Four Ways to Attract Cannabis Shoppers on a Budget

Cannabis Shoppers-on-a-budget-mgretailer
PHOTO: Karen Roach / Shutterstock.com

Everybody loves a deal. Like a treasure hunt—it’s the feeling of having found a way to acquire your desire and at the lowest cost.

As a rule of thumb, medical cannabis is always less expensive than recreational. Thus, recreational users must negotiate pricing that can be prohibitive and, with so many products, it’s frustrating for anyone to pay top dollar for an item that ultimately doesn’t hit the spot.

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Medical and recreational consumers who prefer to use legal product are often forced to be bargain hunters, as they would be with any other consumer item.

Especially these days; a diverse group of consumers are thrifty for a variety of reasons—older Boomers on fixed budgets, working class folks with families, college students with loans, and so on. There are also shoppers that are obsessed with getting the lowest price on anything they buy.

Unfortunately, that save-money mindset can lead cannabis shoppers to illicit products, sold by unlicensed vendors. Legal cannabis products are not inexpensive compared to products on the illegal market, which likely has contributed to issues with bootleg nicotine and THC vape products and the related, ongoing health emergency.

So, offering discounts and promotions can pay off in a variety of ways for licensed cannabis retailers. Most aforementioned consumers are looking for special offers, pop-up sales, discounts, loyalty promotions, and products with lots of buzz for their buck. They could become loyal to a brand or their favorite vendor that suits their needs. Retailers who offer special perks and earned extras for regulars can keep a steady stream of shoppers, even in slower periods.

For consumers who have concerns about illicit products; licensed vendors and manufacturers in legal states comply with testing and labeling regulations, and that results in higher operating costs, on top of state fees and taxes.

Here are tips for retailers and consumers, on how to spread the love, get the best deals on quality products, as well as savings benefits:

Outdoor-grown dried flower

Outdoor or “sun-grown” cannabis is generally less expensive than flower that’s been cultivated indoors using advanced growing technology. Top-shelf brands many times are indoor-grown, in controlled, sterile environments and nurtured with nutrient blends, utilizing the latest in agricultural automation and technology—and that all adds to the final retail price.

Cultivation of outdoor crops is less costly and can result in hearty, potent strains. Some consumers prefer strains grown outdoors, which many believe creates a more complex profile of plant compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids—all believed to provide a fuller “entourage effect.”

Iconic growing areas like the Emerald Triangle, Hawaii, and several others often boast of their region’s unique “terroir”—specific climactic conditions,  soil, and sun—that produce superior outdoor strains, more valuable than vintage wine grapes. That said, in summer 2018, Willamette Week said Oregon had the lowest price on outdoor-grown cannabis, at an “all-time low” of $398.00 a pound.

A knowledgeable budtender should be able to guide customers to local outdoor-grown favorites and show strains that are a special value. Consumers can check for brands with nonprofit trade organization CertifiedSungrown.org, which certifies sun grown cannabis growers for authenticity.

Special promotions

Many savvy cannabis shoppers will go to great lengths to save money on their purchases. Always on the lookout for special sales, daily discounts, and brand promotions, there are ways to make sure to encourage repeat business with this bargain loving demographic. Loyalty programs that reward customers for repeat purchases produce results that can be tracked through a store’s POS (point-of-sale) system.

If there’s lingering inventory that’s taking up too much shelf space, get rid of that shopworn stuff! Use fun signage to attract interest and spruce up the display so it doesn’t look dingy. Offer a two-for-one or percentage discount. Markdowns can be a real treat for customers short on expendable income and will help you free up a spot for something new.

Work with wholesale vendors for in-store special events where you can collect email addresses, encourage sales, and meet lookie-loos. Highlight holidays and peak sales periods by offering deals on bundles of product, gift sets, or seasonally-themed items.

Believe it or not, cannabis shoppers also search review sites, like Yelp.com, for categories like “cheap cannabis prices” in any legal city or state. Offering deals, great customer service, and comfortable surroundings will get any store or dispensary a few more five-star ratings and avoid those bad reviews.

Budget-minded brands

The cannabis consumer mindset often defaults to the very finest sticky-icky—rare, top shelf strains with high THC levels that can easily demand $20 a gram in top U.S. recreational markets. Not to mention those products that come honey oil-dipped, kief-rolled, hashish-sprinkled, and sourced from the finest organic, exotic herbals. The sky’s the limit when it comes to getting high.

But there also are brands that specialize in offering quality-consistent cannabis at affordable prices, for folks that like to be economical. Brands like Old Pal (available throughout California and Nevada) and Oakland-based Farmer’s Market offer affordable prices on dried flower. Old Pal brand’s style, in particular, feels retro and recalls the era when cannabis was inexpensive enough to be shared socially.

Several affordable California cannabis brands can be found at Bud.com.

Delivery services

Cannabis delivery services are emerging as a cost-effective option for consumers, especially if they live in an area that has no nearby retail facility. Without the costs associated with opening and operating a storefront dispensary, several regional discount delivery services have sprung up in what is a newly emerging and growing industry category.

Northern California-based The Flower Company has been referred to as the “Costco of Cannabis” because of its membership business model. Members pay $119.00 annually for a membership and can order and schedule delivery online with discounts of at least forty percent under retail price. Non-members can also order, but do not receive discounts or expedited delivery. The service currently serves the Bay Area and some surrounding areas.

Regional delivery services are numerous and vary by market with many offering sales and seasonal specials.

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