Cannabis Dispensary Merchandizing – A Quick Guide for Owners & Store Managers

If you’re a cannabis dispensary operator or manager, you’re probably not sleeping on merchandizing.

You can’t afford to do that, right?

With state rules dictating everything from cannabis flower packaging to window dressing, it’s up to you to get creative on how to attract customers to your cannabis shop with the help of a well-thought-out dispensary floor plan and dispensary design.

But… there’s doing the thing. And then there’s nailing the thing.

If your dispensary merchandizing strategy hasn’t been your top priority, there’s a fair chance you’re not unlocking your full potential, both in terms of customer satisfaction and sales.

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What is merchandizing?

Merchandizing is the practice – and the process – of displaying and selling products to customers. It’s not only about product selection and promotional activities, however. In retail, the right visual merchandizing tactics can attract the right customers, influence their purchasing intent and help operators reach — and exceed — their sales goals.

Here’s some good news — crafting a winning merchandizing strategy for your cannabis dispensary isn’t a wild leap into the unknown. At least, it shouldn’t be. If you follow the tried-and-true principles of traditional retail — with a few imaginative industry-specific twists — you can significantly increase your foot traffic, sales, and grow an army of repeat customers.

Before we dive into actionable tactics, let’s take a look at the two North Stars you need to focus on when creating a cannabis dispensary merchandizing plan – your offering and your target audience – so you can create the best possible dispensary floor plan.

The RIGHT Dispensary Aesthetics is Dictated by Your Offer & Your Audience

The most important thing you need to remember as a dispensary operator?

Your store’s aesthetics should never be about what you like, what looks good to you, and what’s ‘pulloffable’ at the time. Remember – you’re running a business here. The products that you choose and your decisions around how to display them: shelves, lighting, pop-up booths, technology — all of this can increase your sales by several percentage points when done right.

And you can do it right if you focus on two things:

  • the products that you carry — different types of cannabis product brands, whether they’re recreational or medical, their story (beauty, wellbeing, pain-relief), and other.

  • your best target audience — are you catering to women because you predominantly carry beauty & wellness-focused canna products? Or to a senior population that’s looking to treat age-related illnesses and ailments?

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These two things will dictate a lot of your visual merchandizing, store layout, and promo decisions.

Let’s take a look at aligning your store aesthetics with the aesthetics of the products you carry.

What this means is that you want your aesthetics to ‘vibe’ with the general goal of the subcategory of products you carry.

For example, let’s assume you focus on the beauty and wellness side of the cannabis industry and brands that carry those products. In this case, here are the few general tips that you could find useful when creating your dispensary design:

  • color schemes — you’re looking for neutrals or pastels, colors that promote a sense of calmness and relaxation. You want to avoid sharp and bold colors. Rule of thumb – anything you wouldn’t see in a high-end spa center or a dermatology waiting room… avoid it.
  • product displays and shelves — you don’t want clutter. These products are expensive; they’re exclusive. How you stock them on shelves needs to reflect that. You want shelves that are higher, deeper into the store, with minimum clutter around the cash register — impulse buys are not something these customers will likely  be interested in.
  • staffing decisions — as shallow as this may sound, you want your employees to act as the face of your products. Hire knowledgeable… hire sales-savvy… and hire pretty.

Of course, your tactics would be different if you were targeting MMJ customers, for example. You’d go for a more serious look. More products at different price points on the shelves. Brochures on medical conditions and research around cannabis. You get the drift.

That’s where you go into the ‘target audience’ angle of the whole thing. What best resonates with your target audience should be implemented, regardless of how you feel about it.

As you lay the groundwork for your store’s aesthetic appeal, the stage is set for further merchandising decisions. It’s now your turn to shine the spotlight – which products will take center stage in your dispensary? Remember, you’re not just a retailer – you’re an aesthetic curator in the vibrant, ever-evolving world of cannabis.

These 3 best practices for cannabis store visual merchandizing can help you do that.

3 Visual Merchandizing Best Practices You Should Know

Overcrowding is a Sales Killer – Avoid It Like the Plague

Are you tempted to throw every single product – and your last car’s carburetor – onto the store floor?

Here’s what happens in that case…

Your customers saunter into your dispensary only to be smacked in the face by a jumbled jungle of merchandise. It’s not an inviting oasis, it’s a chaotic maze! And guess what? This disarray isn’t just spoiling your dispensary’s suave ambiance; it’s punching holes in your pocket too. Believe it or not, too many choices can be a sales saboteur rather than a sales stimulator.

