Living the Dream: Steve Brooks

Steve Brooks
Owner
Lightshade
Denver, CO

Photo courtesy of Lightshade.

Bringing new customers into your dispensary is a challenge. The best dispensaries use targeted strategies and tactics to inspire fresh customers to take the plunge. Then, they earn customer loyalty by providing an outstanding experience before, during and after the first visit.

Here are five ways we attract (and keep) new Lightshade customers.

– Interior and exterior retail store design: New consumers are often uncomfortable visiting a dispensary. Our once-stigmatized world is unfamiliar, with obscure terminology and specific regulations. Beautiful interior design is vital to welcoming new customers, inspiring comfort and showing the professionalism of your business. An attractive and inviting exterior draws fresh customers while thoughtful interiors invite first-time visitors to relax and enjoy the experience. Having images of your beautiful stores online can attract customers searching for a new dispensary.

– Programmatic advertising is essential: Most people aren’t familiar with programmatic advertising, but it’s one of the few digital ad channels available to cannabis businesses. Programmatic advertising allows your business to run ads on websites targeting the demographic you’d like to reach. We combine targeted programmatic advertising with educational, long-form content to generate new business and help destigmatize cannabis. It’s a way for us to reframe the cannabis conversation and create brand awareness in the digital space.

– Corporate social responsibility and community initiatives: In states like Colorado, where recreational cannabis is legal, our industry is blamed for everything from an increase in homelessness to pollution to crime. And after more than 80 years of prohibition, the stigma surrounding cannabis keeps many would-be consumers from setting foot in a dispensary. A corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative is an excellent way to make an impact in your community and tear down the stigma that keeps too many people from trying cannabis.

Colorado community members see Lightshade employees volunteering to support food-insecure populations through organizations like Denver Urban Gardens, families experiencing homelessness through the Gathering Place and Colorado Homeless Families or contributing to programs that help veterans like Project Sanctuary (among others). Because of our work, the broader community appreciates our industry’s efforts to help.

– Loyalty programs: Loyal customers want rewards, and that’s understandable. After all, repeat customers have an immeasurable impact on your business. Not only do they return week after week, but they are also your biggest brand ambassadors. Referral traffic is critical for organic business growth and there’s no better way to inspire devotion than by offering a loyalty program.

– Customer education: Knowledge is power, and education is the key to tearing down the longstanding stigma surrounding cannabis. That’s why education is a crucial part of our overall customer service strategy. Customers need to feel comfortable asking questions to find and select the right products, and knowledge inspires confidence in seeking out new products.

Inspiring customer loyalty is difficult for any retail-based industry, and it’s even more challenging when what you’re selling has a history of prohibition. It’s taken years of experimentation, but these tips are simple tactics we use to bring in new business and tear down the longstanding stigma surrounding cannabis.

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