• Jeffrey Harris

Cannabis Retail Guide for the Holiday Season

Brace yourselves, winter is coming.

No, the White Walkers were last year, but what's actually coming could be a close second to the brutal cold fronts, and just as inevitable: holiday shoppers *shiver*. Though only slightly less dangerous, the chaos holiday shopping brings is on par with how the Walkers roll into town, both in-store and online:

  • The average consumer spends over $1,200 on holiday gifts

  • Average holiday shopper purchased 16 gifts during the 2018 holiday season

2019/20 forecasts are expecting sales to jump between 4.5% and 5% from November into January, amounting to about $1.1 t-t-t-trillion in that span What's known as the retail sector's most "lucrative" and "important" season, the last few months of each calendar year will have retailers waking up with cold sweats. And for good reason: it accounts for almost 1/3 of some retailer’s total sales for the year.


These are nice general retail stats and all, but you already knew what kind of calamity couponers can cause to your checkout line, but at the same time, positively affecting your bottom line. But do they really impact the cannabis industry?

Boy, do they.

Seasonal Stats

I present exhibit A- the cannabis retail sales in Colorado, from BDS Analytics:

  • November 2017: $121.2 million

  • December 2017: $130.3 million

January 2018: $119.7 million

That’s not all. Sales in California last year, where legal sales were "only conducted through medical channels" came out to:

  • November: $233 million

  • December: $259 million

Clearly not all months of the season are created equal, and the same could be said for the holidays they play host to. Each one has its own personal twist, but all of them play into the timeless and sacred tradition of “taking a walk” with your sibling/relative before everyone sits down for the meal. But don’t worry, your secret is safe with us.


get a head start on Green Wednesday

Before we even get to Thanksgiving weekend we have the equivalent to “the Black Friday of cannabis”- Green Wednesday. Taking place the day before Thanksgiving Day, Green Wednesday has turned "normally one of the slowest days for retail" into the "biggest cannabis holiday after 4/20."


Our own data shows Green Wednesday brought 71% more sales than an average Wednesday. Meanwhile, the cannabis delivery service Eaze reported "deliveries [on Green Wednesday] almost doubled those of a regular Wednesday last year," with a 136% increase in deliveries made by retail partners.


It's even resurrected trends on different cannabis products, with vapes and edibles making strong waves around this time in the cannabis marketplace in recent years, according to Adloop CEO Josh Segal. Put bluntly by the author of the Yahoo! article:


"Sales increases were attributed to increased customer traffic. Translation: this means is that the sales spikes were mostly due to more people buying weed, rather than the same customers buying more pot."


big sales on Black Friday

Right on deck is Black Friday, more universally celebrated at any store with a checkout counter. But cannabis retailers shouldn’t scoff just because we had such a lucrative holiday two days ago. Now is not the time to rest on our laurels. According to our own data, Black Friday last year had by far the most money spent.


But here’s the kicker: Black Friday actually had fewer transactions than Green Wednesday, meaning people spent more money per purchase than on any other day of the year.


Friday is already the busiest day of the week, so not only did cannabis users come out for their own Black Friday (on Wednesday), but they also came out again for the regularly scheduled Black Friday- on Friday. Apparently the combination of turkey, stuffing, and a full day of football will make anyone’s neighborhood dispensary a Thanksgiving staple.



Bottom line, your dispensary should be preparing for Black Friday:

  • attract in the month before

  • engage in the weeks before

  • prepare in the days before

  • follow-up in the days following the holiday

We get a few weeks of tranquility after Black Friday, but retailers aren’t out of the storm just yet because Christmas is just around the corner.

Have a Merry-juana Christmas

Now these season starts could be so impressive for a number of reasons. For instance:


a) A lot of people like "take a walk" (or three) to alleviate the stress of being with their family for a while

Or...

b) a lot of people turn to ol' Mary Jane to spark up new Turkey Day or Yuletide traditions

Or both.


And we’re happy to report it’s probably more than you think. 54% of Americans who smoke weed are parents, and Eaze also saw a 90% increase in “CBD-dominant purchases among consumers ages 66 and older."


