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Build Promotions that Empower Cannabis Customers and Budtenders

cannabis retail discounting marketing magic merchandising profitable retail sales Apr 22, 2024

Do you ever struggle to understand the mathematics behind a promotion while considering a purchase? You’re not alone.

Studies reveal that people often find basic calculations difficult, and this interruption during their purchasing journey can tank an otherwise well-thought-out promotion. 

Your customers' ability to understand a promotion often relies on their budtender.

Your Budtenders need to quickly understand the benefits of promotion and communicate them clearly to your customers. Otherwise, your promotion could fail, especially if it is too complex. 

Discount structures are filled with percentages, minimum purchase requirements, and confusing exclusions.  Confusion breeds frustration, and frustrated customers walk away empty-handed.

Your dispensary menu is no place for a math maze. So what can you do? 

Design simple promotions that allow for the following:

  • Cognitive Ease for Customers: People generally prefer simple choices. Complex promotions require mental effort to decipher, which could lead to decision fatigue and lost sales. Keeping your promotions clear and easy to understand allows customers to focus on the value proposition, increasing confidence in their purchase decisions.
  • Confidence Explanations by Budtenders: Budtenders are the face of your promotional strategy. If they struggle to explain the mechanics of a discount, it can lead to hesitation and a less convincing sale. Straightforward promotions empower your Budtenders to confidently answer customer questions and effectively highlight the benefits.

Simplicity doesn't have to be boring.  You can leverage psychological triggers like limited-time offers and bundled products to create a sense of urgency and value.  

The key is to ensure the promotion's mechanics are crystal clear, allowing customers and Budtenders to navigate it easily.

A well-trained budtender can be your secret weapon when it comes to promotions.  


Understanding the Purchase Journey:

  • The Budtender as the Guide: Customers often think of your Budtender as a knowledgeable guide. To understand the needs of the customer and be able to guide them toward the right products based on their needs. Check out this handy blog on how to transform your team.
  • The Customer as the Consumer: Customers coming into the store have a set occasion or location as to why they’re purchasing cannabis. This defines what our team calls ‘the set-in-setting,’ which can be teased out of them through open-ended questions. 


Studies show 70% of customers entering the dispensary do not have a product already picked out leaving room to explore options based on the budtender's recommendations, including guiding them to your promotions.

But how can Budtenders better understand your customers?


Beyond Demographics: A Holistic Customer View

While demographics provide a valuable starting point, a well-rounded understanding of how your customers and Budtenders support purchasing. 

What are some key factors:

  • Customer Needs and Preferences: What are your customers looking for in a cannabis product? How do your Budtenders connect them with the right products? What are your Budtenders looking for in a product? How could this bias their recommendations? 
  • Buying Habits and Frequency: How often do your customers typically purchase? Do they prefer bulk buys or smaller, more frequent purchases? Do your Budtenders know how to identify these customers? Tailoring promotions to buying habits (loyalty programs, limited-time discounts) can incentivize repeat business.


Equipping Your Budtenders for Promotional Success: Decoding the "6 Ps"

For your Budtenders to become promotion powerhouses, they need a clear understanding of the strategic thinking behind your promotions.  Here's a breakdown of the "6 Ps" that will empower them to connect customers with the right products:

  1. Purposeful Promotions:
  • Goal Setting: What are we hoping to achieve with this promotion? Increase brand awareness, boost sales of a specific product, or clear slow-moving inventory? Budtenders can tailor their pitch to align with the promotion's objective.
  1. Pinpointing Your People:

Not all promotions are created equal. Budtenders need to understand the target customer for each promotion.

  • Customer Segmentation: Is the promotion aimed at budget-conscious customers seeking value deals, or are we targeting experienced users interested in premium products? Once defined, Budtenders can effectively highlight how the promotion aligns with their needs and preferences.
  1. Perfecting Promotional Period:

Understanding the promotional timeframe is crucial for Budtenders:

  • Start and End Dates: Clear communication regarding the promotion's active period ensures customers understand the urgency to capitalize on the offer.
  • Creating a Sense of Urgency: Limited-time promotions can incentivize immediate purchase decisions. Budtenders can leverage this timeframe to encourage customers to act before the deal ends.
  1. Promotion Placement: Spreading the Word

Knowing where the promotion is advertised empowers Budtenders to guide customers effectively:

  • Omnichannel Marketing: Is the promotion advertised online, in-store signage, or through your loyalty program? Budtenders can direct customers to the relevant platforms for further information.
  1. Positioning the Promotion: Benefits over Buzzwords

Simplicity and clear communication are key to successful promotions.  Here's how Budtenders can effectively position promotions:

  • Focus on Value: Avoid marketing jargon. Budtenders should highlight the concrete benefits the promotion offers customers, such as savings, value-added products, or the opportunity to try new strains at a discounted price.
  • Psychological Appeal: Round numbers and limited-time offers can trigger a sense of urgency and value in customers, and budtenders can adjust their sales pitch accordingly.
  1. Profitability: Never Lose Sight of the Bottom Line

Track your results and analyze the impact of your promotion on your profitability.

  • Profit Matters: Are we offering a discount to protect our profit margins, or are we willing to take a slight hit to achieve another strategic goal? Understanding the financial implications allows Budtenders to answer customer questions about value and pricing confidently.


Empowering Budtenders:  A Win-Win Situation

By understanding these "6 Ps" of promotions, your Budtenders become valuable players in your sales strategy.  

They can connect with customers on a personal level, confidently answer questions, and effectively position promotions to drive sales results.

What are two tactics you can use to make promotions more attractive and easy for a budtender to understand? 

  1. Percentage Play: When choosing a discount percentage, consider the desired effect:
  • Bold Attention: Round numbers (25% off) grab attention and create a perception of a significant saving.
  • Urgency Factor: Precise discounts with decimals (24.7% off) imply a more calculated offer and create a sense of urgency to act before the deal disappears.

  1. The Power of Bundles: Bundled products can be highly appealing to customers:
  • Divisibility Matters: Bundles with prices easily divisible by the number of items (e.g., 3 for $30) feel more transparent and practical to customers.
  • Clarity is Key: Confusing bundle pricing can deter purchases. Budtenders should be able to explain the individual product costs within the bundle clearly.

These are just two psychological factors your Budtenders can support and communicate to ensure your promotional efforts are successful. 

Crafting clear and compelling promotions is not easy.  

Confusing discount structures can lead to frustration for not only your customers but also your Budtenders, leading to lost sales and potentially harming the customer’s perception of the brand.

This is where a customer-centric approach shines. You can transform promotions into powerful sales drivers by prioritizing cognitive ease for your customers and equipping your Budtenders with the tools they need.

Your dispensary isn't a testing ground for the next math Olympian; create a positive and profitable promotional experience for everyone involved.

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