For dispensaries that cater to both medical and recreational cannabis users, it is imperative to design your storefront in a way that appeals to both types of consumers. Leaning too far toward either side can make shoppers feel uncomfortable and unwelcome, causing them to turn to other dispensaries for their marijuana needs.
“It is all about ensuring a welcoming environment that lets your customers know they are important and that you will always be there for them,” Rhonda Kratz, SVP of Retail Operations for Ayr Wellness, said. “It is about meeting the customer and the patient where they are in their cannabis journey, so you might have a user who wants to engage with a bud bar to sniff, feel, and learn about the newest strains, whereas a medical patient might want more education on the biggest concentrates or dabs.”
In order for cannabis businesses to make their stores welcome to all customers who walk through their doors, Leaf Retailer has put together some design tips to help create that friendly and trusting atmosphere:
- Allow Room for Private & Secluded Areas
- Have Special Store Hours for Certain Customers
- Create a Fun and Relaxed Atmosphere
- Offer More Than Just Cannabis
- Keep Store Designs and Music Minimal
- Create Interactive Bud Bars
Allow Room for Private & Secluded Areas
Especially for the medical patients who may want some privacy when speaking with a budtender about their needs, setting aside a secluded area of your dispensary is perfect for those confidential conversations. This can be achieved by simply setting up some tables and chairs in a corner that is away from the main selling counter, or even going as far as setting up some room dividers or screens to make the area more private.
Have Special Store Hours for Certain Customers
Another way to make medical cannabis users feel more comfortable is by setting aside special store hours so they can shop and speak with budtenders without the business during regular store hours. Similarly to the way grocery stores opened during the height of the pandemic, dispensaries can either open the store early or close later to cater to these shoppers and make them feel more comfortable.
Create a Fun and Relaxed Atmosphere
Consumers should feel welcome and relaxed when they walk into your dispensary, and this can be done by adding pops of color and fun music to enjoy while they shop around. Keep from using monotone colors in your space, and if you do, offset it with some bright colors with wall pictures, product fixtures, or plants. Decorating your store with just one color and little to no knicknacks can create a sterile and unwelcoming environment.
Offer More Than Just Cannabis
Other merchandise such as apparel, lighters, and water pipes can add to the fun atmosphere in a dispensary. This is a great way for businesses to collaborate with one another and represent new brands in the store, as well as create impulse buys to increase basket sizes. According to Kratz, this fun merchandise allows for the customers to represent your brand, and as they explore and learn about new brands with different accessories, it just adds more experience to the store, a fun atmosphere, and another revenue stream.
Keep Store Designs and Music Minimal
While recreational cannabis users may appreciate funky store fixtures and wall hangings that stand out, medical users may feel too overwhelmed or out of place. Even though it is definitely important to give your dispensary character and create a fun atmosphere, beware not to go too overboard with bright colors or loud music. If you do want to play trendy music, keep it low to allow private conversations to happen between customers and budtenders.
Create Interactive Bud Bars
One cool way to create an exciting shopping experience is by installing an interactive bud bar area where consumers can see, smell, and feel new strains that you are offering. Be sure to have a knowledgeable budtender on hand in this area so they can explain all of the cool features for new products and build customer relationships.
“Use a combination of a variety of different touch points and experiences with interactive displays so customers can touch, smell, and appeal to all of their senses while also being aesthetically pleasing,” Kratz said. “With either new products or new merchandise, it is important to balance how customers are learning and picking up educational information through interactive design elements that make it fun, but also informational.”
The biggest tip that Kratz has for cannabis dispensaries is to listen to your customers. Get feedback on your store design and let them tell you what they want to see or experience to create the best possible atmosphere. This will not only help to establish solid relationships between you and your customers, but also create a vibe that will attract new shoppers to your dispensary.