Marie Kondo that crap!

Ditch the clutter-causing strategy and embrace the power of dispensary touch screen menus, open space, and tall display cases. Create a visual experience for shoppers!

You can list your full product offerings without transforming your sales floor into a cluttered carnival. This frees up your prime real estate to highlight your top-notch products or promotions with product shelving displays that’ll make heads turn.

Your customers can now peruse your entire inventory in a neat, easy-to-navigate format while basking in a visually captivating shopping atmosphere.

EXTRA TIP: Move traffic to the right! People usually walk that way anyways. But you can capitalize on it by putting your best-sellers, bundles, and promos in that counter-clockwise route, with signage to drive people that way so they’ll be the first thing that customers see.

Lighting, Lighting & More Lighting

Since customers aren’t allowed to pick up cannabis products at their whim, how you present these products becomes crucial. 

The trick? 

Allowing them to examine products thoroughly without actually touching them. The key to achieving this is lighting, but your regular overhead lights won’t cut it.

Imagine this scenario: a curious shopper leans over to take a sneak peek into a counter product display, and their own shadow plays spoiler by blocking the view. That’s your cue to bring in the big guns – strategic lighting design. Think of decking out your shelving units and product display cases with an enchanting array of lights from every angle – the top, bottom, and both sides. Picture a magical mirror arrangement that treats customers to a spectacular 360-degree product panorama.

The result? Your products, basking in the spotlight, while customers do the salsa around your well-lit dispensary!

Make the Most Out of Your Checkout Space

Just as the grand finale in a fireworks display leaves the crowd awestruck, your recreational cannabis dispensary’s cash register and fulfillment areas should dazzle customers and entice those delightful last-minute, impulsive buys. Picture a mini showcase of complementary products or add-ons right at the counter + point of purchase displays, all strategically woven into the cash register wrap, akin to secret pockets of treasures waiting to be discovered… and to increase your average order value.

But keep your eyes on the prize; your aim is to augment, not disrupt, the symphony of the space. Imagine the flow of the area as a gentle, winding river; there should still be ample room for customers to meander and explore. This spot is the perfect stage for accessories or enlightening books that pique curiosity and extend the customer experience beyond the store.

Also, don’t forget another thing – you want the data of your shopper! So make sure your checkout system has an integrated POS system and CRM software that lets you collect their email address and as much data they’re willing to part with!

Your Bottom Line? Focus On It… Hard!

Merchandizing isn’t about making things look pretty.

It’s about making sales.

So when you’re creating layout – and more specifically, when you’re arranging your retail displays – consider the following:

  • Profit margins — think of your dispensary as a stage, and every product you display is a performer under the spotlight. As the director of this show, your goal is to capture the audience’s attention and boost ticket sales, metaphorically speaking. From a financial standpoint, the most logical move would be to cast your highest-grossing performers, or products with high margins, in the leading roles.
  • Analysis of success — now, imagine being the director with an eagle eye on the box office. Gauging the success of each scene or in-store promotional display is crucial to refining your act over time. You, as a cannabis dispensary owner, are already keeping a detailed script of all transactions for state authorities. This data, my friend, is your golden ticket to discern if your merchandising strategies are drawing the applause you anticipate.
  • Opportunity cost calculation — once you’ve run a few acts, tested the waters with various merchandising experiments, and analyzed your sales, it’s time to crown your star performer – the promotional display that’s bringing in the most profits. The choice you make comes with an opportunity cost. Imagine the space taken up by one display as a coveted slot in your lineup. The potential profit from any other product that could steal the show in that spot is the price you pay for your decision. So, choose wisely – every bit of your ‘stage’ is prime real estate in this performance we call retail. And it all goes into your profit and inventory management calculation!

Of course, there’s more to merchandizing in retail. Heck — they teach this stuff in colleges, down to how to arrange retail displays! I can’t be expected to cover everything here. But, now you have the specific on why visual merchandizing strategies are different for weed dispensaries… and what you need to do to make it work for your store!

So get to it!

Best Wholesale Price for Best Bud Packaging Option?

Check Out Kind Bags & Get Vacuum Sealer Bags for Your Dispensary

Click Here for Details – Sizes, Options & Best Price On the Market
(Total Satisfaction Guarantee – 100% Refund if You’re Not Happy)

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