If you’re marketing for dispensaries, you probably know that SEO is one of your biggest levers to drive consistent traffic and orders to your menu.
A common tactic many dispensaries use to capture local traffic is to set up a location page with business hours, directions, and more.
Sounds like a good idea? Well it is! Kinda.
We recently pulled a page drop-off report for 15 dispensary locations across the United States to see if users dropped off after landing on a dispensary’s location page.
The results may shock you. Keep reading to see the results plus what you can do with the data.
Before we get into the results, let’s have a really quick refresh on the purpose of SEO, and your website.
Most of your organic and paid marketing activities, and website optimizations serve one goal: to make it easier for customers to find and place an order with you – or what we call capturing orders.
Google also wants to make it easy for customers to order from dispensaries or any store they’re looking to buy from.
When I search “dispensary new jersey”, Google returns multiple queries, because the search engine can’t infer how I want to order.
Some of the queries you see include:
This is where it gets interesting.
Location pages will often rank either above or alongside menu pages for localized searches.
Now put yourself in the customer's shoes: If you land on a location page - instead of a menu page - you then have at least one more click to find that location’s menu. And sometimes it’s 2 clicks, or 3 clicks, or some scrolling, or all of the above. (We’ve seen it all!)
Our assumption was: the more clicks a user has to take before finding the actual menu, the more likely the user is to drop off, and the less likely a dispensary would be successful at capturing the order.
Here’s what we found.
We analyzed the page-depth traffic for 15 dispensaries in the United States and saw on average 25% drop-off from location page to menu.
This meant 25% of users on average did not reach the menu page related to the location page they landed on. Insanity.
This was just the average too. Drop-off from 15 location pages to menu pages ranged from 7% to 56%. Definitely not numbers to ignore especially if that’s one of your high ranking pages today.
Chelsea Officer, Director of Product at Dispense, adds "Understanding user behavior is crucial in e-commerce. A high drop-off rate from location to menu pages indicates a disconnect in user expectations. Your sole goal should be to guide the user to purchase. Each additional click can mean a lost sale."
Why would 25% of users on average not reach the menu page? Well, we think this problem is probably a mix of two things.
First, depending on what users search, Google might not be able to guess their search intent and returns what it thinks is the best query.
For example, if I search “dispensary new jersey”, it’s hard for Google to know if I want to visit a dispensary, or place an order for pickup, or delivery.
Which is why the location page might come up.
If the user lands on the page and it isn’t what they’re looking for, chances are they’ll probably move on to somewhere else.
Second, sometimes it’s actually just hard to find the menu from the location pages.
A few sites we looked at had pop-ups obscuring menu buttons, buttons that weren’t easy to click because they were cut off, or no navigation at all.
Maybe your SHOP button in your header is visible on larger breakpoints, but when it hits the mobile breakpoint, it gets buried in a hamburger navigation. Remember, most purchases happen on a mobile device, so always optimize for mobile-first.
"At Dispense, we see about 85% of purchases come from mobile," says Officer "so this statistic drives our design philosophy of mobile-first. Everything from navigation to checkout is optimized for the smaller screen and touch-based interactions. Retailers must do the same on their own site. Make it easy to transact."
Also, don’t make users scroll to find your SHOP button. Make sure the button is above the fold on both desktop and mobile breakpoints.
And DEFINITELY don’t make users go to another page after your location page just to find your menu button.
When you think about it in terms of accessibility, it’s no wonder users leave. Great UX is important to most shoppers.
If you’re looking to see if your location page UX is costing you traffic, here’s the step-by-step guide of what you can do to solve the problem.
Once you calculate all your location pages, you’ll want to look for any outliers where the traffic drop-off could warrant on-page UX optimizations.
A good rule of thumb is look for 40% or less traffic drop-off from your dispensary’s location page to the menu page.
If you find pages where drop-off is greater than 40%, it’s time to assess the on-page UX to see where you can improve.
Bad UX is often the culprit for traffic drop-off to the menu page. But what should you actually look for when assessing your page UX?
Here’s a few ideas to start:
Website speed is how fast your site loads. If your page isn’t loading 2 seconds or less, then you might need to improve the loading time to see less drop-off.
Consider reducing image size and custom code or scripts deployed on the page to make your location page move faster.
Something we’ve seen across a few dispensaries is that the menu button isn’t fully visible or centered for customers looking to order online.
Remember to make your “Shop” or “Menu” button easily visible and clickable for customers ready to place an order.
Last but not least, the usual culprit: pop-ups. Especially pre-emptive pop-ups asking new users to join your loyalty program.
For new customer acquisition, these probably aren’t fit for the location page at all. Maybe try removing them from these pages entirely. You can collect this information later in the user journey using incentives, or even post-purchase.
"Pop-ups, while useful, should never overshadow the primary action we want the user to take - which, in this case, is finding the menu." says Officer.
You can also add contextual information about specific locations to the bottom of your menu. That way online customers can either place an order or get directions, open hours, and more all on the same page.
Here’s some of our favs’ in terms of how to design your location page. Maybe your dispensary can take some inspiration from these crews!