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Why Eliminating Customer Fees Helps To Grow Your Business

May 24, 2022
Rachel Ludwig

Every business owner understands that the key ingredient to a successful venture is customer loyalty. So, having a strategy to grow your business while keeping your customers happy is crucial. But it’s easier said than done – customer acquisition and long-term retention can come at a cost –which is especially taxing for newer or smaller businesses trying to stay competitive. 

When it comes to cannabis sales, customer acquisition for dispensaries can appear extremely daunting. Since cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, typical marketing and business practices – such as social media advertising and mainstream digital payment options –are off-limits to plant-touching businesses. As a result, most retailers are investing a considerable amount of time and resources in finding creative and compliant customer engagement strategies.

Considering the capital-intensive nature of this industry, some retailers may try to offset some operating costs by passing off certain transaction fees to customers that opt for cashless payment platforms at checkout. Customers are already used to paying above retail prices due to high cannabis taxes –what difference would a few more dollars make? Turns out, a lot: a recent survey of U.S. shoppers showed that 49% reported they abandon online purchases due to extra costs added during checkout. 

It’s clear that minimizing unnecessary fees plays a vital role in customer happiness. When offering ACH cannabis payments, or bank-to-bank transfers at checkout, dispensaries should consider absorbing the incremental cost of third-party transaction fees. In the long run, this is a small price to pay for customer satisfaction and long-term loyalty. 

Customers are sick of paying hidden fees

One of the most common cannabis payment methods is cashless ATM charges. These transactions allow customers to use their debit cards instead of paying in cash, which on the surface, seems more convenient and safe for customers and dispensaries alike. However, customers are still subject to additional ATM fees. 

In another survey, 85% of Americans said they had encountered an unexpected or hidden fee during checkout. Two-thirds of those shoppers say they’re being asked to pay more in surprise charges than they did just five years ago. These fees ultimately impact overall consumer satisfaction and may discourage customers from returning. Shoppers have become increasingly frustrated by these practices, which has led to some regulators taking legal action against mainstream companies tacking on excessive fees.

Instead of leaving cannabis customers on the hook for processing costs, Aeropay charges dispensary clients a small fee on ACH transactions. Dispensaries might initially feel that this fee is a burden to their bottom line, but cutting costs for customers can actually lead to increased consumer spending. This is evident in mainstream retail where merchants absorb credit card fees to incentivize more customer spending. 

Why is it a big deal to keep customers happy?

In recent years, cannabis retail has become saturated, especially in states like Maine, California and Michigan. With increased market competition, the way your business is able to stand out in the crowd is important. 

Satisfied customers will attract brand new customers via word of mouth. It is not uncommon for shoppers at every stage of the customer journey to tell other consumers where they’ve had a positive experience. Over 90% of customers say that the most trustworthy way of learning about new businesses and products is by hearing about them from someone they know. The best part? Word of mouth marketing is free for a retailer! By investing in your customer service, you are able to save money in other methods of marketing. 

When customers are happy, they are loyal. Simply increasing your customer retention rate by 5% leads to increased profits by 25% to 95%. But higher profits aren’t the only benefit. When a customer is invested in a brand, they’re more likely to leave positive reviews online, and give valuable feedback for improving products. 

In the same way happy customers can help grow a business, unhappy customers can result in a loss of sales. Word of mouth marketing doesn’t only apply to complimentary reviews; negative reviews, both by mouth or online reviews, can drive away other potential customers. 

How to keep customers happy

Now that we understand how important customer satisfaction is, here are a few ways to keep customers coming back. One technique is to make customers feel that they are heard and an integral part of the business. Collecting customer feedback about products they like or products they’d want in the future is an affordable way to expand your business. A report found that when consumers feel heard, they are more likely to tell others about the business and are even more likely to increase their spending 3-20% more. 

Simply being available to offer assistance to customers is an easy way to provide positive user experiences and increase retention. It’s easy to offer assistance behind the counter in a dispensary, but also being available via email or online chats can be beneficial. More than half of millennials prefer shopping online than in-person, so being available to this customer base is essential. However, be wary of chatbots. Customer service is at its best when it is personal. When a customer has a bad experience with an unhelpful chatbot, it can ruin the customer relationship.  

Prioritizing price transparency is especially important for retailers offering modern payment solutions. Either be upfront about fees, or take on more fees as a business to keep costs lower for the customer. By using Aeropay, your business gets the best of both worlds. Each transaction record creates a clear picture of consumer costs. Even better, Aeropay’s user-friendly contactless platform streamlines the customer onboarding process, which will likely boost user adoption rates at checkout. When customers aren’t expected to pay an additional fee to use this service, dispensaries will likely see more active users –which translates to more sales and business growth.


Rachel Ludwig

Digital Marketing Manager
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