Experiential consumption is an emerging business trend within the industry. Still, with legalization happening all over the U.S. and quite literally all over Canada, the major point of consumer contact for the cannabis industry will be dispensaries. Protis Global’s CEO and industry insider, Bert Miller, shared what he predicts to be the biggest trends in 2019 for medical and recreational cannabis dispensaries.
The consumer buying experience will be the major focus for dispensaries as the cannabis industry moves into 2019. This shift to focus on how consumers want their buying experience to be is the biggest overall trend we see. Now that there is real, legitimate data being used, it is evident that the industry will aim to structure itself in a similar practice as the adult beverage industry. The adult beverage industry utilizes a 3 tier system when establishing distribution channels and this 3 tier system could effectively and logically support the cannabis industry as well. Sooner than you might think, cannabis products will be characterized by more of a fast moving consumer good (FMCG). This process mechanization will further catalyze that shift in perception.
That being said, a few specific trends will follow as a result of this shift/mechanization of the industry.
There will be so many normalized categories of cannabis products that the dispensaries shelves will have to reflect the product offerings and categorical organization typically associated with an average retail experience.
BRANDING/ IN-STORE ADVERTISEMENT
Point of sale materials and branding will be a major component you’ll notice in dispensaries soon that you may not notice now. There will be shelf talkers and advertising evident in the dispensaries.
The experience of visiting a dispensary will feel less regulated and more like an average retail experience.
Another similarity between the industries, that will drive the shift in the average dispensary experience, is variance created by the state to state regulations in the cannabis space. Alcoholic Beverage Commissions in each state place different regulations on distribution. This will largely affect the 3 tier system mentioned earlier. Additionally, the trend of normalization of the retail experience facilitates the notion that this is simply a mainstream product being distributed and delivered in mainstream way. Mitigation of stigma is crucial.