Ask any stranger what’s ahead for the economy, and you’ll likely hear about all the uncertainty that lies ahead. Everywhere you look, cannabis companies are trying to navigate the future and changing consumer habits while keeping the doors open amid surging cases of COVID-19.
You’re not alone. Businesses everywhere continue to suffer through the coronavirus pandemic, potentially leading the world economy into a global recession. Large retailers like Macy’s and J. Crew are laying off workers or filing for bankruptcy protection, yet nationwide we see a 49% increase in all online sales and 554% rise in BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In-Store) sales telling a different story.
The long and short of all this? The marketplace is still there, it’s just transformed, so we all need to be diligent.
Between widespread quarantine, loads of people working from home and adjusting to the new normal, consumer behavior has changed and will continue to evolve in ways that will have lasting effects on the cannabis industry well beyond the crisis.
Read more: Cannabis Companies Need a Post-Pandemic Plan
More buyers are shopping online from a wider array of unlimited options. For full effect, read that sentence again – it’s no mistake. Even older consumers, those who have been more reluctant to embrace online shopping in the past, are finding new places to spend their money.
These challenges are creating new opportunities to grow. Cannabis businesses who hope to succeed in the next phases of the economy need to observe, learn and understand their new marketplace as well as how and why it’s changed… and that’s how you grow your cannabusiness during this pandemic.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you start the journey:
Know your Consumers Online
Whether we’re glued to the news, scrolling social media, or streaming movies, we are spending extraordinary amounts of time online. Young people post their lives on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and others. You can learn a lot about your target market just by showing up where they are.
Many cannabis business owners shy away from social media because of its restrictions on marijuana advertising. However, a well-crafted social media plan that takes into consideration what’s happening in the world and how it affects your customer is a great way to get to know them and establish a voice for your business.
Be authentic and stay light on promotional jargon. Consider hiring an influencer or partnering with companies who sell products or services that complement yours. Creating content for your customers offers value and gives you a chance to show off your expertise.
Read more: Branding Survival Guide for the Cannabis Startup (PDF)
Social networking also provides an avenue for customer feedback, so give your customers a memorable experience and encourage them to share. Opening your business to customer feedback, including new ways to use your product and service, trending merchandise, and other essential info, is a smart way to drive business.
Cutting costs is an obvious and broad suggestion, but we have to mention it. Companies in every industry are reducing costs to survive in difficult times, this we know. But for many companies, the pandemic has shed new light on old problems that are forcing solutions today, not tomorrow.
As cannabis companies realize new inefficiencies, some are still trying to figure out how to fix cogs in the wheel that have existed well before 2020. Where can you trim the excesses? Try speaking with your suppliers, and you might find out how easily they’re willing to work with you or have ideas for win-win resolutions.
Be sure to look at your technology, how many solutions are you paying for but using half-heartedly? Make a list of all the areas you can free up resources, do more with less, and get started.
Businesses everywhere had to regroup at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, encouraging many companies to begin work remotely and embrace new technologies to keep the wheels moving. For reaching staff and customers, things like Zoom meetings, email, and chat platforms are keeping the lines of communication open, but these technologies aren’t enough to run a cannabis business.
Operationally, how many of your critical solutions are in the cloud and accessible from anywhere? How many of these solutions communicate with each other versus those that require manually input data? Are you able to make mission-essential decisions and put them in motion from your smartphone? If not, how much is that costing you?
No longer can you remain competitive tethered to the office, typing in data and adding other manual workarounds to connect business data. With today’s seamless technology, cannabis companies can operate entirely remotely part of the time.
There is no doubt about it, as cannabis businesses, we have challenges ahead. And while we’re no stranger to uphill battles, this one feels different. Today we’re still dealing with all the same obstacles we dealt with before, including overcoming social stigma, evolving legal statuses and ongoing regulatory hurdles, but now we’re adding brand new ones.
The Right Resources
Many of the issues facing us today are made worse without the right tools in place, including the technology needed to run more effective supply chains even while on the go.
After a crisis like the coronavirus pandemic, you need technology with adaptable features to move right along with you – always there, always accessible in these trying times.
c2b teknologies has the right tools and technologies that help cannabis companies prepare for and manage unexpected disruptions. We offer the kind of partnership that these companies need to navigate uncertainties at any point in their business life cycle.
Contact one of our cannabis technology experts to learn how your company can be more adaptable with the right cannabis technology.