Survey: Should You Care About Order Management? Here’s What Cannabis Consumers Think


Marketing and the customer experience is always a hot topic in retail. Especially in cannabis retail.

We hear all the time about tactics for search, paid media, and social media. These are fundamentals to most well-oiled retail marketing programs. 

But if you’re an established operator, you know this is table stakes. Every dispensary needs good acquisition marketing just to survive.

Here’s the thing: Your marketing doesn’t end after the customer finds your menu, or clicks for directions from your Google My Business listing.

The experience continues into your operations through what we call Order Management

It’s the process of capturing and fulfilling orders at your dispensary. From the moment your customer clicks on your site or menu, to when they leave the dispensary with your product. 

And we have some spicy data that suggests how you manage orders can influence a customer to shop with you again or avoid you at all costs.

We surveyed 200 cannabis consumers in the US market and have new findings on how customers view dispensary order management. 

Yes, the data set is small (read: customer research is expensive and time-consuming), but we’re truly hyped for what this means for operators looking to take their customer experience to the next level.

Keep reading for our takeaways or download the spreadsheet. 

1/4 Consumers Have Average Checkout Experience 

How you structure your online and offline checkout experiences shapes consumer perception. We all know faster times means happier customers.

No one likes to wait too long for their order. Here’s what our data says. 

22% of participants said they felt checkout and speed of receiving orders were average overall. 75% indicated either fast or very fast. 

Depending on your market, there could be an opportunity for you to retain more first-time shoppers by focusing on checkout speeds. 

Think about it, if I can checkout (and get my product) faster from your store, I’m more likely to shop again with you.

It sounds like common sense and isn’t even news in traditional retail.

We also found an Omnitracs study that reported 65% of delivery customers would pay more for faster delivery times. 

Speed to receiving an order is an essential factor for consumers and something you can address by focusing on Order Management, especially in the era of on-demand shopping.

Waiting Times? They’re Still a Thing… 

While on-demand shopping is a thing, it doesn’t sound like it’s happening at the dispensary storefront. 

Our study found 44% of consumers have experienced long in-store wait times at a cannabis dispensary.

It’s another opportunity to improve your customer’s experience depending on your market.

Every retail industry experiences high volumes and wait times. 

You can proactively mitigate yours by offering different order types for customers (pickup, delivery, or curbside), having customers select time slots to manage capacity, or offering self-service kiosks.

Offering these options allows you to divert the flow of customers from the register, leaving your team with more bandwidth and customers happier. 

Order Management Issues Dissuade Customers More Than Price 

One of the more interesting findings from our study is that participants cared more about Order Management issues than pricing.

We had participants respond to a weighted scale question asking which of these issues would most likely dissuade them from re-ordering again.

These were what they listed in order of importance: 

  1. Communications & Updates on Order Status 
  2. Pickup / Delivery Options 
  3. Waiting Times 
  4. Payment Options 
  5. Website or App Usability 
  6. Order Accuracy 
  7. Product Availability / Stock 
  8. Pricing 
  9. Product Quality

You’re probably thinking: “how did price not make the absolute top of this list”? Believe us, we’re shocked too.

But it might just come down to your market and customers and how sensitive they are to price alone.

We took a look back at average salaries of respondents and found more than half the participants in our study made $50,000-$150,000 and above.  

One study found the average cannabis consumer makes 50,000 per year

All this goes to say that, when you’re dealing with customers that have a sizable income, they might be less sensitive to price for cannabis goods. 

Plus customers don’t always shop exclusively on price. If they did, Apple computers or Erewhon in Los Angeles wouldn’t be as popular as they are.

It goes back to differentiation in service or Order Management, the other parts of a commodity that make shoppers want to buy from you again.

63% Still Order In-Store With a Budtender

In-store has always been one of the most popular modes of consumption. 63% of participants responded that they prefer ordering at the dispensary.

This is consistent with independent research our team member Jeremy did earlier this year that showed 30% of orders happen online. 

It’s also consistent with what Headset’s data shows: If we sum up the sales across all 1,500 locations then the total dollar split is about 35%.

An important thing to call out– especially for seasoned operators– is as the market matures, so will the amount of regulars you see at your store.

While in-store will always be a great sales channel, there’s also an opportunity to develop it further through self-service technology like kiosks.

Either that or incentivizing online orders.

If the customer already knows what they want, why not make it easier for them to purchase without having to talk to someone?

It’ll be an interesting trend to watch out for as markets keep developing. 

Some Closing Thoughts 

We started this article about marketing and how maybe it's time for the cannabis industry to change its perception of price and channel marketing tactics as a be-all-end-all differentiator for its consumers.If our small data set didn’t convince you, here are some questions to leave you thinking about Order Management more clearly.

How do you feel when you wait 20-30 extra minutes for an order? Does that change your experience at all?

If a store you found didn’t offer delivery, would you consider if it's worth the travel?

Have you ever gone shopping early because you knew at a particular hour the lines would be long and you’d have to wait?

Have purchased a fast pass or priority delivery so you could wait less?

If you answered yes to any of these, then Order Management is definitely something you care about.

Spoiler alert: your customers do too.

Download the survey results.

Matt Dell

Matt Dell is a fractional marketing director for early-stage B2B vertical SaaS startups. Matt started his career in B2B SaaS marketing for a bootstrap supply chain firm and marketing agency. Then took over marketing at a seed-stage software startup in the cannabis space. Now trying his hand at it again for as many companies out there. Connect with Matt on LinkedIn.

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