During the unprecedented COVID-19 shutdown, when non-essential businesses have been forced to close their doors, it might come as a surprise that marijuana businesses have been deemed essential in many states. While people are urged to stay at home and venture out only for necessities like groceries and prescription medications, the inclusion of retail and medical marijuana dispensaries on the list of essential businesses provides a lifeline for both business owners and customers.
However, it is crucial to acknowledge that this new status quo does not imply a return to “business as usual.” As we all navigate through these challenging times and adapt to a new way of conducting business, the shopping patterns and behaviors of marijuana customers have undergone significant changes. To help your retail cannabis business thrive in the face of the COVID-19 shutdown, here are some invaluable tips to consider.
1. Communicate New COVID-19 Rules
Keeping your customers informed of your operating status is crucial. If you are shifting hours to align with local stay-at-home orders or are adjusting customer check-in protocol- let them know! This can be done through an email or text blast, or posting on your website or social media pages. Customers might assume that your business is closed because of the COVID-19 shutdown so keep them informed. Doing so may also help reduce the amount of phone calls from people asking if you’re open and what your operating hours are. Let your customers know what to expect and how they can still get access to you.
It’s also a good idea to let your customers know what your business is doing to help stop the spread, such as additional cleaning and sanitizing practices. Many other essential retail businesses have started reserving certain hours for people who are elderly or disabled. This is a great way to help reduce exposure of this vulnerable population to other customers. The added benefit of implementing this practice is that it helps prioritize those with a medical need for cannabis.
2. Improve Your Online Presence
While many people are stuck at home, internet use has increased. With this in mind, it might be a good time to audit your online presence and see which areas need improvement. This includes your website, business review and directory sites, and social media profiles. Update any outdated information on your website and develop new content to keep your page fresh. You especially want to ensure that you have some sort of COVID-19 disclaimer on your website to let customers know about any changes to business hours or operations, as mentioned above. Also, take this time to engage with your customers online. Try to have genuine interactions with people who support your business by sharing educational or entertaining content.
3. Pre-Order & Delivery Services for the COVID-19 Shutdown
If you’re operating your business in a state where curbside pick-up and delivery are permitted, make sure you are taking advantage. These are great ways to reduce the amount of people in your store. Not only is this great for social distancing, it also provides an added convenience for your customers. Some states, such as Maryland, have adapted quickly and implemented new temporary guidelines to allow order ahead and curbside delivery during.
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No matter what ideas you come up with to help your legal marijuana business during this time, safety and compliance are still important. There’s no leniency on regulations for either of these, even during the COVID-19 shutdown. If you encounter any challenges or need some guidance as you navigate this new way of doing things, reach out to us! At Existo, our experts offer innovative solutions for your legal cannabis business with a compliance first approach. Contact Us to get started.