by Linda DiProperzio
According to a report from Grandview Research, the legal cannabis market is “expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27 percent from 2021 to 2028.” With that in mind, owners of dispensaries will want to make sure their location is an inviting space to attract and retain customers. In order to achieve this, here are 22 design trends to get you started.
1. Open Floor Plans
MG Retailer reports that many dispensaries are shifting towards an open floor plan, negating the need for customers to stand at a counter and wait for product to be brought to them. An open floor plan allows patrons to browse at their leisure and ask questions when needed.
Create sections throughout the store to make items easier to find. For example, lotions, creams, and balms can make up one section, while tinctures can be in another area, and drinks and edibles are kept together. Cross-merchandising complementary items often translates to additional sales.
2. Modern Design
Dispensary owners are shying away from the convenience store look of the past in favor of a more modern aesthetic. Think clean lines, neutral palettes, and metal finishes that look both inviting and sophisticated.
Glass cases are gaining popularity in dispensaries, allowing customers to easily view products, and also giving the space a clean and modern look. Want the look of glass without the hazards? Opt for acrylic known for its glass-like clarity yet break-resistant structure. Showcase products with optimal viewing under a protective shield.
3. Modular Shelving and Displays
Whether it is to play with the overall look of the dispensary or a need to change things up due to inventory, modular options allow owners to easily change or alter their displays as planned or on a whim. Always be sure to keep high-ticket items safely stored either on the counter or wall-mounted (and space-saving) options. Mix styles for a simple, sleek, and safe shop.
Many dispensaries host events in the evening, so it is crucial that patrons can move around floor displays when needed. Movable, collapsible, portable, and knock down (KD) displays make scheduled and impromptu events easy.
4. Keeping it Clean
Customers prefer to browse through a well-organized store that is free from clutter. Not only does it make merchandise easier to find, but also lets customers know that there is product turnover and that the store is being kept clean.
5. Safety First
Shoppers are still COVID-conscious, so consider keeping plastic barriers up so customer service can talk to employees in a safe manner. Setting up areas for hand sanitizer is also a good idea. If you are over plain-looking safety barriers, choose custom acrylic partitions that not only protect, but are also a brand-building opportunity for your business with logos or slogans etched on them.
6. Mix it Up
Dispensary owners can make their store stand out — no matter its size — by choosing a variety of displays to create a unique design. Think a mix of open shelving units, countertop displays, and horizontal and vertical store fixtures. Make it monotone, two colors or mixed materials like acrylic and metal or wood. Clean display lines also help sales.
7. Reach New Heights with Pedestals
Free up counter space by placing items or smaller display cases on pedestals. Alternatively, you can flip clear acrylic boxes over and use them as both a case and a riser with items both under and on top of it. Placing clear, color, or customized (logo, brand, or slogan) risers around your store is another easy way to display products, signage, or brochures.
8. Add Signage
It is important in any business to highlight your products, special deals, and discounts to keep customers informed and engaged. Place signage on counters, hang them from walls, and promote your brand, merchandise categories, or specific products via signage outside your location with custom banners or even a chalkboard sign and changeable chalk markers.
9. Bring in Some Color
While the clean look is in, pops of color can still be added to the store’s design to make it stand out. Displays and lighting in calming colors such as blue and green work well in dispensaries. Transparent green acrylic pedestals add color and functionality.
10. Limit Touching
Choose display jars that allow visitors to smell the product without exposing inventory, which will limit any unnecessary touching. Display and sample jars will also be a time saver for employees who do not have to open jars for customers.
11. Make Room for Technology
To encourage contactless payments, dispensaries are setting up areas for tablet stands so that customers can easily make purchases and place orders with limited interaction or for pick up.
12. Create a Consult Area
It is important to create an area for customers who have questions or need guidance and would like to speak to an employee or practitioner in private. This is especially important for first-time visitors who may not know where to start and might feel self-conscious around other shoppers. By making your customers feel comfortable, they are more likely to return.
13. Create an Instagram Space
Shoppers, especially Gen Z, love to take photos for their Instagram page. “When you think about making an entire space Instagram-able, you have got to consider what is going to inspire someone to want to take a picture and share it with their friends,” architect Gi Paoletti said. “What is going to create that ‘wow’ factor?”
14. Create a Curbside Pickup Specific Area
Curbside and express pickup became popular (and in many cases, mandatory) during the pandemic and a number of customers want to hold onto that convenience. Make sure there is space in your dispensary to fulfill these orders.
15. Make Room for Extra Merchandise
Some dispensaries sell shirts, hats, and other merchandise with their logo, so garment racks and shelves that can be easily moved are a necessity. If you are not currently merchandising your brand, you may want to consider it as another marketing campaign and potential revenue stream.
16. Display Artwork
Whether it is images of certain products that you carry or artwork that best represents the overall vibe of the dispensary, do not keep the walls bare. This is also a great way to add some color into your design. Likewise, stock, or custom wall-mounted displays and pedestals provide a product and branding focal point.
17. Use Lighting to Create a More Inviting Space
Lighting plays a big part in the design and feel of any retail location. Forgo florescent lighting in favor of chandeliers or pendants that can encourage shoppers to stay longer and spend more. LED lighting also provides clear optics without the heat — plus, it conserves energy and reduces your electricity costs.
No matter how many of these tips you end up using, they offer quick and fairly easy ways to boost customer engagement and sales. Whether you are a new dispensary just starting out or have been in business for years, consider these points to make your brand stand out from the competition.
Linda DiProperzio is a professional journalist, content creator specializing in event and retail spaces, and a writer at shopPOPdisplays.com, a USA-based leading manufacturer of stock and custom retail point-of-purchase (POP) displays and merchandise with locations in New Jersey and Florida.