On October 5, Jenn had the pleasure of speaking at the Philadelphia Chapter of Women Grow. Hosted by the law firm Offit Kurman, the event brought together a diverse group of cannabis enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. As Philadelphia's medical marijuana program is ramping up, Jenn's talk focused on designing the perfect brand dispensary experience.
At Brand Joint, we emphasize to our clients that a brand is more than just a catchy name and your logo on the wall. A brand should provide a particular experience that evokes emotion (hopefully positive!) from customers. That's why it's so important for dispensaries to spend time and energy branding and designing their entire patient experience. Before you even step into a dispensary, your customers will likely visit your website or social media pages. Your digital outreach is just one aspect of your branded experience, but we'll save that for another blog!
During her discussion, Jenn explained how dispensary owners should ask themselves, "What experience do I want to provide for my patients? What do I want them to feel the moment they step in the door?" You only get one first impression, so it's important to properly communicate your message. Keep in mind that experiences will be different for states with medical programs versus adult-use dispensaries.
Exterior: The exterior of a dispensary is just as important as the interior. To implement a branded experience for your dispensary, it's best to walk through the entire process through the eyes of your patients. Is your building in an area with lots of walking traffic or is there a parking lot? Depending on your location, having ample parking close to your building might be an important factor, especially for patients with ailments that make it difficult to walk or use stairs.
As your customer moves toward the doorway, what do they see? In states like Maryland and Pennsylvania, where the medical cannabis program is on the brink of going live, it's likely that patients may feel apprehensive about visiting a dispensary for the first time. Do they feel safe approaching the building? Is the area well lit? Do you have on-site security guard? And if so, will an armed guard make them feel safe and secure or more nervous?
Entering the Dispensary: As the customer enters the dispensary, they'll typically approach an entrance area or waiting room. While this area is typical used for security purposes, while you check IDs or wait for a dispensary agent to become available, you can use this an opportunity to add value to the patient's experience. While they're waiting, perhaps you have educational materials or videos playing. Maybe you have a lovely retail display?
Think about the sensory experiences: What do they see? Is there someone that opens the door with a friendly greeting? What do they smell? What music is playing, if any? Are the wall colors bright and vivid or natural and calming? There's not a right or wrong answer to designing the sensory experience for your brand, as long as it remains intentional and consistent throughout.
Before you even begin to design a beautiful dispensary experience, you need to know what will make that experience perfect for your customers. Learning what your specific customers value is the key. Do they value a relaxing, spa-like shopping environment? Are they looking for a more guided educational approach? Or are they generally in a hurry and value a quick, tech-supported experience?
Once you determine your target audience, you can consider the various shopping experiences you can create for your customers. Sign up for our newsletter to read Part 2 of Designing the Perfect Dispensary Experience: Different Retail Experiences.