Why You Should Care About Cannabis E-Commerce in 2023

Over the last few years, many industries have experienced major shifts. During the pandemic, some markets suffered from decline, were forced to close up shop or drastically change their sales strategies to stay in business.

But weed was different. The legal cannabis market continued to develop and make new advances during this unprecedented period, particularly aided by the ‘essential business’ categorization for cannabis dispensaries.

The last two years alone have shown significant growth for cannabis brands and dispensaries, especially those that have taken their business online with cannabis e-commerce sites and software. 

But legal cannabis is still a young and evolving industry, especially when it comes to e-commerce. And if history can tell us one thing: this online space is going to be more important than ever.

The Evolution of Cannabis E-Commerce 

The past few years have critically changed the way consumers are buying goods and services, with e-commerce sales reaching a record high of $767.7 billion in 2021.

Despite legal adult-use cannabis in 19 states across the country (shoutout to Rhode Island!), federal law still locks out cannabis companies from basic business necessities like reliable access to banking platforms, search engines, and online marketing.

Demand for online ordering, e-commerce, and curbside or delivery options spiked from the COVID-19 pandemic, and many businesses were forced to pivot. As an essential business during the pandemic, cannabis dispensaries and brands needed to take steps toward e-commerce platforms to meet growing consumer demands. 

Ultimately, this pandemic-driven shift in e-commerce sales motivated many cannabis brands to implement online dispensary management software and management systems. 

Why is Cannabis E-Commerce Important?

With an ever-changing and thriving market, it’s crucial to ensure that your cannabis brand and online dispensary are ‘tuned in.’

1. Convenience of Dispensary Menu & Sales 

Put simply, more convenience for customers means more sales. Frictionless online sales through dispensary menus is one of the biggest factors influencing the growth of repeat consumers making ongoing product purchases.

By prioritizing an intuitive dispensary menu layout and simple checkout process, dispensaries draw customers back in for repeated purchases. There are already enough hurdles in the cannabis industry, and your menu shouldn’t be one of them.

A dispensary menu is where shoppers spend most of their time. Forgoing a customized and branded menu is leaving money on the table. To ensure that customers are fully engaging with your brand, opt for an e-commerce platform that gives you options to tailor your menu to your brand.

2. Popularity of Loyalty Programs 

Customers have been loving loyalty programs for hundreds (yes, hundreds) of years.  Loyalty programs have also infiltrated the cannabis industry, becoming a wildly popular way to establish a connection with consumers while also incentivizing brand support through repurchasing.

Loyalty programs, discounts, and deals position dispensaries to earn higher profits, yield higher spending per customer visit, and open the doors for a wave of new potential customers. 

Loyalty programs are a no-brainer. Easy-to-integrate and beloved by shoppers, loyalty programs are a marketing strategy that can adapt to any brand and help reinforce customer relationships.

3. Recession-Proof Demand 

As states continue to legalize cannabis recreationally and medicinally, online dispensary sales are sure to follow.

The legal cannabis industry was one of the few markets able to withstand the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, since 2020, legal cannabis sales have increased by 72%!

Established customers were surveyed purchasing more cannabis products than usual, considering the stress and homebound life of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

And it makes sense, since online shopping was all the rage in 2020 and continues to offer shoppers supreme convenience. These numbers prove that cannabis companies, and more specifically cannabis e-commerce brands, are stable and reliable even during unpredictable times.

4. Increased Engagement in Demographics 

Today’s legal cannabis market is saturated with an assortment of brands and products for consumers to choose from. In this digital age with endless scrolling and a steady stream of noise, standing out among the crowd of competitors is imperative.

Customers need to feel seen by brands, and are more likely to purchase from the brands that understand and engage with them and their demographic. Dispensaries deserve e-commerce products that help their understanding of customers, not hinder it. Unfortunately, when selling through marketplaces, brands and dispensaries are often signing away their access to valuable customer data and analytics. Ensure you retain this information with a software focused on data transparency, or risk losing a direct line to your consumers.

Dispense: eCommerce & management software built by dispensaries, for dispensaries

Convenient online sales, loyalty programs, and engagement in customer relationships all contribute to the growth of your online cannabis e-commerce.

With Dispense, you can count on a series of helpful, accessibles tools and software to operate your brand’s online dispensary software, all while staying in control of your data.

Dispense Team

Dispense is ecommerce software for cannabis dispensaries. We give dispensaries the tools they need to list and sell products on their own website, leverage their menus and data to drive SEO traffic, build direct relationships with their customers, and scale their businesses.

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