​Tips for Running a Best in Class Cannabis Dispensary

Neil Demers  |


At Diego Pellicer - Colorado, we want to provide people with an exceptional experience and product that leads them to becoming loyal customers. As the cannabis dispensary marketplace becomes more crowded, standing out from the crowd becomes more and more important. The following are some of the things that we think make DP - CO stand out from the crowd and contributed to our being named the “Retail Dispensary of the Year” at the 2017 Cannabis Business Awards.

Innovative Customer Experience

While all businesses must be focused on the needs of their customers to be successful, providing a top notch, superior customer service experience in retail is particularly crucial, especially in a crowded sector like cannabis. That is why when we make a business decision, we always consider how it will affect the customer experience. Every aspect and detail of your dispensary should take into account the customer experience at every touchpoint along the consumer journey, from the initial greeting, to shopping in the store, to experiencing the product at home. Many dispensaries often act as though their primary clientele are stereotypical hippie-stoners who just want to buy some pot without much regard to the shopping experience or quality of customer service. They tend to be too much like a headshop, or too clinical. At Diego Pellicer - Colorado, we understand that cannabis is a lifestyle for the vast majority of our consumers and that they do not fit this stereotype and are more comfortable in a traditional retail shopping environment. That is why we pride ourselves in always trying to innovative and develop new ways to provide a high quality, professional retail shopping experience to our customers; one that is more akin to an Apple store than a Best Buy. The cannabis industry and users have been stigmatized enough, so we are hoping to change people’s minds not just about marijuana, but the entire cannabis industry through our shopping experience.

Right Hiring

One critical component of providing a high quality customer experience is the people your customers will be interacting with. Our employees and team are our biggest asset and they are an extension of our products. Employees can make or break the success of any business. To ensure that we hire the best employees we often look at individuals from outside the cannabis industry. Just because someone may be knowledgeable about cannabis or already be working in the industry doesn’t mean they can provide the level of customer service that contributes to a positive shopping experience. You can teach an employee about cannabis, but it is much more difficult to teach someone to be a good people person. We try to hire people that can not only be a strong employee, but also our future boss.

Product Diversity and Quality

We also pride ourselves in our product selection. Some dispensaries may only provide customers with a dozen or fewer products to choose from, leaving the customer with having to settle for a product that may not be exactly what they are looking for. Others may carry a wide array of products, but don’t pay attention to the quality of those products. Not only do we provide a selection of over 250 different products, we use our expertise and vet each of these products to ensure their price, quality and branding meet our standards. We are consumers ourselves and only want the best products and leading brands on our shelf. We will not settle for subpar products, low product mix or products that just don’t work, and our customers thank us for this.

Meeting Compliance Regulations

Finally, we take complying to Colorado’s rules and regulations for retail cannabis businesses very seriously. We have implemented rigorous compliance audits to ensure we are always following the existing rules and regulations to a tee. And when possible, we implement new rules and regulations prior to the official start date. To help with this, we have implemented state-of-the-art point-of-sale technologies, like Flowhub, that allow us to more easily capture and store all the information about our business required by the state. We also require all of our “budtenders” to be Sell Smart Certified, which is a statewide class for safe marijuana retail training, and make sure that all of our management is trained in METRC, which is Colorado’s seed to sale tracking system.

At the end of the day, running a best in class cannabis dispensary is like running any other successful business. Provide a top notch customer experience, hire the best employees for the job, provide customers with a wide variety of affordable, yet quality product choices, and abide by the rules of the game.

Neil Demers is the CEO of Diego Pellicer - Colorado, a premium Denver-based dispensary and brand licensee of Diego Pellicer Worldwide, Inc. Diego Pellicer - Colorado won “Retail Dispensary of the Year” at the prestigious Cannabis Business Awards 2017 on December 7th, while dispensary employees took home awards for “Executive of the Year,” “Manager of the Year,” and “Budtender of the Year.”

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