For cannabis consumers, convenience is king.
“In every state, the location of dispensaries is consistently the top factor influencing consumer favoritism,” a new report from Brightfield Group noted.
According to the firm, the findings in “6 Trends Shaping the Dispensary Landscape” signal that the age-old adage of “location, location, location” still holds true. But in a world more reliant on digital access, convenience now stretches beyond the physical, underscoring the need for dispensaries to maintain a robust online presence.
“If a potential shopper only a few blocks from you looks up ‘weed near me,’ your shop better come up,” the report said. “Location means SEO for nearby searches should be of supreme concern to dispensaries.”
Price point, a factor intertwined with the appeal of a product, also saw a shift in favorability this year. Even in states known for competitive pricing, such as Colorado, consumers are ever-eager to snag the best deals. In a notable shift from 2022, the lure of the “lowest prices” has now surpassed the “variety of product types” as a primary driver for consumer choices.
However, with the bigger focus on price, there’s temptation to slash prices to attract customers. That trend has its own pitfalls. The firm suggests a focus on cultivating a returning customer base as opposed to one-time shoppers seeking a quick discount.
Along the same vein, multistate operators continue to make their mark with considerable footprints across state markets. Powerhouses such as Curaleaf and Cresco Labs are leveraging economies of scale, brand recognition, and streamlined operations. Yet, while these MSOs are currently basking in the limelight, the data suggests that simply being a household name isn’t enough.
“While some MSOs enjoy little competition today, relying on being a ‘big company’ is not a loyalty strategy,” Brightfield advised. Differentiation and genuine consumer engagement hold higher importance over merely leveraging brand size.
Legal dispensaries also continue to face a huge challenge from the legacy, or illicit, market. Despite the growth and normalization of the legal cannabis trade, 35% of all U.S. cannabis consumers still make purchases from a friend or dealer.
“The illicit set a precedent for how much cannabis costs and how they buy it,” the report said, adding that local plugs “still are perceived as having great deals on ‘fire’ cannabis.”
However, there’s a silver lining. The majority, nearly 79% of dispensary patrons, express a preference for legal channels, citing benefits like regulated product quality and safety.
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