How do customers pick from a plethora of products that grows almost daily? Cannabis retailers are just getting a handle on branding and merchandising, so imagine what customers must experience as they attempt to surf the merchandise tsunami.
One word that surfaces from the marketing frenzy: curating. An emerging business model, curating helps customers sort through the sea of products, many of which consumers never imagined existed, doing so in a way that makes customers feel comfortable, safe, and maybe even delighted.
That’s the idea behind subscription service Lucky Box Club. Once a month, members receive a box of curated cannabis products based on their membership profile. For $150, recipients get a product assortment with up to 30 percent in savings, plus other promotions.
“Members select their preferences only, not their products,” said Lucky Box Club co-owner Eliza Maroney. We curate and hand-fill each box based on a member’s preferences. Members never know exactly what products will be in their box.
“We also include art prints, educational pamphlets, music downloads, accessories, and promotional deals. Our goal is to provide members with an awesome cannabis experience.”
Based in Sacramento, California, Lucky Box Club currently serves areas within 100 miles of San Francisco, Sacramento, and San Jose, with their own delivery drivers. They have plans for expansion into Southern California during 2018.
Currently, Maroney said, Lucky Box members are diverse. “We’ve had retirees order THC body butter for tennis elbow, working mothers order vape carts for discreet vaping, and mixed-martial-arts fighters order CBD tinctures for muscle recovery,” she said. “It’s split 60:40, women to men, mainly over the age of 30. Members include connoisseurs who order products they can’t get at their local dispensaries, as well as new cannabis users who aren’t interested in going to a dispensary for whatever reason.”
Maroney’s business model serves to address what might be called the “quiet” demographic—those consumers who don’t feel comfortable visiting a dispensary and who also seek expert recommendations. And, really, who doesn’t love to open a box and find a pleasant surprise? Ask Amazon about that strategy.
“Retirees, teachers, parents, professionals, and others who don’t want to be seen at a dispensary and prefer discreet delivery make up much of our membership,” Maroney commented.
So, what are Lucky Box Club members buying?
“Chateau Cannabis Company is definitely a favorite. It’s a sweet-smelling pineapple hash plant strain that comes in a nitrogen-sealed can that helps preserve the smell, taste, and quality of the flowers until opened,” Maroney said. “Suicide Girls’ ZERO cartridge is another hit. It’s a sativa-dominant hybrid vape cartridge infused with THC-V, which acts as an appetite suppressant. Some ladies (and health-conscious gents) are loving these. Medicine Box is our most popular edible. It’s a low-dose lemon blueberry white chocolate truffle.”
As far as Lucky Box members’ other preferences, microdosing is hot right now, according to Maroney. The product criteria considered by the Lucky Box team has other elements that help identify products that will resonate with their members. As the members learn and identify their personal preferences, the data they provide informs Maroney’s decisions on buying.
“Microdosing is certainly the way to go for many of our canna-curious members. We’re always on the hunt for new, innovative, beautiful, quality products,” she explained. “Low-dose edibles are always at the top of list. It’s exciting to find a product that contains 3mg to 5 mg THC per piece. Our goal is to find the least amount necessary for the desired effect.
“We look at four main things when assessing new products: quality; the story; branding, packaging, and design; and innovation, originality, and uniqueness,” Maroney added.
Regarding quality, Maroney said a high THC or CBD percentage doesn’t necessarily mean a great product. “We want our members to know their medicine is safe for consumption and up to the highest production standards in the industry,” she said. “Product safety, thoughtful dosage, accurate lab testing, organic and Clean Green practices, and excellence in cultivation, production, and manufacturing processes are all things we look for in our brands.”
She also takes into account the story behind the product. Who makes it, and how was it made? “Small, craft, artisanal, and family farmers and manufacturers with a unique, amazing, or quality story behind their products are our main inspiration,” she said. “Each box sold helps support one or more small California businesses, and we love to share that ‘beyond-the-box’ story with our members. Our goal is to bring awareness of amazing new products to our members while helping smaller producers reach new customers.”
Branding, packaging, and design encompass a number of issues. Is the product packaged safely? How does it look and feel? What is the user experience? How is the brand representing cannabis? Is it professional, thoughtful, beautiful, appealing, etc.? “Does it aesthetically feel like it relates to LBC and our alliance brands? These are a few of the questions we ask when looking at new brands and products,” Maroney said.
She said she and her team also “look for innovative, unique, and new products. From THC-infused, chocolate-covered espresso beans to sublingual tinctures to CBD bath bombs to the latest flower genetics, we seek out the latest and greatest for our members.”
So far all is going well, Maroney said. Lucky Box Club joins a growing market for concierge or curated subscription businesses that incorporate online convenience with super-high-end customer service. Increasingly, traditional shopping is forced to compete with the joy of touchscreen convenience. Meal delivery services like Blue Apron and Freshly, fashion subscriptions like Stitch Fix and Trunk Club, the Dollar Shave Club, and other subscription services all aim to provide convenience and value to customers who consider traditional shopping an inconvenient time-suck. Increasingly, robust sales are about hitting the target when it comes to the new-customer experience, whether the experience is out of the box or down at the local brick-and-mortar.
Regardless who they are or from where they come, everyone loves a deal.
For California cannabis businesses interested in working with Lucky Box Club, Maroney said, “Contact us at [email protected] or send us a vendor inquiry through our contact page.”