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Top Challenges Facing Retail Cannabis Dispensaries

Since the onset of legalization, there has been an explosion of availability with more upscale retail cannabis environments emerging than ever before. While the market has seen its share of saturation, it doesn’t mean that every single dispensary will be a mainstay in the cannabis arena.

The run and gun model just to break into the space won’t work. And while there has already been a share of blockbuster failures, customers are wise to steer clear of any retail dispensary that doesn’t provide a comfortable end-to-end experience.
There are many keys to becoming and remaining a successful and sustainable pillar in this flourishing space – but like any emerging industry, there are headwinds that present consistent challenges that can wear down a businesses’ ability to compete; and the cannabis space has already seen its share.
Here’s a rundown of the top four challenges any cannabis retailer will have to navigate for long-term success.

1. Data privacy
As customers, we put our faith and personal data in the tech powerhouses like Uber or Google to transcend and simplify the many nuances of our day-to-day life. We trust them with our personal information to help make our common tasks streamlined and efficient. Customers love the connectivity of commerce, but they want to know there is protection over their private and sensitive information.

While data privacy is a prevalent issue with regards to rights and control, knowing that a retailer uses technology that is dedicated to securing their sensitive information will go a long way as a value proposition and to instill confidence and comfort over how their personal data is being leveraged and protected.

2. Lack of product knowledge
Budtender training and product knowledge is top-of-mind now. New and potentially lucrative customer bases are descending on dispensaries armed with tons of questions – and they want to make sure they feel comfortable with the answers given. The trouble now with the pandemic pushing people apart and less traffic in the stores, is that many budtenders are forced to wear so many hats and cannot consistently provide all the information to nurture the new audiences pouring in.

They have to have instant access to all product descriptions, new strains, their cognitive and physical impacts, all frequently asked questions, all while making sure they are keeping the flow of traffic moving well throughout the store and not dropping the ball on anything else. It’s a tall order to ask of any person.

3. Sales analytics lack granularity and actionable insights
The problem with siloed customer information is exactly that. Fragmented data makes it extremely difficult to properly visualize and make sense of customer behavior. Many retailers lack the tools and visibility to make those decisions with confidence, stemming from the use of complex systems, still working off of spreadsheets, and an inability to translate this data into actionable insights.

Growing dispensaries need the ability to mine customer data for more intelligent sourcing of inventory and predicting buyer patterns. Workplace automation equals more innovation.

4. Regulations and compliance
The seemingly endless and constantly changing regulations will forever be tied to the cannabis industry, and understandably so. There has to be constant and clear communication throughout the retail operation between staff and customers so they are in accordance with all state, provincial and federal laws. The ability to rely on a self-service kiosk for customer ID verification helps to ensure there are no breaks in the chain.

Emerging dispensaries need the proper tools to scale

Cocoon Technology is reinventing the full potential of the cannabis space with transformative and versatile solutions. Our sophisticated and forward-thinking technology drives operational efficiencies for upscale retail operators. We will be at the cutting-edge of cannabis reform so we can help shape and champion the direction of the cannabis landscape globally, and serve as the trusted and intelligent partner to empower staff, protect customers and transform company visions.

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