Halloween has candy, Valentine’s Day has flowers, and Christmas has, well … everything. For cannabis, April 20 (or 420) is the official holiday for all things weed, and that translates into one of the biggest sales days of the year.
On March 15, Headset, the leading cannabis data and market intelligence platform, released a report on consumer purchasing trends during 4/20. Their analysis revealed vital statistics and trends that retailers can use to maximize the bottom line during this massive day of consumer spending.
The report shows that the volume of products Americans put in their shopping carts last 4/20 increased by 86 percent over the previous four weeks of sales. In Canada, that number increased by 52 percent. This year, the data shows that cannabis sales on 4/20 are expected to increase by at least 100 percent in the United States and at least 50 percent in Canada.
So how do brands and retailers navigate the complex tapestry of ordering the right products, having the correct inventory on hand, and implementing the most effective discounts to ensure the highest 420 profits possible? We spoke with distributors, retailers, and other essential companies for some additional insights.
Start your promotions early
The Green Bouquet Cannabis, a retailer in Ontario Canada, has already started by doing a giveaway to attract customers. “[As] a reminder that 4/20 is coming up, right now I have a $150 retail value gift basket that customers are drawing for,” said Owner/Operator Heather Huff-Bogart. She added that there will also be in-store decorations and a number of sales offered. Huff-Bogart will be issuing deals on key categories including beverages, pre-rolls, and flower.
The Green Bouquet has a somewhat unique position in that it is located in cottage country, so there are many weekend tourists, but it also has a dedicated string of locals during the week. As 4/20 lands on a Wednesday this year, Huff-Bogart will be focusing most of her energy on her regular clients. She is also a firm believer in knowing her customers and their needs.
Moving to the United States cannabis supply chain, Mike Beaudry, the CEO of HERBL, has some sage distribution advice. “420 is the biggest day of the year for the cannabis industry and it is essential that the entire supply chain is well prepared for the increased consumer demand,” he said. “When asked how to best prepare for 4/20 from a distribution standpoint, we always recommend [retailers] define the promotional/pricing strategy early, check your demand plan twice, [and] only order what you need.” Beaudry also pointed out that sellers should choose brands and distributors that actually have the ability to execute during this high-volume spike.
Brands and retailers should work together
Eric Bellas, the VP of Sales at Flowhub, feels that brands and retailers should work together on deals for customers. “With states removing mask mandates and loosening COVID restrictions, we anticipate a big return to in-store cannabis sales and in-person events. This is a perfect opportunity for retailers and brands to partner up on competitive promotions throughout the week,” he said.
Bellas also pointed out that when partnering with brands it’s important to agree on sales goals and create enticing product offerings in advance. He added that training staff for any 4/20 events is an often overlooked but highly important recipe for success on the big day. “Make sure your entire staff practices upsell techniques and brings the 4/20 energy,” he said. “If goals are hit, give bonus incentives or plan for a post-holiday celebration to show appreciation for all their hard work.”
Consider your staffing requirements
On the subject of staffing, one of the essential methods to ensuring a smooth day with as few hiccups as possible is to have enough bodies in place to handle the large groups of customers vying for attention. Scott Kenyon, CEO of Würk, has some advice on that.
“Brands and retailers can put their best foot forward by ensuring they have an adequate number of employees around 4/20 for their staff to feel supported, and make sure their customers are fully taken care of,” he said. “With the COVID 4/20s of the last two years, cannabis customers were just happy to be able to continue to purchase the product. This year, expectations will be higher, and the industry needs to deliver.”
Kenyon added a good way to bolster staff is the use of temporary workers.
“Last year we saw temps jump from below 10 percent (2020) of the employees on our platform to almost 20 percent. With this type of flexibility, it allows companies to adjust to last-minute workload fluctuations more swiftly. Additionally, temps can provide specialized skills and offer employers new ideas or techniques that can become a competitive advantage for the business—especially during the ultimate cannabis holiday, 4/20.”
For more actionable insights and useful information, the Headset 4/20 report on understanding the holiday and consumer purchasing trends can be found here.