By Alexa Davis
There are nearly 28 million small businesses in America, and they are making a formidable impact on the U.S. economy. Small businesses, including those in the cannabis sector, provide 55% of all jobs and account for approximately 54% of all U.S. sales. According to the 2015 Marijuana Business Factbook, for every $1 of legally sold marijuana, at minimum an additional $2.60 of economic value enters the American economy.
The customer base of small businesses, especially those in cannabis, plays a critical role in the economic equation. Grasping the impact that their existing, loyal customers have on their long-term business viability, owners are rapidly refocusing and targeting their time and budgets onto digital technology. While loyalty may be a quaint, old-fashioned notion for some, digital loyalty is gaining ground and quickly becoming a power tool in the cannabis industry.
Developing an intimate relationship with customers using digital technology increases trust, strengthens loyalty and provides a durable advantage over competitors. The key to long-term profitability is knowing how to how to reach, capture and engage customers, while also effectively tailoring products and services to a consumer’s individual preferences. In the fiercely competitive cannabis industry, the key challenge for dispensaries is how to reach their mobile shoppers, capture information, and then translate the data into targeted, relevant and engaging communications.
E-commerce is one area where retailers are honing in, allowing them to tailor their digital efforts. Point of sale software companies and digital cannabis platforms have become highly sought after because they enable cannabis brands to effectively target and sell to the top 20% of their customer base which drives 80% of revenues. When cannabis customers engage with digital touchpoints, be it an in-store iPad to peruse inventory, or on a smartphone, they are offering valuable access to their digital buying behaviors. Now connected, the shopper will receive targeted information about the products they care about. Digital technology is how to keep them engaged and purchasing.
Smartphones have overtaken tablets as the means to research, compare and transact in our digital world. Recent studies conducted on digital consumer behavior show that most consumers will opt for a mobile website over a retailer’s app although the experience on the mobile web is not as supportive as on native applications like iOS and Android. What is interesting to note in the commerce studies is that customers who use a retailer’s app will not only visit the store more often, but will spend more money each time they shop. Supporting customers with digital technology is the key to facilitating stronger retail performance and revenue.
With the market for tech quickly changing, the key questions have become: how does a cannabis brand implement the right digital solution and how can they encourage customers to stay connected?
A space to watch as technology companies battle it out.