Eye-catching, colorful display cases get most of the attention in visual merchandising conversations. But when it comes to cannabis dispensaries, simplicity is what delivers.
The cannabis industry has traveled a long road through prohibition to legitimacy today. That’s why successful dispensary floor layouts embrace sophistication and often have toned-down aesthetics. It’s all to nurture customer engagement, not just to grab attention.
Your customers want to learn about your products in a clean, safe environment. How you merchandise, or display your products, can go a long way in creating that professional image and boosting sales.
Here are seven dispensary visual merchandising tips to consider.
#1: Use your walls
When laying out your dispensary floor plan, embrace an open concept. That doesn’t mean you can’t have any merchandise in the middle of the store (more on that later), but make sure your customer is visually guided to products displayed on the back and side walls.
Display your products along the walls and let your customers browse throughout the whole store. You can have merchandise in countertop displays, too, but using the walls will bring people deep into your environment and invite engagement.
It’s similar to displaying wine. If you walk into a high-end liquor store and red wines are mood lit with LED lights inside oak wooden cases in the back, and it’s one of the first things you see upon entry, you will gravitate to them.
#2: Use your open space
If you have open space in the middle of your store, you can use it for product displays. But make sure displays are low, not too bulky, and allow space to move around the case.
If these cases hold THC products or bulk flower, they will need to be lockable. Make sure you choose cases that look good, but are also functional and secure.
If you keep these display cases low, at waist level, you can also add color. Pops of yellows, pinks or deep blue can work, especially if you’re using glass display cases. Encourage your visitors to shop around the entire environment.
Some cannabis retailers place chairs with informational kiosks or signage in their center open area to encourage lounging and education.
#3: Think horizontally and vertically
It's common for dispensaries to focus on keeping products accessible and secure, making for a horizontal experience, or all products are on the same plane.
Break it up with vertical displays, either small ones on the shelves, like using risers, or larger ones that physically break up the longer shelf sections. Slatwalls are a beautiful and functional way to create horizontal and vertical store fixtures.
The danger with not breaking up the horizontal lines is that people might scan too quickly and leave too soon. You want to create variety, which forces their eyes to stop every so often while they scan. Then they can ask questions and the engagement deepens.
#4: Arrange with purpose
When it comes to arranging your products, it helps customers grasp your offerings if you create sections throughout your retail store. You can create dispensary displays by brand or product type.
Lotions, creams, and balms may be in a skincare or topicals section. Tinctures could have their own area. Drinks and edibles can make up another zone. CBD products may be mixed in or in their own display. You can also create an area dedicated to sniffing flower.
Observe how customers move about your store and if they can easily find what they're looking for, and adjust your displays accordingly.
You could also give hot sellers their own section. The goal is to give your customer the ability see a vast selection of products when they enter your store, but also be able to hone in on what they came for.
#5: Use imagery carefully
Certain product lines may provide display images. Pet products, in particular, often show furry friends. Imagery can be useful, but make sure it doesn’t distract from the products or clash with your brand.
In a dispensary, the product must be center stage, and if the image complements a product display, but doesn’t overwhelm an entire section, then use it.
Start with the product, then fill in images if they work. But don’t force them because you think they look appealing or interesting, or feel pressured to use them. Aim to minimize distractions and keep customers focused on the products.
And be sure to clearly display prices. Customers will want to see, at a glance, how much your products cost, especially in cash-only stores. Consider how to display price so it fits into the broader aesthetic of the display.
#6: Maximize your cash wrap
Your check-out area is where additional sales happen. Consumers are more likely to add items to a real shopping cart than a virtual one. So, don’t miss the chance to suggest more items with quick grabs at the register.
Your checkout is a great place for new drinks, edibles, accessories, and other impulse items. Keep the items in high-quality clear acrylic displays so the products can be seen easily.
The check-out is also a great place for employees to suggest products that complement the customer’s purchase, even if the items may not be within reach.
And don’t forget to create a frictionless checkout experience with a robust POS system, allowing for easy sales and discounting, joining loyalty programs, or capturing how the new customer heard about your dispensary.
#7: Create displays that encourage engagement
A cannabis dispensary is an educational experience for many customers. With new products appearing every day, your customers may need some assistance in choosing. Even if they know what they want, they're open to your input, too.
Your merchandising strategy is about reducing barriers and clearly displaying products to spark dialogue. Your retail displays should make products accessible and easy to scan.
Putting everything behind the counter or out of easy view will make them feel inaccessible, and will discourage engagement.
Let your products drive the experience and your staff’s knowledge make it even better.
Cannabis is as much about human connection as it is about your products. The challenge is balancing security with engagement and maximizing your space to show the products.
Your customers want to engage with you and your product. Merchandise with this in mind. Subscribe for more tips!