Marijuana industry can save America’s ‘Retail Apocalypse’

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As most shopping turns to online storefronts, marijuana could fill the brick-and-mortar retail void

A recent poll conducted by Harris Research confirms what most marijuana users have known for a long time. Marijuana isn’t being purchased so that consumers can get high. Instead, 75% of consumption is for pain relief, to manage anxiety or to relax. This is a substantial figure that can lead to more legislative approval on both the state and national level. It can also help to offset a recent trend of closures seen in the retail industry as more consumers choose to do their shopping online.

Shoppers are, once again, returning to a brick-and-mortar environment, especially for their marijuana needs. Since interstate shipping is still illegal and in-state shipping is limited, consumers have to visit the dispensaries to make their purchases. This is also giving them an excuse to be out and about, which leads to more time spent in other retail establishments.

The Harris Research poll also indicated that almost half of those visiting dispensaries do not research their options before visiting the stores. This is because they rely on the stores to provide the information they need. This is fueling a new retail experience that is more complete than a simple visit and purchase.

According to Peter Barsoom, CEO of the 1906 edibles company, “The cannabis industry is faced with unique challenges when it comes to retail, including a legacy of behaviors and stigma, the regulatory environment and the fact that it is still a very young market. Many industry leaders are turning this challenge into an opportunity to reinvent the retail experience by reevaluating everything – from the educational component, the one-on-one interaction with sales associates, the flexibility of the customer journey and overall design of next-generation facilities.”

Barsoom also indicated that consumers are looking for the one-on-one relationship that they develop with their budtenders. They feel a connection and a sense of confidence that helps them choose the right options and rely on the in-store experience to foster that relationship.

While retail merchants have been closing their doors on what seems to be a daily basis, perhaps marijuana has, once again, been shown to have more benefits than drawbacks.