September 19, 2023

The Impact of Budtender Rewards and Training at Retail

Budtenders hold most of the keys to the kingdom of cannabis sales. They are either the first or last person a customer talks to before buying. They can even increase basket sizes for online orders with the right training and incentives.

It is of high import for brands to engage budtenders to help encourage promotion of their products. From budtender appreciation nights to training to incentives, there are many options to engage them.

In this blog, we’re going to investigate the impact of incentivizing budtenders on retail sales. To do that, our Head of Data Science, Bobby Fatemi, dove into sales of four major brands over two periods of time: one where there was significant engagement between budtenders and brand-motivated training and incentive programs; and one where there was none. 

Let’s see how they fared.

The Methodology

The Results

When comparing brands that offered rewards vs. brands that offered no rewards, across the two consecutive 60-day periods (no-rewards vs earning rewards time periods), we found the following:

  1. Brands offering rewards saw an average increase in total sales of 67% in the period in which rewards were being redeemed by budtenders (Figure 1)
  2. Brands that offered NO rewards saw an average percentage decline of 8.5% in total sales (Figure 3) across the same time periods
  3. Furthermore, we see that brands offering rewards also benefited in sharp increases in the percentage of total sales across both of these time periods (Figure 2).

The Lesson

In this analysis, the answer is crystal clear: brands that offer incentives and training to budtenders see an incredible benefit. In fact, the lesson to those that don’t should also be clear: they actively lose sales to brands that train and reward budtenders.

While the high engagement brands increased their sales, the impact was a decreased focus on as many as hundreds of other brands in store, which dealt their competitors an extra blow over that time period. 

Check out the graphs below. For the sake of protecting sensitive data, we have anonymized the 4 brands and the retailer we analyzed. These are, however, 4 widely known brands in California across flower, edibles, and concentrates.

As a reminder, these are the definitions for the time periods being shown in Figures 1, 2, and 3:

Earning Rewards Period

The period in which rewards were offered and continued to be redeemed (8/22/2022 - 10/22/2022)

Pre-Rewards Period

The period immediately before rewards began being redeemed by budtenders (6/21/2022 - 8/21/2022

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3