May 8, 2020
COVID-Proof Your Dispensary Communications
Gianna Gard

No one could anticipate that COVID-19 would make the impact that it has on how businesses perform and operate. Consumption makes up 70% of America’s gross domestic product, but as businesses close and as households hold off on major purchases in anticipation of lost or reduced income, this number has greatly reduced. The terrain is even more complicated for cannabis, as states are evolving their stance on whether cannabis is labeled essential.

Twenty four states, including Florida, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Mexico, have permitted customers to pick up marijuana purchases curbside at dispensaries. Nevada has shut down all storefronts and moved delivery-only statewide. Ohio, Delaware and Minnesota have adopted orders allowing patients to consult with a physician via telehealth to receive a medical marijuana prescription. We anticipate more states will start to consider cannabis essential as shifts in industry-wide trends usually are slow to start, but quickly gain momentum after other markets are bolstering favorably towards essential status.

While reaching essential status has made a world of a difference for cannabis businesses in an otherwise troublesome economic landscape, it’s important to consider, of course, that working under new coronavirus rules and guidelines is far from business as usual. To help serve both you and your customers’ needs while respecting social distancing rules, you might need to reconsider how you’re staying connected with customers.

You might not currently be set up to change your mode of marketing cannabis- maybe you’re offering order ahead or delivery, but not curbside. Or maybe your state hasn’t allowed for delivery but legislation is changing that. Or maybe you’re pumping the brakes on your own operation until the market becomes a bit more stable.

Whatever the case may be, drip campaigns have been the best in class when it comes to staying in touch with existing and potential customers. This is because they deliver pre-written messages at customizable intervals, triggered by things like subscription events, birthdays, anniversaries, and promotions. A direct-marketing strategy like this is often used in lead nurturing campaigns, leading subscribers through the sales funnel or to specific end goals.

Workflows, on the other hand, offer all the benefits of drip campaigns, but with a few key bonuses.

Like drip campaigns, workflows allow messages to go out at specific times and with strategic delays. But when combined with conditional triggers and smart database management like Polaris, a Happy Cabbage marketing product that aims to streamline all workflows and customizable consumer parameters, workflows can also send messages based on conditions like behavior, location, or key consumer data, which effectively adapts SMS messaging for different audiences.

But what’s more important, keeping campaigns smaller and more customized, or reaching more contacts in your network with a generalized messaging approach? Take a look at the data to see how customers are converted based on the number of contacts reached in a campaign.

Small campaigns bring more people into your store or website. For campaigns with over 500 people, typically only 3% of those reached will end up buying something after 7 days, versus 8% for campaigns under 500, which leads directly to increased revenue. Small campaigns averaged $9 of revenue for each customer texted compared to only $5 for campaigns over 500.

The fact is 95% of SMS messages sent from businesses are received and seen within 3 minutes of being sent. Users are 60x more inclined to click on a link sent through text message than an email, and from those messages, we see an on-average 45% conversion rate. So even if purchases are not made initially, your chances of engaging with customers through signing up, clicking a link, or redeeming a coupon, is higher if you target your campaigns to smaller, more specific user demographics.

A workflow’s dynamic and customizable nature also means that it’s perfectly scalable depending on your dispensary’s preparedness for a change in messaging. With Polaris by Happy Cabbage, dispensaries have all their user data under the same roof. Here we recommend customizing parameters based on user behaviors, like what types of products users order, how often they make their order, ticket size, and loyalty to brands. We focus less on demographics like age, sex, and location, simply because these are not causal factors when observing cannabis purchase trends.

Once your workflow is active, you can view reports on how your users interact with your messaging. The Happy Cabbage marketing studio captures click through engagement, impressions, forwarded links, and direct conversion.

Reporting like this gives dispensaries the opportunity to see where they’re losing their customers along the workflow journey, and make revisions to messaging, UX, or both.

Creating meaningful connections with your subscribers has always been important. But in a time filled with uncertainty for both you and your consumers, it means a world of difference to be able to simplify and automate communications on your end, while providing a meaningful, custom message on theirs.

To see how Polaris workflows can help your dispensary, reach out to us at 


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