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Gen Z: Time For A New Cannabis Payments And Marketing Approach

by Kimberly Baylies on January 7, 2021

A look to the new generation of cannabis consumers: Gen Z.Gen Z will be a force to reckon with. Especially considering 4 million come of age each year and become new consumers in the cannabis market. You might wonder what cannabis payment processing has to do with any of it. Gen Z looks at the world much differently than the generations before them.  

Cannabis companies need to rethink marketing strategies, consumer experiences, and alternate payment options to resonate with Gen Z. Their philosophy on whom they support and why is a challenge for merchants. They shop and buy differently than we are used to. 

Cannabis payments have been a source of friction from the beginning. PIN Debit for cannabis pay

ments will not only reduce friction for all consumers, but will be particularly attractive to a generation that expects convenient, meaningful and seamless experiences.


Gen Z will be an influential generation who shapes the marketplace.

Millennials and Gen Z are massive generations. Millennials are currently the largest living generation, but Gen is 67.17 million strong. And over the next decade, 40% of all consumers will be Gen Zs. They’re barely entering the market and already command $143 Billion in spending power as of Jan 2020. A whole year ago and before we entered a pandemic. Consider this and keep in mind that the oldest of the generation are only just now hitting 23 years old. 

They're also a generation growing up in the world of legal cannabis. As Gen Z matures, their preferences will shape the cannabis marketplace. They tend to prefer inhalables over edibles. In line with their desire for convenience, they reach for pre-rolls and vape products more than flower.

But they're not as keen on the use of credit as their predecessors. The oldest of the generation having been raised during the financial recession is much more practical with their spending. They don’t want to be in debt and frown upon excessive credit card use. Every business wants to be able to accept credit cards, but this influential generation doesn't care that much.

Cannabis is an industry still in its infancy. It's also an industry that is groundbreaking and paving the way for those that will surely follow. It is not an industry content with sticking with the status quo. So it's the perfect industry to rethink, reinvent, revolutionize the way they market to, and connect with its newest consumers.

Cannabis companies have a huge opportunity to start fresh with this generation. To really learn what they want and what they care about and what they want their buying experience to look like.


It's a new dawn for cannabis payment options.

Gen Z are free of past stigmas associated with Cannabis use.

This generation is growing up in a different time, being raised in a legal market with fewer preconceived notions. Legalized cannabis and medicinal use are normal for them. There aren't the stigmas that the generations before them grew up with. They are growing up in an era where cannabis businesses line main street.

They see a mentality where cannabis and cannabis use is considered normal, even beneficial to health.  They may have friends and even family members that work in the industry. Not only are they able to gain knowledge prior to forming an opinion, they make an effort to.

Gen Zers care more about making a difference than they do about brands and labels.

Younger Millennials and maturing Gen Zers are very socially conscious, environmentally conscious and dedicated to sustainability. And they demand that brands are as well. One study revealed that 55% of Gen Z buy from a brand because they are socially responsible and eco-friendly.They don't really care about brands for brand’s sake. They care about your brand if they feel like you support and promote the initiatives they care about. 

But it must be authentic. They can smell fluff a mile away. You must actually live and breathe these values as part of your company culture. These younger generations gravitate to brands that align with their own values and beliefs. Socially conscious companies are able to capture greater market share. This is where they feel comfortable spending their money.

If you want to reach Gen Z, meet them where they are.Get Lit in 2021!(1)

To reach this generation, merchants not only need to change how they connect with them, they also must change where they connect with them.

This is a generation that is growing up as digital natives and social media natives.  Smartphones are the digital device used most often by 75% of Gen Zers. They also make most of their online purchases through mobile phones.Your website and all of your advertising efforts must be mobile friendly or you’re missing the mark. 

Gen Z isn't watching cable TV, and they’re not listening to the radio. They watch videos on YouTube and TikTok, and they stream all their music. They are very in tune to music, music icons, and social media influencers. They aren't going to find your brand because of a commercial. They learn about products through social media channels, YouTube, from influencers they follow, and from friends and colleagues.

Cannabis merchants have to market to them on the platforms where they reside. YouTube, SnapChat, TikTok, and Instagram.

Customer retention with Gen Z is a whole new ball game.

Gen Z likes to try new things. Brand loyalty isn't high on their priorities. Marketers really need to think about how they interact with the generation if they want to increase customer retention. They don't appreciate old strong arm sales tactics and they definitely don't want to be sold or sold to. 

With Gen Z, you can't just market to them, you must engage with them. And continually. This generation wants to be involved. They want to engage with producers and influence product designs and ideas. To relate to this generation, businesses need to find ways to create meaningful interactions with Gen z consumers.

Create a fast, friendly, frictionless buying experience.

Gen Z expects convenience. Remember, they are native to digital life. And that includes digital payments. They're also set to be the biggest users of smartphones as they continue to come of age. They're already transferring money through alternate payment methods, such as Venmo on a regular basis.

They are comfortable interacting with digital devices, and they are comfortable transferring money to and fro over digital means. Couple this with the pleasant experience they expect, and that means you must offer the payment methods they expect.  In the retail cannabis environment, customer experience flows all the way through the purchase. 

At the same time, this generation has developed a distrust of traditional financial systems. This is a generation that expects experiences to be convenient and frictionless. But they also expect transparency. 

Making cannabis payments hasn't always been the most convenient, or transparent, experience. Consumers had to carry cash or jump through hoops to use work-around payment solutions. The PIN Debit payment solution is a welcome answer to cannabis payment processing. 

Tech based payment methods such as PIN Debit offer fast checkouts that are also user friendly and secure. And it creates a simple checkout process that is frictionless and traditional - which they love. The PIN Debit solution allows customers to pay the way they want to. When customers walk up to the counter, they can be confident they can make a payment quickly and easily with a method they know well.

PIN Debit cannabis payments terminals allow customers to use their mobile wallet for contactless payments. 53% of Gen Z say that they “prefer shopping in stores that offer contactless payments.” They always have their phone in their hand and they don't carry cash. All of this lends to the convenience they demand and the positive buying experience they crave. 

No crazy work-arounds and no shady practices. Just simple payment methods that are legitimate and transparent. 

PIN Debit for cannabis payment processingCannabis payment processing that speaks to Gen Z - the newest demographic.

Gen Z is an exciting generation of entrepreneurs and free-thinkers. As they continue to come of age, it will be interesting to see how they shape the cannabis market. And the cannabis industry is full of forward-thinking, open-minded creatives. Perfect to take on the generation of truth and individuality. 

Bankcard International Group is a leader in cannabis payment solutions with decades of experience in high-risk payments. We continually advocate for transparent, legitimate, and 100% compliant payment solutions for the industry. 

We also understand that for cannabis merchants, business isn't just business, it's their passion. We never want to do anything to put that at risk. That’s why we only offer cannabis payment processing solutions that are legitimate, compliant, and dependable.

If you're ready to accept payments the right way, call us today. Our ETA Certified Payments Professionals are highly educated in the regulations surrounding the industry and cannabis payments. It’s time to experience merchant services with the full support your business deserves.

It’s time to “Experience The B.I.G. Difference!”


Topics: Cannabis, High Risk Merchant Account, cannabis dispensary, cannabis delivery