By now, it’s no secret. The cannabis industry is booming, creating over 30,000 jobs in 2019 alone, according to the annual Cannabis Jobs Report from Leafly. However, representation for minority-owned businesses has been lacking. According to a 2019 report from Marijuana Business Daily, less than 20 percent of cannabis businesses are owned by minorities. Enter social equity cannabis.
Thanks to social equity cannabis provisions, this is slowly beginning to change. However, the application process is slow and has been delayed several times. The process could be delayed even more for New York City, with Governor Cuomo leaving office.
Even though the dispensary license-obtaining process is long and drawn-out, it never hurts to start planning your website now and get a leg up on the competition. The last thing you want to do is to be scrambling to build your website at the last minute when you are ready to open your doors. This article offers five valuable tips for social equity cannabis applicants to take action and prepare their dispensary website.
1. Secure Your Domain Name
Domain names can be tricky to secure, especially if someone already owns the name you want. Getting the ball rolling on securing the domain name for your website should be a top priority. Keep in mind that domain names should be easy to remember, easy to spell, unique, and relevant to what you are building as a cannabis brand.
2. Establish Relationships With eCommerce Platforms and POS Systems
Another important item on the list to tackle is to do your research and build relationships with cannabis-specific POS systems and an eCommerce platform. This is hugely important to start ASAP, so you can demo available platforms, and ensure there is cross-compatibility. Doing so can take a while because POS and eCommerce systems need to work in harmony together, and finding the right pairing of the best software for your brand can be time-consuming.
As you go through your process of deciding on which POS system to implement, always be mindful of whether it’s intuitive, easy to use, and offers automated compliance reporting. Legal cannabis will continue to be one of the most regulated industries, and a generic POS system probably will not meet your dispensary needs.
Cannabis-specific POS systems that deliver reporting automation can give you the peace of mind you need to run your retail location with confidence. Does your business have expansion plans? If so, you’ll want a POS that integrates with your multi-location business.
Perhaps most importantly, the POS system should be easy for your dispensary staff to use and a no-brainer for your management team to teach to new employees as a part of the hiring process. Outdated, unreliable POS systems can lead to stressed-out budtenders and sales employees, which can easily lead to poor customer experiences.
Some examples of cannabis-specific POS systems are:
For your eCommerce systems to implement for your business, be sure to keep in mind that User Experience is one of the most important parts of building a quality website. The eCom system should have a simple, intuitive user interface that makes it easy to browse through products and find what you are looking for.
If your website is hard to use, customers are much less likely to buy from you, and are more likely to move on to the next dispensary.
Here are some examples of cannabis eCommerce systems:
Always do your due diligence and be certain of the reporting requirements for your state. Each state has different compliance requirements, so it’s important to be sure that your POS and eCommerce systems will help you meet those requirements.
3. Clearly Defined Social Equity Cannabis Website Goals
Before you start looking for a qualified dispensary web design company, you will need clearly defined goals. The first of which should be, what do I want to accomplish with this website?
- Do you want an online location to host your menu?
- An educational resource for cannabis consumers?
- Are you looking to build an email marketing list?
- Are you looking to use it as an employee recruitment tool?
Pick your top three goals, and then refine them into clear-headed action items.
4. Take Plenty of High-Quality Photos
You might be thinking that adding high-quality photos should go without saying, but you’d be surprised! These photos should be of your storefront, staff, menus, products, and so on. Bud photos are a dime a dozen, but your unique staff story is what will resonate with other customers. Once you build your customer base, you will hopefully be developing fans of your brand that are willing to share their quality experiences.
Cannabis consumers are searching for a good dispensary experience, not just the latest and greatest products.
5. Secure Social Media Handles, and Post Regularly
Securing your social media handles is another important aspect of building your web presence. Hopefully, your social media handles can be the same across all channels, like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. But of course, this isn’t always the case.
Posting regularly to all social media channels, as well as regular blog posts and educational materials is a great way to help you rank highly on Google. The reason is, the Google algorithm gives authority based on fresh content – something users can read, watch, or otherwise consume regularly.
Why Choose Clutch?
We understand that the social equity cannabis license application process is slow and applicants are left waiting. We know you’re delayed from a legal standpoint. In the meantime, why not give us a call here at Clutch, to see if we can get the ball rolling on the five steps above?
We know you have a lot ahead of you, but an affordable turnkey dispensary website or a custom-built website from Clutch can get you ahead of the game before you actually have your social equity cannabis license in your hands.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Clutch’s previous article on How to Attract More Engaged Customers with Google. We have many more dispensary SEO articles coming, sign up for our newsletter so you never miss any!