Recreational cannabis sales started in Michigan just over a year ago.
But just because it’s new, doesn’t mean it’s without competition.
As of July 2020, there were 111 active adult-use licenses in the state.
With so many options available to customers, how can a Michigan provisioning center stand out from the crowd?
Businesses aren’t setting themselves apart with ad spending. Billboards aren’t available.
Most magazines won’t accept ads for the herb. TV and radio are not an option.
One solution that is available to retailers is in-store digital screens.
Digital menus and signage inform the clientele of what’s available in real-time.
The retailer’s logo is constantly visible and customers are engaging with brands via digital imagery in the waiting area.
This direct-to-consumer marketing strategy at the point of sale can significantly increase sales and customer retention.
Enlighten Chairman Jeremy Jacobs specializes in providing technology solutions for the cannabis industry.
With more than 15 years in the sector, he’s had a firsthand view of the evolving retail landscape.
He says adult-use markets are unique in their response to digital marketing.
“In a rec market, that’s where we really see tremendous lift with our products. For example, when people use our SmartHub platform for their digital in-store TV menus we see an average of about a 5% increase in cart totals,” said Jacobs.
With so much tech available to retailers, the recurring question seems to be “How can I integrate these different components so they work together?”
For instance, what’s an easy way to connect a point of sale (POS) system to an e-commerce site?
Jacobs explained, “If there are 30 major POS companies, and there are 10 listing services like the Weedmaps or Dutchie that bring customers to these dispensaries. You’ve got to get 30 POS companies to integrate with 10 other technology companies for listing, 30 times 10 is 300. So that’s a big challenge and something the industry is struggling with.”
However, as one of the largest tech suppliers to the cannabis space, Enlighten is uniquely positioned to solve this issue.
Jacobs says a solution is launching in April 2021.
“Smart Hub 2.0 is an open API that lets everybody in the cannabis community connect with everybody else in the cannabis community from a data standpoint,” he shared. As more retailers embrace technology as a business model, the industry will start to evolve rapidly.
Meeting the Customer
The digital age of retail is about customization.
Customers expect to have options for how they’re making a purchase.
Jacobs points to McDonald’s restaurants as an example of this evolution.
“You have a lot of ways you can interact with McDonald’s. You can go through the drive through. You can go in and actually talk to a person. You can go in and punch on a kiosk. You can, in the parking lot, get out an app and order there. You can stay home and get on UberEats, DoorDash, or Postmates and order from McDonald’s. There are just a lot of ways a customer can engage with the restaurant.”
He says the cannabis space is similar with in-store kiosks, drive-throughs in certain areas, e-commerce, listing services, and delivery options.
In this way, cannabis companies can offer customers whatever buying experience they want.
Jacobs concluded, “Meeting the customer how they want to be met is fundamentally one of the most important things a retailer can do.”