When you buy weed online or via retail the customer experience matters quite a bit, particularly if you are looking for repeat business. But too often entrepreneurs get stuck in nuts-and-bolts such as navigating regulations, securing supply lines, and licensing. After all of those hurdles, the doors are opened without any thought as to the layout and customer experience. Some shops today are very streamlined and modern, while others are more like upscale retailers—the Saks Fifth Avenue of weed. Then there are design options to choose from such as the grid, racetrack, pathway, and free-form layouts. Here are some ideas to keep in mind when planning out your retail space.
Just like anywhere else, first impressions are important. Make sure the façade of your store is pleasing and projects the kind of image you want. You can go clinical, wild, or state-of-the-art. The place should be inviting while radiating warmth, professionalism, and safety too.
For dispensaries, there will have to be a reception area, an intake, and a waiting room. ID cards will have to be checked. Patient forms will need to be completed. This should be a clinical environment projecting the holistic compassion that is endemic in medical cannabis.
Consider a one-way flow for your operation. As customers move through they can see a wide range of products, visit the register, and then are out the exit. Flow is very important in any retail space. Visit a few retailers and get a feel of how the flow works and how it feels. What kind of flow do you want in your retail space? Look for a boxy, shallow space when considering real estate. This allows for fewer blind spots, meaning more of the merchandise can be viewed easily, and so hopefully purchased. It will also limit the number of security cameras you will need.
Remember to keep your customers in mind. For higher-end establishments, more consultants and customer service will be warranted. Lots of people who don’t know anything about cannabis are going to be popping in for a long time in the foreseeable future. A concierge station may be warranted to help field questions and make recommendations. The more planning you put into the customer experience, the more likely you are to achieve success.