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Is Relevance more important than Personalization in Cannabis Retail?

cannabis retail downloadable loyalty May 06, 2024

Are You Missing Out?
Is Relevance more important than Personalization in Cannabis Retail?

Tap into relevance to compete with the store next door


New Cannabis retail stores open daily - once one store settles in, poof! Another dispensary opens less than a mile away on the same street. With intense competition closing in, the best Cannabis retailers are fighting to stay relevant for their customers.  


What will set your store apart? How will you retain and keep your customers loyal when a flashy, new store with deeper discounts opens next to yours? By implementing strategies based on data and focusing on the power of relevance/ 

Relevance is different from personalization. In Cannabis retail, you need both, but as an industry, we spend a lot of time discussing personalization and seem to miss relevance. 

Personalization in Loyalty Programs 

Having a loyalty program in place is only one aspect of the Cannabis retail customer journey. 

Cannabis retail owners can increase the relevance of their loyalty programs by offering personalized experiences, early access to new products, or limited buys. Exclusivity drives a sense of urgency and fear of missing out (FOMO) and can increase loyalty. 


Make your customers feel special and show them you appreciate their repeat business. Surprise your most loyal customers with rewards and ensure you segment them based on demographics or purchase behavior so you can stay relevant. 


Sending the same message or single email blast to all customers will no longer harvest the same sales. Customers generally see 5,000 ads a day, and staying relevant will help you break through the clutter of competing voices. 


Embracing relevance within your customer loyalty program will drive additional visits, increase average basket sizes, and increase engagement with these valuable customers. It will also have your competition next door wondering what you're doing because your parking lot is always packed—this is marketing innovation.

Personalization vs. Relevance.
What's the Difference?



The ultimate goal of personalization in Cannabis retail is to make customers feel unique, memorable, and emotionally connected to your brand, improving their overall experience.


Retail personalization aims to give customers a unique journey across every touchpoint and channel. The journey is based on historical data and real-time customer intent powered by your historical retail data. 


The bad news is that personalizing experiences for every customer is challenging in Cannabis retail right now.

To do this well, you’d need the amassed purchasing historical data without significant swings in customer behavior, without product availability blips, and at least ten years of industry trends to see opportunities for personalization for all customers clearly. It’s still early. 


When personalization goes wrong- it feels unnatural for customers. 


Have you ever received an ad for an item you had recently been talking about? It feels creepy. Sometimes, we accept ads for items we don't need, but these ads align with our purchasing behavior. This can also feel a little off. You may be vegetarian but have been researching macros, so you get an ad for a meat delivery service. Again, the ad could have done better. 


Personalization aims to connect customers to their shopping experience but only sometimes succeeds. 

Until we have amassed the data to inform relevant trends and assumptions, we won’t be able to create effective strategies that drive deeper customer connections in Cannabis retail. ,



Retail relevance is about crafting the best message for a specific time.

Savvy retailers are revamping loyalty programs to satisfy the modern customer's desire to feel individual. 


Relevance is vital. 


Imagine a program that tracks your gym visits and rewards you with discounts on fitness apparel or one that remembers your birthday and offers a free coffee on your special day. By using customer data to understand preferences and purchase habits, loyalty programs can tailor rewards, promotions, and communications to make them more enticing and relevant to each member.


These timely offers and messages ultimately create a more engaging and rewarding experience. 

Relevance in loyalty programs goes beyond just offering generic rewards. It's about understanding what motivates a specific customer and using that knowledge to personalize their experience. 

Here's a breakdown:

  • Customer Segmentation: Programs can group customers based on purchase history, demographics, or interests. A family-oriented grocery store might offer bonus points for buying diapers and baby food, while a young professional program could reward points for healthy pre-made meals.
  • Targeted Promotions: Imagine receiving emails with discounts on products you buy or loyalty app notifications for deals at your favourite store location. Relevance means promotions that align with your past behaviour, not a one-size-fits-all communication.
  • Dynamic Reward Structures: Some programs offer flexible points that customers can redeem for various rewards. Instead of just accumulating points for discounts, relevant programs allow customers to use points for exclusive experiences, early access to new products, or the opportunity to earn points faster during a specific window. 

Relevant messages should entice your customer to plan a trip to your store to score the deal, not hit the delete button. 