So consumers have already started hunting for the best gifts, timing and price tag be damned. Now is the time for a marketing plan to make sure you don't get lost in the sea of holiday sales your customers have to sort through, making sure you get a nice boost in sales over the holidays.


That's where we come in.


As the leading dispensary technology in the cannabis industry, springbig’s cannabis CRM will show you how to prepare for the holidays to maximize sales opportunities and lock down some loyal customers (or schedule a demo and we'll actually walk you through it.)


The first step toward that freshly-wrapped sales bump you're so excited for is reaching your target market before they set out on their shopping rampages, so that you can be sure they do some damage in your dispensary. One of the most efficient (and underutilized) ways to build an audience is with SMS marketing- sending text messages directly to your customers to let them know of all the offers, sales, or coupons they can use in your dispensary loyalty program.

(If you don't know the true power of mobile marketing, quickly get your mind blown here and check back. It might just change any of your existing dispensary marketing ideas.)

Don’t forget to leave some of those kush infused cookies out for us.

leveraging your dispensary loyalty program


People deck the halls during the winter season because a little decoration goes a long way in stirring the holiday spirit. So wouldn’t it make sense to liven up your loyalty program with some seasonal cheer that stirs up engagement? When was the last time you tried something new?

Maybe take the holiday as a chance to experiment with new offers and opportunities. Below are some of the top strategies for leveraging your loyalty program this time of year.


Magnify the value of loyalty

They say a penny saved is a penny earned, but we say that the loyalty gained by a penny preroll is priceless! During the holiday season, consider driving more traffic to your dispensary by making purchases worth more points so customers feel like they are getting closer to getting a gift for themselves just by doing their holiday shopping at your store.

For example, you can send a coupon that doubles the points a customer earns on their next purchase. This kind of offer can be especially effective for unloading those hard-to-move products or introducing customers to higher-priced items.


Get your elves in on it

Santa might be moving that weight once a year, but he’s not a one man show (just don’t tell him I said that). We all know that good ol’ Kris Kringle couldn’t get the job done without his elves. The same goes for your dispensary- it takes the whole toy shop to fill the sleigh. Make sure your budtenders are ready to promote your loyalty program and talk to shoppers about the exclusive offers you have available.

Ever been told “it’s not what you said, it’s how you said it” and wondered how that made sense? We are here to tell you, because it matters when it comes to how your staff talk to customers about loyalty.

Instead of asking customers “do you want to sign up for loyalty,” tell your budtenders to take a more proactive approach. Ask your customers- “Do you have any loyalty points to redeem today?" or “Would you like to receive points on today’s purchase?”

Step up your text marketing

The season is all about connection. Each of the ways we celebrate these holidays are meant to bring us together, so why not use the fastest texting messaging engine in the industry to connect to your most loyal customers?

Text marketing gives you a direct line to your customers, so you’re not fighting an algorithm like on Facebook or Instagram. Not to mention if a customer is on your text marketing list, that means they want to hear from you. You’re seasonal promotions are sure to be doubly effective because you were actually invited to this holiday party, and you didn’t even have to spike the eggnog.

after Christmas specials

Of course, the last thing people probably want to worry about when they wake up Christmas morning to unwrap the bounty Santa left behind is their phone ringing. Once the holiday is finally here, consider giving folks a little time to recover before you start hitting them again.

In the interim, take a look at your inventory. You may find there are some products that you’ve sold out of quick, while other products were a little harder to unload. Once you’ve taken stock, start planning your last hoorah before the New Year.

For one, consider being transparent with your messages. People might appreciate knowing you made sure to have plenty of products for the season, and now you are giving them a deal on what is left. Try a message like:


"We overstocked for Christmas! Our mistake is your gain, get [offer here] off [insert item] from now until the New Year!"


  • Offer a discount to customers with a receipt from Christmas

  • Post-date loyalty points if they have a receipt from Christmas and sign up now for your program

  • Offer small incentives, like edibles or mystery eggs, as rewards for referrals, social likes, or large purchases.

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