Shopper Marketing - April 2016 - 132


REPORT: CANNABIS RETAILERS

reported by Marijuana Business Daily, a leading industry publication. The fastest-growing
area of noncompliance is related to labeling,
packaging and product safety, per the paper.
While adhering to all of these rules is critical,
retailers need to take a broader view when it
comes to staff training and educating consumers on an emerging category, says Scott
Kveton, a former mobile marketing executive
who now runs Odava, a Portland, Oregonbased software firm that designs and sells onpremise equipment exclusively to cannabis
retailers.
"Most of the software solutions on the
market are focused too heavily on compliance metrics like number of plants or level
of potency," says Kveton. "It reminds me of
the '90s when everyone in tech was worried
about gigabytes. Many consumers who are
new to the category don't care about those
kinds of things. They want to know: does the
product alleviate my back pain or help me
sleep better?"
Spinosa agrees: "The quality and consistency of our products is what's driving people
to our store. We grow all of our own flowers.
The staff needs to know the story behind the
product."

Going Mainstream
As consumers adjust to a new normal with regard to the cultural acceptance of marijuana,
marketers sense that the product is destined
to go mainstream. To a degree, it already has.
Branding experts often describe the aromas
of cannabis (they don't like to call it marijuana,
or heaven forbid, "reefer" or "weed") in the
132

y SHOPPER MARKETING APRIL 2016

same vein as the "notes" of wine, beer or coffee. Gourmet cannabis cookbooks are now
hitting the market, while packaged edibles
and ancillary products like extracts are fueling
strong growth in the category.
"I've never seen a consumer products category evolve as quickly as this one," says Markowitz. "Even if there's a regression in legalization this year, it will be seen as a historical
blip. The train has left the station."
For now, big ad agencies are steering clear
of the category. But that may change soon, as
the sheer volume of potential new business
continues to pass them by. Legal U.S. pot sales
soared 17.4% to $5.4 billion in 2015, and the
market is poised to hit $6.7 billion this year,
according to Oakland, California-based tracking firm ArcView Group. That kind of growth
in CPG is hard to come by.
Barriers also remain at the local level. In
Colorado, for example, a major grocery chain
recently refused to carry a neighborhood entertainment weekly with "blow-in" ads for local cannabis products because of the potential of those ads to spill out of the paper and
be seen by an unintended audience. In the
earlier days, dispensaries utilized sign flippers
at high-traffic intersections, but the state has
put the kibosh on these street corner staples.
Still, cannabis retailers continue to push the
boundaries of their customer model. Good
Chemistry is working on a limited text-based
rewards program and considering traditional
CRM tools like e-mail surveys. "That's the road
we want to go down," says Spinosa. "We're
starting to figure out who are the people
SM
coming through our doors."



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shopper Marketing - April 2016

Contents
Shopper Marketing - April 2016 - Intro
Shopper Marketing - April 2016 - 1
Shopper Marketing - April 2016 - 2
Shopper Marketing - April 2016 - 3
Shopper Marketing - April 2016 - Contents
Shopper Marketing - April 2016 - 5
Shopper Marketing - April 2016 - 6
Shopper Marketing - April 2016 - 7
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