The future of cannabis retail is exciting. Technologically, we are seeing online ordering and sophisticated consumer analysis on the horizon. These are fraught with a few potential challenges, however, which we are hoping will get ironed out in the future. Online innovations and new technologies can amplify business opportunities for cannabis retail. As preparation for mainstream competition, the cannabis players of today has to be technologically savvy.

Marijuana Industry and Online Ordering

Ordering cannabis online has been possible in the last few years. Now, we can expect it to go universal. Many retailers have their menus online, so in-person consumers can already educate themselves on the available products before they actually go and visit the store. In terms of technology, we are seeing a huge shift from requiring people to touch and interact with the products face to face. Today, dispensaries are allowing purchases through their apps using a “click and collect” method. With this growing trend, cannabis retail stores are employing more kiosks and vending machines. Their technologies have evolved to monitor seed to sale while dispensing products.

Cannabis experts agree that the retail future of the marijuana industry will be more digital. Still, there will be some differences between the way veteran consumers engage with online stores compared to newer users. Those who are more familiar with the marijuana category are more likely to use online stores or delivery services compared to those who are new to it. For more experienced consumers, they are bound to know what they want and what they are looking for, making it easier to order without having to go to a physical store. This makes the whole process all the more efficient for them.

The cannabis industry can reach a point where repeat customers will set up recurring deliveries of their favorite marijuana products, similar to a monthly subscription. However, for less frequent customers, they are more inclined to visit a retailer and get answers to questions that they cannot get from online menus. Some people like the idea or visiting a dispensary and have someone to talk with and to actually see and feel the products. The end goal is to eventually become a more active and knowledgeable consumer.

Marijuana Industry and Consumer Analytics

A growing number of software platforms are looking into helping retailers take the guesswork out of understanding their customers. In the next few years, store owners can email or text promotions that are based on the previous buying habits of individual customers, and even give personal recommendations. They will offer curated promotions and selections to specific users based on their past behaviors. This interesting development is going at a fast pace in the industry, perhaps even faster than what is usually seen in traditional industry.

Experts predict that in the next few years, brick and mortar stores can target customers who make physical store visits with individualized messaging and promotions. For instance, a customer can scan an ID at the front door and trigger an in-store menu that feature products and promotions that the shopper is more likely to purchase. However, they see this to be more feasible in stores with light foot traffic.

The whole store can change once a particular consumer walks in, depending on their specific preferences. Even the music, menu boards and wall colors can all change to cater to that individual shopper. Still, the main things consumers want are a solid product recommendations and smooth retail transactions. Technologies that can streamline the product searching process are of big help, but systems that can be accessed on a mobile device can just as well give the same level of information without the need for added bells and whistles.

Author's Bio: 

Jacob is an experienced cannabis content writers who write on various cannabis health related topics.