As states and the federal government work to slow the spread of COVID-19, many businesses have been shut down temporarily or forced to move operations remotely. In regions across the country, however, deemed-essential cannabis businesses remain open – but it’s anything but business-as-usual.
Cannabis activities have been completely disrupted for reasons that span plant closings, staff shortages, slower production cycles, closed ports, and changes in transportation routes and more, leaving cannabis operators wondering what’s next.
The way business is done across every industry is forever changed and while most of the situation is beyond our control, we have control over how we connect with our customers. Humans respond to humans, so using the right technologies can help you adapt to the changing ways your customers want to do business with you.
Companies are retooling their technological and communication strategies after finding old strategies to connect with customers no longer working. To maintain customer relationships during the pandemic, cannabis companies need to find new ways to connect with consumers. Whether it’s rethinking the company social media approach or changing the way your cannabis products are accessed, collective and creative uses of technology may provide the remedy.
But to connect with the cannabis customers online, you need to leverage industry-specific knowledge and use the right tools. Here we discuss digital tactics you can use to help your cannabis business stay connected with happy customers through the disruption.
Sell online for pickup & delivery (…if possible)
Cannabis businesses often sell merchandise through in-person and on-premise interactions, but social distancing has upended that now-outdated process. Do you still rely on in-store sales?
Consider offering your customers online ordering for curbside pickup and delivery to support social distancing. If you already have an ecommerce option, remind customers that their favorite cannabis products can be purchased from your online store.
Even when restricted on what you can legally sell over the internet, setting up ecommerce infrastructure now is a great way to prepare for the possibility of eased regulation in years ahead.
Offer online promotions
Have you considered offering online coupons, discounts or other promotions to customers for cannabis or cannabis-related products? Online deals are great ways to encourage online shopping while your customers are stuck at home. Consider offering gift certificates to maintain cash flow while traffic is low.
Adopt a Social Strategy (…or amend existing efforts)
For increased onlines sales, it might be time to consider online marketing by creating conversations online or through social media platforms.
Social media for cannabis (c2btek white paper) is a touchy subject depending on what platform you’re talking about and what you’re trying to sell. But remember, social media isn’t limited to platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, there are cannabis-specific social networks too.
You might consider just being social online. Where are your customers having conversations? Sure, they might be on TikTok, but have you tried Reddit, an established social platform with a different demographic.
A recent 2019 survey by Statista found that 22 percent of internet users aged 18 to 29 years and 14 percent of users aged 30 to 49 years use Reddit. Is this your market?
Other Communication Tools
Communication tools that have helped us through these times have been on the rise even before the pandemic. Recently made famous for remote work communication, tools like Zoom and Hangouts that bring remote teams under one roof also allow you to connect with customers.
With these tools, you can organize conversations into channels where members can join or leave the conversation as needed.
Can you engage existing clients while inviting new customers to connect? Get creative, you shouldn’t limit your efforts to strictly cannabis-focused ideas. Some companies have virtual happy hours on Zoom or coffee talk over Hangouts.
Answer questions about the cannabis market or share your experiences. At the same time, you get to learn about how your customers are making things work too.
Now that your sales are up, make sure you have the right technology that lets you manage your supply chain, pick orders, alert for re-orders, and deliver purchase history insights for future sales. That technology is cannabis ERP.
Growing cannabis companies are already turning to cannabis enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems for lean operational processes and remaining compliant. Now more than ever, cannabis ERP creates efficiency, visibility, and accountability across your operation.
As an essential business, cannabis operators are embracing this new way of connecting with and selling to customers who want to communicate with you. Luckily technology offers more ways to connect, promote, and sell at a distance.