of them. You can do this by creating separate spaces for shopping and purchasing.

Customers want to be able to ask questions and learn about products without the associate popping away to run a transaction every second. This person isn't buying a widget. They need someone who is compassionate, listens, and can give knowledgeable advice and recommendations. Associates with the right tools can assist shoppers with all the most pertinent information at their fingertips. But this can take some time. When you have associates who can spend time with your customers, you create a better experience and increase your customer base.

Customers that are ready to buy already have all their questions answered. They want a quick and convenient purchase and to get on their way. Budtenders are there ready to facilitate a quick and convenient transaction. 

Retail space is at a premium, we get it. Anything you can do to create a pleasant encounter for each part of the buyer’s journey will affect their experience.

Discretion is key.

Improving the dispensary customer's experience involves putting them at ease in the store.In many ways a dispensary is a clinical experience for customers. While there are customers who come just for fun, many come for help. It is very customary for a bud tender to inquire about a customer's health and overall feelings. This is how they're able to recommend the best products. 

If you have customers who’re shy or reserved, offer them a private space or booth to talk about their needs. This will give them a space to open up freely. And they won't feel like everyone in the room now knows what is going on with them.

Don't forget our new Social Distancing and hygiene concerns. Let’s just say people are more conscious now of their surroundings.

Get personal with them.

Cannabis dispensary customers are people first, customers second. To create a personalized experience, treat them more like people than customers.

There's a lot of information stored in that powerful POS software. All your associates have to do is access it and exercise their thoughtfulness muscle. Bud tenders can leverage the data at their fingertips to create a personalized experience for your customer. 

People love it when you refer to them by their name. When a person hears their own name, it activates specific parts of their brain. When a business calls a customer by name, it brings a human element to the interaction. It becomes more personal.

Do they come often? Do they buy the same products or try new things every time. Bud tenders can use this information to suggest other items they might like based on their preferences.

Offer for them to sign up for a loyalty program where they can earn rewards for shopping or a special gift on their birthday.

How about giving out a little swag? Even something as simple as a sticker in their bag at checkout can feel - extra. And, bonus, you get a little brand recognition out of it when they display it.

Create a convenient and familiar checkout experience.

It's no secret that cannabis payments have been anything but convenient. Customers have had to “make it work”. They have to bring enough cash, or figure out how much they need before hitting the cashless ATM. They have to endure high transaction fees.

Navigating Cannabis payments with PIN Debit

All this makes for a lot of friction at checkout. And friction at checkout is something businesses try to avoid at all costs.

But things are beginning to change in the cannabis payments landscape. Cannabis dispensaries can create a quick and familiar checkout experience through PIN Debit cannabis payment processing. 

Our true PIN Debit brings legitimate payment processing to cannabis dispensaries. Cannabis businesses process payments through a completely transparent merchant account. There is full disclosure with both the processor and the bank. And of course, the program is fully approved and endorsed by the debit networks.

Customers can walk up to the checkout and pay in a familiar way, the same way they would in any store. They don't have to work with strange payment forms they don't understand. They don't have to open accounts or load funds into an app. Customers simply pay the exact amount of the transaction with their debit card. 

There’s no additional transaction fees like there are with other systems. And customers will NOT pay “Out of Network” fees. The best part? Less cash handling for your bud tenders. Win-win.

Spontaneous purchases? Not a problem when you don't have to worry about running short on cash. In fact, we’ve seen dispensary sales increase by an average of 25% when they implement PIN Debit cannabis payment solutions!

Whether customers like to visit your dispensary or order online for quick pickup or delivery, you’ve got them covered.  


I know it's a lot, but it's the little things. And these are the things that are going to WOW your customers and set you apart from other dispensaries. AT B.I.G., it's our goal to help you stand out and to support your growth. 

At Bankcard International Group, we are dedicated to bringing honest, legitimate, and reliable payment solutions to the cannabis industry. But that’s not all. We are completely dedicated to the overall success of our clients. Even the parts that have nothing to do with payments. We often write articles about subjects that will better help our clients create a successful business. Browse other articles on our blog page for helpful information on all areas of running a successful business. 

If you have any questions or if there are any other ways we can help, reach out. We are here to help! 

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Topics: cannabis dispensary