When dispensaries focus only on personalization, they miss out. 71% of consumers now say that all loyalty programs they've signed up for don't make them all that loyal. Where is this disconnect happening?  Because customers' needs change depending on the day, the weather, or their upcoming summer vacation. 


Innovative Cannabis retailers know that the only profitable promotion is the one that inspires customers to transact; that's relevance. When your promotion communicates the best message and is relevant to the customer's needs,  that customer will likely return because they got what they wanted at the right time and price. 


Now, let's look at how to invest in your Cannabis retail store's relevance to outsmart the competition and drive repeat visits from your customers. We'll tell you how streamlining your merchandising and managing your marketing tactics will drive your profitability. 


Let's get into it. 

Declutter the Shopping Experience

Have you ever walked into a store with so many signs competing for your attention that you blocked them all out? It happens to all of us. It occurs in Cannabis retail, too. 

There's a name for this: the Paradox of Choice. When presented with too many options, our brains go into overload mode. It takes too much effort to sort through all the options and decisions, so we often don't choose and leave with nothing. However, when stores show us fewer options, we can more easily select because less effort is involved. Our brains like shortcuts to conserve energy. So, make it simple. 


Here's how to start editing what your store offers. 

  • Merchandise products in-store in groups of 3s: By category, subcategory, Most popular, trending now, New/Seasonal. By limiting the options to three, we simplify the decision-making process and reduce the cognitive load on the customer.
  • Display an Anchor Product: A product that usually has a higher price point. When the brain sorts through the product information it’s given, it often uses comparison as a reference point for comparison. By presenting three options, you can strategically control the anchoring point and influence the customer's decision in your favour.
  • Tight Inventory Management: Reduce inventory overwhelm by conducting quarterly SKU rationalization. This will not only simplify customer decision-making but also reduce inventory-carrying costs for slow-moving products.
  • Clear Menu Presentation: Break up menus to present options with attention to how the price shows up so your customer can analyze the features and benefits beyond the price.

Relevance means offering a clean, decluttered, well-merchandised Cannabis retail store. Strategic merchandise displays will not only encourage multiple units in each transaction but also encourage product exploration. When customers can easily browse, compare a couple of brands, and quickly check out, they'll feel more confident and, therefore, have a great probability of repeat visits. This is how a well-thought-out inventory and merchandising strategy leads to conversion and loyalty. 

Loyalty is Based on Emotions, Not Transactions

While a good deal might initially drive customers through the door, it’s the emotional connection that fosters long-term loyalty. Crafting memorable in-store experiences by offering relevant promotions creates an emotional bond that is the foundation of long-term retail profitability.


Staying relevant in Cannabis retail through the use of loyalty programs and offering some level of personalization seems like a no-brainer. To inform this level of personalization, Cannabis retailers need to check in on more than just the demographics and purchasing behaviors. They need to stay in tune with what’s happening in customers’s lives from a cultural point of view. Different aspects of the customer’s life and life stages. Is Easter coming up? When is Memorial Day? How are your customers going to celebrate the 4th of July? 


The key to a profitable loyalty program lies in linking bi-weekly promotions and aligning the in-store experience. It creates a cohesive strategy that drives sales and long-term loyalty.

The Cannabis Retail Advantage

Being a leader in any industry is impossible to do alone. We don't have to tell you that Cannabis retail is moving quickly, and regulations can change instantly. Having a partner in your corner is essential. No matter what piece of the business you want to focus on, we have you covered. 


Streamlining the shopping experience, designing relevance within loyalty programs, and focusing on first-party data is only the beginning. 


Want more information on analyzing your customer data? Want to understand how your KPIs may influence loyalty and relevance? Let's go! 


Vetrina's expertise in Cannabis retail strategy is expansive, and we help savvy businesses leverage relevance to achieve their goals. 

Learn More Today

Expand your Cannabis retail revenue by leveraging loyalty. Did you know the average Cannabis customer visits a Cannabis store only eight times a year? Isn't that wild? That's because they're typically visiting three different retailers. We see that as untapped potential.


Download our exclusive Loyalty Program Guide customized for Cannabis retailers and brands.

You'll receive pro tips for creating an irresistible program that offers value and even a checklist for retailers looking to revamp their loyalty programs. 


No matter what stage your business is in, Vetrina can help guide you.  

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