Article | November 3, 2021

The Future Of Cannabis Customer Experience

By Gene Halsey, Vice President of Product and Business Development, TES America


The medical and adult-use cannabis industry is growing – and evolving. New Frontier Data predicts the U.S. market will increase to $35 billion by 2025, in part because 230 million Americans (about 70 percent of the population) now live in states that have legalized medical or adult-use cannabis. The most successful dispensaries – and the software developers who design solutions for them -- will recognize that, in addition to bringing products to these consumers, they also need to create pleasing cannabis customer experiences that will help earn their loyalty and build business.

Cannabis Customers are Consumers

Cannabis dispensary customers are some of the same people who shop at retail stores, browse on mobile devices and make purchases in the store, and look for ways to make transactions quicker and more convenient. Consumers will want -- and expect -- those same types of experiences at the dispensary.

One of the best strategies for improving cannabis customer experiences is to bring elements of self-service to dispensaries. Although the industries are different, cannabis can take a page from the quick service restaurant (QSR) playbook. Numerous QSR chains have implemented self-service kiosks for their line-busting and labor cost-control capabilities. Merchants have also found, however, that customers prefer to have more control of their ordering experiences and, according to kiosk provider Zivelo, often see a 20-30 percent increase in average sales when customers use self-service kiosks. Consistent upselling is one of the reasons for added revenues. However, customers may also feel more comfortable ordering exactly what they want with no perceived – or actual -- judgment from staff or other consumers.

Enhancing Cannabis Customers Experiences

Self-service kiosks can enhance other experiences throughout a cannabis dispensary. For example, when customers first enter the dispensary, touchscreen solutions can make the process easier to provide information required by state law. Also, return customers can use touchscreen kiosks to check in, possibly even using biometric identification to make the process quick and easy.

Additionally, instead of browsing aisles or asking a budtender for assistance, touchscreen kiosks can privately browse available inventory. Without judgment, a customer can explore available products, and, if the system allows customers to log in, it can display how much that consumer can purchase that day, which can help budtenders avoid awkward conversations at the checkout.

Furthermore, in areas where labor is in short supply, kiosks can enable customers to make selections on their own and free budtenders to handle other aspects of their jobs.

How Will You Help Take Cannabis CX to the Next Level?

Dispensary owners and managers continue to work to provide the experiences their customers are looking for. Still, they need technology to help them seamlessly deliver that CX and to operate most efficiently and profitably.

Listen to your clients and use their feedback to inform the solutions you design. Focus on giving customers more control over their experiences and helping them select products and easily communicate orders to budtenders. In addition to well-designed software, part of the equation is also using the right kiosk hardware, including optimal touchscreen technology. Your choice of hardware will enable you to elevate your clients’ brand image, but you must also ensure that it will perform optimally in a commercial environment and is backed with support to ensure your clients get the most out of their cannatech investment. Also, plan ahead for legislative changes that could enable cannabis businesses, which are largely now cash-only, to accept digital payments and provide solutions that will expand with new ways your clients do business and don’t require them to rip and replace their technology.

The industry is new, growing and evolving – and creating a significant opportunity for software developers who can provide purpose-built solutions to meet dispensaries’ unique needs. Use your skill and creativity to address this demand and grow your business.  

With more than 25 years of expertise in the touchscreen industry, Gene Halsey has worked closely with many of the industrial markets’ largest OEMs to bring the intuitive multi-touch experience of today’s hottest consumer devices to the vertical markets.  Known for being a creative, forward-looking individual, Gene sees tremendous growth potential for multi-touch applications in 2021 and beyond.