5 essential ways to use digital signage in cannabis dispensaries

May 30, 2019Rob Côté

The movement to legalize cannabis for recreational use has picked up steam in the past couple of years, with multiple states decriminalizing or outright legalizing the practice and Canada legalizing cannabis across the country. Hundreds of entrepreneurs have seized the opportunity to set up their own shops where legal. From general pot shops to establishments specializing in particular products, dispensaries are becoming increasingly common fixtures where legal.
In this competitive environment, dispensary operators can use digital signage to boost efficiency and provide extra value to customers. Here’s how.

Use digital dispensary signage to inform your clientele

Public perception of cannabis has changed incredibly rapidly. In the US, support for cannabis legalization consistently tops 60 percent, which is close to a 180 from the favourability numbers in 2000.

A chart demonstrating the shift in public support for cannabis legalization. Suport has grown from 12% in 1969 to 62% in 2018.
Pew Research

This trend has sparked interest in cannabis among people who had never consumed it before. According to CTV, one shop owner in Vancouver estimates that 15-20 percent of her customers are baby boomers who had never tried cannabis but turned to it for health purposes. Much of this interest is concentrated in the non-psychoactive compound CBD, which a 2019 survey said 40 percent of US adults were willing to try.
There is, however, also plenty of interest in the many pills, oils, edibles, buds, and other products that deliver the psychoactive goods. This is including among people who may have been against the idea of cannabis in recent years. Therefore, for dispensaries with a wide selection of products, a key mission is to connect shoppers, both experienced with, and new to, cannabis, with the right products to achieve desired effects.
Glass jars filled with cannabis sitting on a table
Educating customers should be a big concern for dispensary owners

There is, however, also plenty of interest in the many pills, oils, edibles, buds, and other products that deliver the psychoactive goods. This is including among people who may have been against the idea of cannabis in recent years. Therefore, for dispensaries with a wide selection of products, a key mission is to connect shoppers, both experienced with, and new to, cannabis, with the right products to achieve desired effects.
An informed staff is an ideal place to start, but digital signage in the dispensary is a wonderful supplement that can ease the burden on that team. Dispensaries can use displays placed around the store to provide information about strains and their origins, the concentrations of CBD and THC in different products, general experiential details or warnings about particular methods of consumption, facts about local laws regarding possession and consumption, and other useful information.

Go digital for smarter cannabis dispensary menus

For all the appeal of chalkboards and retro-themed static menus, digital menus are the way to go in today’s retail space. They’re brighter, more colourful, and can include moving visuals, which has been shown to create more emotional appeal than static imagery.
Establishments that opt for digital have enjoyed quick and impressive results. For example, in the UK, the burger chain Prime Burger saw sales jump by 50% after deploying digital menu boards in its locations.

For cannabis dispensaries looking to maximize their revenue, installing and operating digital menus is, therefore, an obvious choice. They offer a smart, space-saving way to run through the long list of strains and products that many dispensaries have, and a great way to use big visuals to draw attention to new additions that repeat customers might like.
In addition to the heightened visual appeal, digital menus can let dispensaries present dynamically changing menus. Products featured on the board could change based on time of day, or in response to external conditions like weather, holidays, or other events. It’s a good way to make menus a little more interesting and a lot more relevant to customers.
Finally, digital menus have the advantage of allowing integration with point of sale systems. This means that menus can adapt to current stock levels on the fly, automatically changing promotions or outright removing items from display when they are sold out. Particularly given that some areas have experienced supply shortages in the wake of legalization, this feature of digital menu boards could be a big help to dispensary workers.

Get interactive with touchscreen kiosks in your dispensary

For even greater benefit when investing in digital signage, it’s worth expanding into interactive displays. Retailers and many other kinds of businesses have begun installing digital kiosks both to streamline their in-store sales process and to enable customers to explore product, subject, or safety information in a self-directed way.
Given the confusion and misinformation that exists around cannabis, this kind of installation could be particularly useful for dispensaries. Topics like safety tips, recommendations or warnings specific to different methods of consumption, information about the history of different strains or cannabinoids, and more are all likely to be welcomed by curious customers.

A hand with an outstretched finger touching a touchscreen
Touchscreen kiosks are a great tool for customers to learn about cannabis products

Kiosks can also provide a great method of improving store sales efficiency. By including a self-ordering function, you can enable customers to use a touchscreen to browse your products and make purchases to be fulfilled by your team. McDonald’s has found that users of digital kiosks actually purchase more product than the average consumer, likely because kiosks enable more thorough exploration and examination of the products that are sold.
Not all digital signage software offers the extensibility and stability necessary for kiosks to be operated alongside other digital signage in a dispensary. The best choice will have reliable uptime, offer top-tier security, and include the ability to integrate with point-of-sale software.

Create point of purchase displays that sell

Menu boards are all well and good for helping customers understand the stock in a dispensary, but it’s also worth using digital displays geared toward advertising. Setting up digital point of purchase (POP) displays can help dispensaries prompt impulse purchases of products or accessories that customers might find interesting. It’s a good way to boost sales, and offers the opportunity to establish an ad revenue stream as well.

A close-up of a hand holding a bank card, about to pay for goods
Point of purchase displays in the dispensary can help promote impulse purchases

It’s important to note that the types of advertising that can be placed on these kinds of screens will depend heavily on local, regional, or national laws governing the sale of cannabis. Many states include restrictions on portraying of cannabis products as “healthy” or “safe.” Others may strictly prohibit advertising that seems geared toward youth.
Working in favour of POP advertising in dispensaries, however, is the fact that outdoor and online advertising of cannabis is generally prohibited by either state or national law. This means that rare opportunities for impactful visual ads, such as the one presented by in-dispensary stores, likely carry premium value. Stores that offer this type of ad inventory will probably enjoy hot demand.

Make it easy to update each dispensary’s local content

When it comes to efficiently operating digital signage, controlling the overall content strategy from a centralized, even remote location is generally the way to go. It can be important, however, for local teams to be empowered to alter content on the fly as well. Dispensaries might find this useful in the event that a particularly popular product gets sold out and customers need to be notified, or if there are special promotions, events, or other notices that need to be shared.
To keep screen content on-brand, it’s a good idea to minimize the amount of design work that needs to be done whenever local content needs to be updated. Some digital signage platforms offer template-based content solutions that make only select portions editable by users. This can allow the team at a dispensary to quickly get out necessary information without compromising on the business’ branding.
Want to deck your dispensary out with great digital signage?
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Rob Côté
Rob Côté

Demand Generation Manager