How to Build Customer Retention and Loyalty at your Dispensary

dispensary customer retention

A common concern for dispensary owners is that markets are saturated with dispensaries, and they fear that the now-booming sales will decrease as more and more licenses are issued. Because of this, it’s important to generate lifelong relationships with your customers.

According to Help Scout, after having a positive experience with a company, 77% of customers would recommend it to a friend. This shows how important customer satisfaction is for the long-term success of your business.

Here are some recommendations to help retain your existing customer base and encourage new customers to walk through your doors, whether your cannabis business is new or established.

Focus on the customer experience

We all know that customer service is the heart of any retail operation. And it all starts with the experience that your customer has when they walk into your dispensary.

The culture and passion of your team is important, especially if this is a customer's first time visiting your dispensary. To ensure repeat visits, you need to satisfy them from the moment they walk in the door to the moment they walk out.

If you’re trying to build brand loyalty today, an emotional connection is no longer a nice-to-have, it is a need-to-have.

Rene Vadar, Global Sector Leader, Consumer & Retail - KPMG International

5 tips to create a great customer experiences

1. Understand your differentiators. You should know what makes your dispensary different from the competition.

Then don’t be afraid to let this key differentiator be known to customers, whether you tell them overtly or show through the experience.

For example, if it’s the education of your sales associates/budtenders, let that speak for itself. But if it’s the highest quality flower or highest value, prove it to them.

2. Know the customer. What is their name? What do they usually purchase? What are their interests?

Taking the time to get to know your customer makes them feel like you care. This creates trust and motivates them to come back to your store.

Consider using the notes section of your cannabis point-of-sale to note things about your customers so you can create that personal experience with them during every transaction.

3. Ask open-ended questions. To better understand people — whether it’s friends or customers — you need to ask them questions beyond simple yes or no.

Asking questions will help you understand their needs, interests, and why they are shopping with you. This creates long-term engagement and lasting relationships.

dispensary customer experience

4. Take the time to educate. If you ask about the customers’ needs or desires, you’ll be able to provide education on products that will accommodate the customer's desired effects.

You should also open the door for the customer to try new products or explore other avenues to meet their needs. You are the expert — don’t be shy about making educated recommendations.

5. Think about the first impressions. What do your customers see when they first walk in? Is it welcoming and inviting? Is the first person they see friendly and warm? Is the space clean and tidy?

Take a moment to look at your store with fresh eyes and identify where you can improve.

        Offer a customer loyalty program

        Now that you know how to create a lasting impression with your customers, it's time to incentivize them to return to your dispensary.

        As we’ve seen in many other industries, rewarding your customers for their loyalty to your brand is an effective tactic. Cannabis loyalty programs incentivize customers to keep buying their cannabis products and supplies at your store.

        And research continues to show that customers who participate in loyalty programs are more likely to make more purchases. According to Annex Cloud, 83% of loyalty program members say that rewards programs make them more likely to continue doing business with a certain brand. Point: Loyalty programs work.

        Customer loyalty platforms, such as springbig and Sprout, also offer marketing campaigns via text message or email to notify your loyal customers on point updates, in store promotions, and deals. They're also great additions to your dispensary tool stack.

        This is a great way to drive repeat customers back into your dispensary to continue to solidify customer relationships and build brand loyalty.

        It also gives you another consistent touchpoint with customers beyond face-to-face interactions in store. That helps keep your dispensary top-of-mind for customers.

        Creative ideas for rewarding your loyal customers:

        • Give 5% back on all purchases: This is a common loyalty tactic for Flowhub users. When customers sign up for your loyalty program, they can accumulate points to receive better pricing at your dispensary. This can be accomplished with the point-of-sale system, or through a dedicated dispensary loyalty partner like springbig or Sprout.
        • Refer-a-friend program: Incentivize your customers to refer a friend that has never shopped at your dispensary. This will drive new traffic into your store and allow your current customer base to receive a deal. An example would be: Refer a friend, receive 100 loyalty points.
        • Customer reviews program: Reviews are important to dispensaries. Encourage your happy customers to review you on Weedmaps, Google, Leafly, Yelp, etc. for a chance to receive loyalty points. There’s always the risk of someone leaving a negative review, but if they are being rewarded, they are probably more likely to write something positive.
        • Loyalty reward points for completing an action: You can incentive customers by offering points for joining the program, or points on their birthday. Another idea is to offer points for buying certain products. For example, you can announce your weekly specials, but loyalty members also get 10 points for buying the days’ special. This could be a good way to promote your loyalty program, as well as your specials.


        In an industry that is thriving in its infancy, it’s important to establish yourself as a trustworthy and reliable brand. Providing a customer with a great, positive experience and an incentive to come back is a great way to start building a roster of loyal, consistent customers.

        For more loyalty program inspiration, read: 9 Effective Loyalty Program Ideas for your Dispensary.

        To learn how Flowhub powers customer retention and loyalty strategies in your dispensary, request a demo today.

        Image from i OS

        Stefanie Deaguero