News and Best Practices

The Art of Patient Incentives and Deals

August 5, 2016

As dispensary owners and managers, we are making a difference every day. There is unique satisfaction in getting to know a patient and offering cannabis knowledge to help them. There are many types of patient incentives to show patients that you and your team appreciate them, from a daily deal to a monthly or quarterly party. The possibilities are endless for your team.

Our responsibility is to offer cannabis options that can make a health difference, naturally. These interactions leave lasting and unique impressions on each patient. At the same time, how can we show our appreciation to the patients in unique and exciting ways?

A patient who feels appreciated and respected will return to your dispensary over and over. Here are a few ways to ensure that for each visit they know they are vital and relevant to you.

Point system

A reward point system allows patients and customers to earn points that they can trade for products or services in your store. The capability to administer a reward point system is built into many point-of-sale software systems in use today. They allow you to track each patient’s spending and assign a point value for each dollar spent.

The points can be exchanged for products. People begin to appreciate these points, and it becomes exciting for them to watch their points grow. It can keep many of your customers coming back.

Here’s a simple example: Every $10 spent at your dispensary earns one point. You provide a menu of products and the number of points a customer needs to redeem to earn the product. Depending on your state and local regulations, your menu may include things like a gram of flower, a medicated edible, a cannabis drink, a pipe or a shirt. Of course, Step 1 is checking on what is permissible within your state and local regulations.

This redemption list can become as involved as your dispensary team decides. For example, include both small and large deals—such as a whole ounce of flower for 350 points, the result of $3,500 dollars spent at your store by a single patient. Use your margins, stock and overall sales to help you set the limits. Be creative and let the points act as “cannabis cash.” The impact on return visits can be tremendous.

Daily deals

The art of the daily deal is simple: Create a deal for each day of the week. Deals could have themes like “Medible Monday,” “Pre-roll Tuesday” or “Thirsty Thursday.” The idea is to bring in customers and keep them coming back by creating some excitement and giving them a reason to stop in, rather than not getting around to it. It’s a good idea to have a minimum purchase or donation limit to qualify for the deal but, to maximize the value and excitement, keep the minimum as small as your margins allow. These deals can range from buy-one-get-one-free to a free joint with each $50 spent. Become as creative as your budget, stock and imagination allow with these daily patient incentives. And, we can’t emphasize enough, make sure your deal will pass muster with local regulators.

Mix and match

Mix-and-match specials are exactly as they sound. On a specific day, allow customers to make up their own ounce (or half-ounce) by combining quarter-ounces of different strains, but sell four different quarters for the price of a complete ounce . Of course, you control what strains are included so you can manage your inventory, but this is a great way to give customers variety at you store’s best price.

Some shops offer only two or three ounces each day for the Mix and Match deal. These limited options can help bring patients in early and daily.

Patient appreciation day

Patient Incentives

Patient Appreciation Day at the dispensary (Photo by Natural Remedies)

Patient appreciation days are often BBQs with games, prizes and non-medicated food and drinks for your regular patients—maybe even live music. You can hold them monthly, quarterly or even annually. Besides making your patients feel valuable and appreciated, by promoting the day for weeks or months in advance you get exponentially more exposure, both to patients who can attend and those who can’t.

You may consider having speakers talk about strains or local cannabis laws. Simple classes, such as how to roll a joint or train a plant, are very popular. If you can get a big-name speaker like Tommy Chong, Willie Nelson or Snoop Dogg, you will want to find a large space that can hold a crowd. Make sure there is permission to smoke inside the building or within a designated smoking area. And get permits if required.

Parties of this nature are an excellent time to team up with local glass and product vendors to create more buzz and attendance through raffles and cross-promotions. They can also be fun for your staff, help build your brand and serve as a community outreach.

By Eric Stone
Dispensary Management Today articles are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal guidance or advice on dispensary operations. You should contact an attorney or a qualified cannabis consultant for specific compliance and dispensary/retailing advice.
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