Give yourselves a high five! As smoke shop owners, it looks like you’re in the right business with the right business model. According to a new cannabis industry report, “A society in transition, an industry ready to bloom,” 63% of current and potential cannabis users are more likely to purchase their products at physical retail locations.
Still — looking at the opposite side of the equation, the same report indicates that one-third of recreational users prefer to purchase their products online. That’s a significant number of customers to let get away. To bring them in you’ll need to pull out the stops to deliver a positive customer experience. You’ll do this by establishing personal connections, playing to their egos, and providing services that e-commerce sites can’t offer.
Be a Resource
The internet makes it super simple to buy products. To motivate people to make the effort to visit your shop, you need give them superior service. It begins with training you staff to be friendly, available, attentive and able to anticipate each customer’s needs. Make sure you and your staff know everything about your store and its products. Talk with your vendors, ask questions, study their catalogs and websites, and make sure you know the brand and products inside out. Your customers will appreciate that you’ve done your homework, and you’ll earn their loyalty by providing quality products that they can trust.
Be a Home Away From Home
Since people can order products from the comforts of home, you need to give them a reason to get up off the couch and come to your shop. Start by keeping your shop clean, well organized and well lit (if people can’t find it or see it, they can’t buy it). Make sure every single person who comes through the door is made to feel important (whether they are buying or browsing) by staff that truly have their best interest and needs at heart. While not all stores have the luxury of space, consider carving out a lounge section in your store for customers to sit and relax. Free WiFi is always appealing to customers (they may be texting their friends to come in and check out the deals they’ve just found).
Paying for an internet purchase is click and done. Nobody wants to wait in line, so make sure your checkout process is as fast, secure and hassle-free as possible. When customers arrive at the checkout area, be sure they are the center of your attention, and use modern POS equipment that accepts all the ways people may want to pay, including EMV credit cards and NFC payments like Google Pay, Paypal and Apple Pay. If it make sense, put in an ATM for your customer’s convenience. After the transaction, keep your business in the forefront of your customer’s memory by including a business card, flyer (always with a coupon to be used on a return visit) or refrigerator magnet with your store name and address in the bag along with their purchase.