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The biggest day of the year for cannabis consumption is right around the corner. If you own, manage, or work in a dispensary, most likely you are gearing up for this big day. If not, you should be! April 20 is the annual cannabis holiday, and you need to prepare for it. While any day is a good day to consume cannabis, 4/20 provides the perfect opportunity, because cannabis-themed celebrations are in full swing nationwide. Anyone with an appreciation for the plant will be willing to consume and celebrate. Dispensaries—regardless of whether they’re medical or recreational—need to stock the necessary inventory, because they stand to make more money on April 20 than on any other day of the year.
If you pay any attention to cannabis culture, no doubt you know that “420” is synonymous with marijuana. While few will argue this fact, the origins of 420 are lesser known.
While several stories exist about where the term 420 originated, the most likely version goes back to 1971 and a group of five California high school friends, Dave Reddix, Steve Capper, Jeff Noel, Mark Gravich, and Larry Schwartz. These students at San Rafael High School used to meet near campus at 4:20 in the afternoon to search for a mysterious marijuana patch that was said to exist in the area. While their search for the elusive marijuana grow ultimately proved unsuccessful, 4:20 p.m. became a popular time for them to meet and consume cannabis. Soon, the term “4:20” became synonymous with smoking marijuana and became a code word of sorts with the five friends.
The term later experienced widespread use among Deadhead (fans of the Grateful Dead). Long after his high-school years, Reddix became a roadie for Dead bassist Phil Lesh, and 4:20 continued to be a popular time for him and his companions to consume cannabis. This time slot made sense, because the day was winding down and was shortly before most people ate dinner, and as any cannabis enthusiast knows, smoking marijuana builds a hearty appetite. Little did Reddix know that his simple code term would shape cannabis culture forever.
Cannabis celebrations worldwide now occur on 4/20. Cities like Denver, Boulder, Seattle, and San Francisco draw huge numbers of people to cannabis celebrations, some of them well-planned and others that are more spontaneous. A simple Google search for your particular city will likely produce some results for 4/20 happenings, particularly if you live in a state where recreational cannabis is legal.
Build Customer Enthusiasm
For anyone working in a cannabis retail business, April 20 demands special attention for annual promos and offers to attract customers. With so many people buying cannabis and related products on this day—or the days leading up to it—failing to do so means missing out on what could well be record profits for the business. On this date more than any other, public relations and marketing opportunities present themselves in the shape of special raffles and events. The more people you can attract to your business the better on this special day. Very possibly they will become regular customers in the future. Think about profits in the form of the volume of products sold because of special sales price. This will make your business more desirable to visit than neighboring cannabis businesses.
If you work for a vertically integrated company, this is the time of year to plan an especially large harvest in March, so you have plenty of cured flower and concentrates produced from flower in stock. If your business buys flower and products at the wholesale level, stock up now! Without proper planning, you could very well run low on inventory, and your bottom line will suffer as a result.
If your company has its own cultivation division, plan to release new proprietary strains on April 20, and announce those releases in email and text blasts in advance of the big day. You need to do all you can to give customers compelling reasons to visit your business on this date. In 2019, April 20 falls on a Saturday, which will provide even more reasons for people to party.
Hold drawings throughout the day for free shirt giveaways. Shirts are not expensive to create, and shirts carrying your dispensary logo and name are a free form of advertising. Stickers cost very little money to produce in bulk, so have plenty of them created to slip into exit bags as fee giveaways. Again, this equates to free advertising for your business and is a compelling marketing tactic while creating simultaneous customer appreciation.
Stock Products Strategically
While your dispensary should have plenty of its regular inventory on stock on 4/20, some specific items should be in particularly large supply.
Focus particularly on items that are made for partying in a group setting. Have a large assortment of pre-rolls on hand, they make the perfect product for group consumption. Bundle items for special giveaways that will build customer loyalty. For instance, you may want to offer a free pre-roll for any flower purchase over a quarter ounce, or a free gram of wax or shatter for every dab rig or titanium nail sold. Make certain that your combined freebie offerings fit each other like the examples just mentioned.
Have a large supply of cannabis-infused edibles and drinks on hand. A 420 party lends itself to consuming a range of cannabis products. Infused sodas, chocolates, brownies, cookies, cakes, and candies are standard items to stock at any party, so these infused edibles should be especially well received on 4/20 so that customers can enjoy them at their own cannabis-themed party.
If there was ever a special date on the calendar for your dispensary to schedule a special event or celebration, 4/20 is the day. In addition to the giveaways and promotions already mentioned, becoming a sponsor of a special 420 event in your city is a good way to get your brand and name out to the public in a place other than your dispensary.
People who visit your business are already familiar with your products and location, so event sponsorships are a great way to draw in new potentially regular customers. Musical events that fall on3/20 are on the rise and certain to set a celebratory mood and a great environment for consuming cannabis. Any special party, event, or celebration held on 4/20 and seeks sponsorships should be fair game for your company to gain exposure on this special day.
Most cannabis-friendly cities have special regional publications that feature art, culture, and dining venues, businesses and events. The vast majority of these publications accept advertising for cannabis businesses. Most likely, your dispensary already advertises in one of them.
The 4/20 cannabis holiday deserves an advertisement all its own. In the ad, you can list any event sponsorships as well as all of your in-store specials, discounts, and giveaways. You will be competing for business with every other cannabis business in your city on this day, so make the ad compelling and persuasive.
Although dispensary personnel may be tempted to take 4/20 off so they can do some celebrating of their own, make sure you are fully staffed on this day. This is not the time to be shorthanded, because you want to be able to accommodate all customers without them waiting a long time in the line that will inevitably form. Hopefully they will all leave with a smile because of the purchases they made, and you can wear a big grin as well for all of the extra business and profit you made!