The Dispensary Owner’s Guide to Customer Loyalty: How to Retain Your Customers

For most users and patients, dispensaries are considered the face of the cannabis industry. The industry is unique in more ways than one, but it still follows the same fundamental rules as any other pharmaceutical or retail business in today’s market.

Cannabis dispensaries exist in the overlap between the retail and pharmaceutical markets. One of the main ways that the industry can bridge the gap is with a focus on customer loyalty. Cannabis users will often return to dispensaries that demonstrate value through a quality in-store experience.

However, certain aspects of this experience must cater specifically to the needs of the cannabis user. The existence of cannabis culture itself is proof enough that cannabis can't be marketed like an everyday commodity. 

Dispensaries that prioritize improving customer loyalty can earn more than their competitors while spending less on acquiring a customer base overall. In the cannabis industry, "regulars" are the cornerstone of a successful enterprise.

How to Improve Customer Loyalty

Acquiring a new customer costs more than keeping an existing one. There is no data available on how much it costs cannabis industries specifically, but it stands to reason that it cannot be too far off from the standard of most industries. The superior value of a return customer is why customer loyalty is essential.

With regulations as heavy as they are in the cannabis industry, customers will generally keep coming back to the vendors that they trust the most.

If your dispensary relies exclusively on attracting new customers, it begs the question – where are all of those customers going after their first visit?

Chances are your competition is doing something to attract them that you aren’t.

Cannabis users typically value location above quality and quality above selection and price.

Because of this, many cannabis users may not go to the trouble of driving long distances to obtain quality products. This is key because it demonstrates that dispensary owners will need to look beyond the product to engage and retain customers.

Instead, dispensary owners need to solve customers’ problems. Being effective at addressing the needs of customers while demonstrating your company’s values is what will keep them coming back to your dispensary.

Use Dispensary Loyalty Programs to Engage, Retain, and Succeed

Most states require cannabis dispensaries to send in reports detailing every sale they make. It’s time-consuming, but it is a non-negotiable aspect of doing any business in such a highly regulated industry.  

Few cannabis dispensary owners realize that they are gathering valuable data in the process. Since dispensaries are required to collect this data, there's no good reason not to create sales profiles for return customers and improve customer loyalty.

With this kind of dispensary loyalty program in place, you can create a system of dispensary rewards with personalized benefits that will retain and engage your customers. Personalized rewards will incentivize them to return to your dispensary every time.

Another way to retain your customers is to reach out to them with personalized messages. 

You can’t use above-the-line advertising for cannabis. But a customer can consensually opt in to marketing messages from your dispensary with no intervention from a regulatory committee. This makes it easier to promote your products. 

The good thing is that a significant amount of regular cannabis users enjoy receiving brand promotions and deals. Those are your regulars. If your marketing message is private, personalized, and painless to unsubscribe from, you have a wide range of options when it comes to improving customer loyalty at your dispensary.