Cannabis is fully legalized in eighteen states and illegal in only four. With the continuing legalization and decriminalization of cannabis across the country, the industry is flourishing. In 2020, cannabis retail sales reached an estimated $6.1 billion in the United States, and they are expected to grow substantially, to $7.3 billion, in 2022. The rise is partially due to the increased popularity of cannabis delivery services, as technological advancement has made way for innovation and trends to appeal to a growing number of consumers. Now, platforms and businesses offering delivery are rising in popularity rapidly as delivery becomes the most convenient option for consumers and merchants alike.
Consequently, the delivery sector of the cannabis economy is surging. More than just growing their own business, though, delivery companies are helping other operations grow and providing job opportunities. For these reasons and more, now is the time to integrate delivery services into your business model.
The impact of COVID-19 left many people more worried about their health and safety than ever before. Cannabis delivery ensures consumers receive their products in a safe and expeditious manner. Customers can socially distance and avoid standing in lines or mingling with crowds. Business owners can safely store and process cannabis and cash in a secure place without the threat of mischief.
Despite the growing cultural acceptance of cannabis, some consumers remain wary of being seen in a dispensary; they would rather have their product delivered so their privacy is guaranteed. Cannabis delivery services eliminate the pressures of buying in person, helping consumers avoid impulse purchases and shop in privacy.
A growing consumer base
As of 2019, nearly 5.5 million Americans legally held a medical marijuana card. Multiple states legalized marijuana during the 2020 election, leading to long lines outside dispensaries all over the country. Some people may not have time to drive and wait in these long lines. Furthermore, many consumers have medical disabilities that may prevent them from being able to drive or leave the house; cannabis delivery helps these consumers gain affordable access without the hassle of traveling to a dispensary.
Delivery could revolutionize cannabis businesses by eliminating the need for a brick-and-mortar location and reducing service fees due to lower operating costs; as a result, these businesses can offer more competitive prices.
Collectively, all these factors drive the increasing popularity of delivery service in the cannabis industry. If businesses integrate delivery into their model sooner rather than later, they’ll find more jobs, higher income, privacy, safety, convenience, low service costs, and many other benefits.
Now that we understand why delivery integration is beneficial, here are some tips to get started.
Develop a strong delivery strategy. Creating detailed policies and procedures within this strategy will empower your staff, create consistency, and build efficiency. Also keep in mind the business’s consumer demographic; this information will help you market and advertise your business more effectively, which is crucial.
Understand state laws and regulations and obtain the proper licenses and permits. State-specific regulations will affect how delivery services are integrated into your business model. For instance, some states only allow up to a certain amount of product in vehicles. Delivery setbacks may affect your time efficiency and profits, so make sure to study what is required. Consulting a legal expert is also recommended to ensure you are not leaving out any necessary information or documentation; it is easy to lose sight while trying to outdo your competitors.
Set strict boundaries on your delivery range by considering delivery costs and knowing your limits. It might also be time to reconfigure your store layout, if you have one, to include a space for delivery or even a delivery telephone line.
The cannabis industry is relatively new, and constantly changing rules and regulations can be frustrating. Educate yourself and your customers to avoid any misunderstandings. As a professional, get involved. Learn more through trade associations, and engage in the ongoing conversations about regulations, operations, what’s working, and what still needs improvement.
Jonathan Ghiz is cofounder and chief executive officer of Supurb, a delivery service that partners with dispensaries. Ghiz studied business economics at the University of Arizona and started his career in the hospitality and restaurant industry, where he learned consumers appreciate convenience facilitated by technology. That realization led him to develop a platform that applies restaurant delivery models to the cannabis retail paradigm.