Our lives from the moment we are born until the moment we die are made up of experiences. As we continue to grow up, we search out the experiences that give us joy and pleasure. The experiences that give us no joy or are negative, we tend to not pursue and tell others about these negative experiences. In a matter of seconds or minutes depending on the experience, we as humans decide if the experience is positive or negative.
If you start to think about this for a given day in your current life, your daily experiences start from the moment you wake up. Personally, I wake up very early and start my day with some espresso, wake my wife up (alarms don’t seem to help her), take the dog for a walk, check my email and read several news outlets to get my brain firing on all cylinders. I can tell you that if my morning conversation with my wife is not positive or I have anything negative to deal with, it makes my day tougher. Have you experienced this before?
So, why do I bring this up and how does it tie into your cannabis business? The experience you provide your customers and your staff have a direct impact on the success of your business. Listen, I get it, you sell cannabis and unless you sell a terrible product you probably have trouble keeping up with the demand today. I have heard this so many times from owners and it hurts deep down inside me when this road block is thrown up.
As I have stated in other posts, the goal of your cannabis business is to generate as much profit from the sale of your products while creating a loyal and repeat customer base. The experience at your shop may be the most important factor to creating profitable and stable business. In my own personal experience, I have yet to be blown away from any shop I have visited. Like any other shopping experience, some are better than others.
At the small business level the cannabis industry is in today, there is no one who has created their Customer Experience Strategy (CES)! What is a CES? This is the road map created from the moment a customer walks through the door until the moment they leave. Here are 5 steps to consider in order to develop an effective CES for your business:
- Economics of Experiences
- Eliminate the Dissatisfiers
- Personalize the Experience
- Customize the Marketing Offer
- Realize & Reinvent
I encourage you to read the short white paper where I pulled these steps from as I will detail out them out in my own words (http://www.strativity.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Making-the-customer-experience-a-reality1.pdf).
The first step is basically talking about the profitability from long-term customers and the short term profitability from the actual experience. In short, how much does it cost to acquire the customer, how much are they worth and what is the cost of losing a customer. By knowing these details it helps you and your staff start to truly understand the money involved with every person who walks through door. Think about giving your sales reps incentives based on these numbers.
Step 2 is very straight forward, get rid of anything that aides in a negative experience for the customer. The tough part is looking at the experience through your customers eyes. When you are involved in the day to day of the business it is hard to seperate. I have been there before and this was one of the most valuable lessons I learned along the way
“It is not about you and what you like, it is about the customer and what they like. This goes for every aspect of your business and by focusing on the customer first, you will see increased profitability.”
Steps 3 & 4 go hand in hand for me. The more personal you can make the experience and the future marketing offers, the greater your return will be. By tracking what your customers like you can achieve both. Imagine a customer walks into your shop and upon check in the receptionist says;
“welcome back, I see you were here 2 weeks ago. Thank you for coming back to see us again, we greatly appreciate it. Based on your last purchase, I can tell you that we have all the same strains in stock, I recommend you try these new strains and how would like you get 10% off today for being a repeat customer?”
That is powerful and as long as you track your customers buying habits you can implement this in store and in your marketing outreach. In a future I will discuss personalization and dig deeper into the importance.
The last step is making it clear that you have to continually monitor your CES efforts so you can make adjustments as needed. These adjustments could mean removing a piece of the strategy completely or modifying pieces as needed to continue to drive profit. This is true for every aspect of your business. By continually monitoring your business you will no longer be reactionary.
What Get’s Measured, Get’s Improved!
In closing, I have yet to see any kind of CES in place at any cannabis business and I wonder when that will change…