Ahhh the glorious world of cannabis retail. It is an interesting place in the market because we all have known dispensaries to be the one place we can legally go to purchase cannabis products. But there are some important trends that we are beginning to shape the landscape of Cannabis retail. It is important to begin looking at these trends to see where cannabis retail is going in the near future.
The Retail Experience & Understanding The Product
Going to a local cannabis dispensary is definitely an experience. Especially if you are a first time buyer or have not yet purchased legal cannabis. Typically you go to a dispensary to look at the product, smell the product and even ask the budtender about the strain, terpenes or how the product might be for them. Some dispensaries even have a unique bar type of setting/environment giving you a safe place to consume after making your purchase. But things are beginning to change, especially in the California market… and we’ll tell you why.
Brands Are Taking Over…
Cannabis brands are beginning to establish themselves in the California market since licensing came into play. We even seen a bigger uptick in cannabis brands hitting the shelves of dispensaries since the July 1st deadline forced all licensed retailers to ONLY sell pre-packaged product made by a licensed manufacturer. This means that even cannabis flower is pre-packaged. Before, you could go to your local dispensary, smell a bunch of jars of cannabis and pick which one you wanted based on your assumptions. Things are a little different now. Every eighth of flower in a cannabis dispensary is pre-packaged and this means that 99.9% of the time, the pre-packaged flower is branded with the logo of the cultivator/manufacturer.
This means the experience of going to a dispensary is not going to be as relevant once brands consolidate and people know what they are looking for. Think of it in the alcohol industry for instance… if you like Bud Light your going to go a local liquor store and you know that they will have it in stock, because Bud Light is a nationwide name. In fact the liquor store would probably generate less revenue if they didn’t carry Bud Light because there is a demand for that product. People aren’t going to care if the liquor store looks like an apple store or has all this cool artwork everywhere, etc… They are simply going to want to purchase their branded pre-rolls and move on with their day.
Cannabis brick and mortar retail is great, especially in this day of age where we are still breaking the stigma and educating consumers about certain products, the testing results, why certain strains/terpenes are better for this, that and the other. But we will see the day where everyone has their favorite brand of pre-rolls, or vape pen, or edible brand that they want to have consistently because the product suits them for whatever reason. So what does this mean for cannabis retail?
Once the industry has grown to a steady size and consumers understand what brands and products are out there on the market. Retailers aren’t going to be as important as the brands they carry. In a way, cannabis retails will eventually become the equivalent of liquor stores and the only dispensaries that will truly continue to dominate the market will have more than just a dispensary to buy product. In order for retailers to remain competitive they will need to have an experience. Whether that be a bar style environment or something that would make a consumer want to travel to and visit the brick-and-mortar locations.
Cannabis Deliveries Are Getting Ready For a Boom
Sitting down with our partners at WebJoint, an all in one cannabis software platform for retailers and brands. They helped us understand that cannabis deliveries are getting ready to make a huge boom in the California market. With 1 out of 3 licensed California deliveries using the WebJoint platform to track their inventory, sales transactions and more, they seen interesting trends happening in the cannabis delivery market. “We’ve seen that consumers who order from delivery services are typically buying branded products, because they know what to expect as far as quality and consistency” says Christopher Dell’Olio – CEO of WebJoint. “You can go to a brick and mortar dispensary and learn more about the products out there. You can ask your budtender to educate you on certain products, etc… but what happens once your budtender helps you find that perfect vape pen or edible brand. Chances are your going to want the product again and you’re going to want it delivered to your door instead of traveling to get it.”
Because of the huge trend in branded products and marketplaces in the industry, delivery services will play a huge role in fulfilling these orders and getting them to the consumers front door. The delivery market may not be as big as the MedMen’s of the world. But if you take some time to look into the trends, it seems as if we will see a slight shift in delivery orders in the next 1-5 years.