The cannabis industry faces a number of unique challenges other businesses aren’t forced to consider due to marijuana’s federal restrictions. One of those challenges is fully utilizing the eCommerce space to the dispensary’s best ability. For example, while some dispensaries can offer customers the ability to shop online for pick-up or delivery, shipping marijuana in the mail is not legal.
However, working in the legal framework and developing an eCommerce platform for your dispensary is incredibly advantageous. Current shopping trends indicate that consumers are spending more and more time shopping online. One survey found that 55% of consumers shop online at least once a week, and 10% of consumers shop online between four and six times a week. With customers regularly spending their time and money online, ramping up your dispensary’s eCommerce can be beneficial for your business.
What is eCommerce in the cannabis industry?
Cannabis eCommerce means displaying your merchandise and services online. With a website, local customers are allowed to discover your dispensary for the first time within the comfort of their own home. Of course, simply having a website isn’t always enough. The services you offer can set you apart from other storefronts. With a marijuana payment processor like Aeropay, you can easily upgrade your dispensary’s tech stack to offer online ordering for pick-up and cashless delivery to customers’ doors.
Retail stores are dying
Post-pandemic, the shift to pay online dispensary shopping has only grown, and experts say that around 80,000 storefronts will close by 2025. Ecommerce presence has been vital for small businesses trying to reconnect with customers after coronavirus. Retailers have even realized that online shoppers can purchase goods before and after store hours. Stores are reaching customers on a wider level than ever before. Some retailers have decided to forgo a storefront and operate online only, such as Revolve, a clothing store that is valued at over a billion dollars.
Cannabis can be a very personal service, so some customers might still prefer to visit a storefront to speak with budtenders about different products. However, after they’ve established their favorite strains or brands – giving customers the option to order products for pick-up or delivery is one way to encourage retention. Loyal customers are not only known to spend more but also tell other customers about their positive experiences, gaining more customers through word-of-mouth marketing. It all boils down to what you can offer through your tech stack.
Ecommerce cannabis stores increase visibility and SEO
Having an eCommerce cannabis store not only offers an online destination for customers to purchase your products – it’s also an avenue to increase the visibility of your brand. With the right content, you can use your site to both attract new customers and build a stronger customer base. Write compelling blog posts that inform customers about different strains while simultaneously taking advantage of SEO keywords that increase traffic to your site. Current data shows that 68% of online purchases start with a consumer search query on Google. Additionally, 70% of online marketers say that SEO is better than PPC for generating sales.
Gather customer information from your eCommerce cannabis website
Just like you’re able to learn from your customers inside the store, your website is another method to gather information about their preferences. Review your website’s traffic reports and enable cookie data to learn the browsing habits of your customers, or see which products get the most clicks. You can even post simple forms where customers can offer feedback while also acquiring contact information for additional marketing strategies such as e-newsletters and text blasts.
Digital payments are customer approved and complete your eCommerce cannabis site
Offering accessible and convenient shopping options is one of the most effective but overlooked strategies to increase sales. A recent survey showed that 37% of U.S. dispensaries reported not being profitable due to increased operational costs and standing out in a saturated market.
One way to be distinct in the marijuana industry is by offering customers digital and secure payments for dispensaries. Cannabis payments are historically made with cash or a cashless ATM charge, but customers have grown weary of carrying cash and paying extra ATM fees with every purchase. Shoppers have been asking budtenders if the dispensary accepts credit cards, but national laws forbid that payment option. Partnering with Aeropay, for cannabis payment processing, allows purchases to be made directly from customers’ mobile device or computer via a bank-to-bank transfer. No cash or card is needed, customers simply make an account and provide their online banking credentials.
Whether the customer is in the store or shopping online, digital payments are more accessible and allow the dispensary to operate more like a traditional retail space. Over 58% of Americans are more likely to support businesses that offer contactless payments.
Simple eCommerce integration
Aeropay’s payment platform can easily be integrated right into your existing eCommerce cannabis checkout screen. Tracking your dispensary’s finances via the merchant portal makes everything simple, and with Aeropay’s eCommerce cannabis solutions, businesses can immediately track and maintain payments. There is also a function that can filter cannabis payments by type and void or refund transactions. At any time, merchants are able to access real-time reporting totals and data sums for accurate bookkeeping or restocking product information.
Additionally, Aeropay offers an open architecture integration system, with the ability to pair with many vendors and access to the most competitive options. Aeropay partners with Dispense, a premier cannabis eCommerce and dispensary management software for an integrated partnership enabling compliant and fully integrated payments. Aeropay also partners with Flyhi, a cashless delivery company to help bring products directly to consumers and iHeartJane, a technology provider that makes online ordering a breeze, along with many other eCommerce cannabis companies.
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