Getting Your Dispensary 4/20 Ready

It’s April, which means that hundreds of dispensaries across legal states will be preparing themselves for the International Day of Cannabis Celebrations on April 20, better known as 4/20.

Historically, this date has been a day of profit for those in the cannabis industry, with sales last year exceeding $45 million across the USA, according to MJ Freeway. We can expect this number to spike with this being the first 4/20 that recreational cannabis can be purchased legally in California.

We’re just a couple weeks away from 4/20, and your dispensary is best to start preparing NOW for the big day to ensure maximum profit. Here are some tips for getting your dispensary 4/20 ready:



Your POS system and other cannabis trend data can help you predict and prepare for sales trends for specific holidays and times of the year; longitudinal data should be able to tell you what to expect for 4/20. When you go one step further and work with a larger cannabis data analysis firm like MJ Freeway, Headset or Baker, for instance, data will at your fingertips that will help you adequately plan for how much sales you can expect to see on 4/20.

Plug into the data available for recreationally legal cannabis states, to see how sales have been impacted by 4/20, and be sure to take detailed records this year on your sales, sales strategies, and trends you see so to be able to create your own intel for your dispensary on 4/20 to help you in future years.



While your POS system operator should be able to assure you of a strong uptime record, 4/20 is not the day that you want to have your servers crash. Whoever your ISP, or whatever POS system you use, do a check in about the increased traffic to servers that day and whether uptime can be guaranteed.

Where able, for days like 4/20 it’s always a good idea to have a contingency plan for if your server goes offline. Is your POS able to run in offline mode? What will be at stake in the event of a server crash, and what can you do with your technology partners to ensure 100% uptime or an offline running plan?



It goes without saying, but you can’t just maintain regular inventory levels on the cannabis enthusiast holiday of the year. Looking back at the MJ Freeway data, in 2017, cannabis sales 4/20 rose an average of 13%, both with more people consuming on that day, and more money being spent each transaction. The average cost of each transaction rose $10 and exceeded the predicted $6 rise in cost per transaction.

Using this knowledge for 2018, and knowing that this year is a giant year for cannabis, what type of increase in inventory makes the most sense? If you know that people bought $10 more per transaction last April 20, how can your dispensary make that extra $10, or $20, or $40 go into someone’s basket? Your pricing strategy on that day should account for the fact that you know people will spend more, giving you the opportunity to use your displays and floor plan, and customer experience strategy to guarantee a profit.



Your opportunity for customer retention is huge on 4/20, especially when you build in opportunities for customer loyalty within the big day. Give them an offer they can’t refuse to sign up to your loyalty program in terms of the perks you offer for signing on that day. Offer creative pricing, items for $4.20, or any other play on words, numbers or phrases for the event.

This may be the time that you’ll want to freshen your displays to appeal to certain niche audiences who may be coming out in celebration like the fitness community, or canna-moms who appreciate diverse consumption methods, convenience, and discretion. Use a logical floor plan layout to ensure that you get as many people in and out of the space as comfortable as possible without compromising customer experience.



You will be having so many more people come through the doors on the special day. While you don’t need to completely fortify your cannabis store, think about the ways that you can ensure you have a security presence, without compromising the customer experience.

Ensure that you have fine-tuned all the parts of your security plan, from your alarms to employee theft policies, to security staff, to threat detection, to ensuring your safe against cyberhacking will ensure you’re extra safe on the day you don’t want to have any kind of security breach.



Your budtenders should be adequately prepared and scheduled, in order to run a seamless April 20 at your cannabis dispensary. Ensure your employees are booked in advance and may even have the incentive to work on April 20.

Take the upcoming holiday of green as an opportunity to brush up on budtender training and an overview of ways to increase their professionalism so that your dispensary looks like the well-oiled cannabis retail machine it is. Also be prepared that some new customers who may be new to cannabis may be visiting you on that day, and you should be able to serve their needs adequately.



Don’t just think about being outside your store – take 4/20 as an opportunity to spread awareness of your dispensary around some of the biggest 4/20 celebrations in your state. Be adequately prepared with marketing materials and swag as well as an intentional engagement strategy to get your store on the radar of some enthusiastic consumers. Be sure you’re abiding by the advertising and marketing rules of your state through these processes; just because it’s 4/20 doesn’t mean compliance isn’t still key.



We leave the most important to last because compliance is the overarching principle of running a strong, stable, and completely legal cannabis business amidst the celebration. While it’s easy to get caught up in the buzz and excitement of the day, your store must be able to demonstrate compliance through every single process of the day while you experience an influx of customers.

By ensuring your POS and data servers are sound, getting your inventory management systems ready for an influx, using thoughtful sales strategies, upping your security where necessary, and being thoughtful about your marketing strategy you can ensure that your dispensary is as airtight with compliance on 4/20, and thus able to consistently demonstrate perfect compliance throughout the year.



Most of all, have fun. 4/20 is a great day to just enjoy being in the presence of like-minded people who share a common interest in cannabis. While being a great opportunity for profit, 4/20 serves as a great opportunity to reflect on all the great reasons you got into the cannabis business in the first place.

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