Let’s examine exactly how top-performing retailers apply those principles to achieve success, and exactly why those that failed did so. Failure has been seen as “closing the business”, however, the definition of success is always unique to the individual.

You may define success as providing quality medicines, educating people about the plant you love, or building wealth. Whatever your goals, implementing the best cannabis retail practices will help you achieve them while learning from the failures of others will help you face adversities head-on and be prepared for the worst.

Working in the cannabis industry may sound cool from a distance. But when you actually get your hands dirty, you realize it is unlike any other business. With strict regulations and compliance requirements, opening and running a cannabis dispensary is no easy task.

Unfortunately, the grass isn’t entirely green when it comes to the business landscape, and there are multiple challenges and risks that dispensary owners must navigate and overcome. Hence, before you dive into this extremely lucrative yet challenging business opportunity, you must ask yourself if you are fully prepared to face adversities head-on to prevent failure.

Cannabis retailers who have not followed the fundamentals of retailing and the unique principles of cannabis retail have unfortunately not succeeded in the dispensary business. But you can learn from their mistakes and ensure that you do your best.


Retail Cannabis Fundamentals

Customer ServiceA lot of dispensary owners fail because they don’t follow the basic principles of retailing. If you don’t have any prior experience running a store, then perhaps venturing into cannabis retail may not be the best business idea for you.

Retail is all about people: You must know the market you are targeting, and you must hire people who fit the market’s dynamics while applying the necessary principles of retail to your dispensary business.

For a cannabis dispensary, obtaining a cannabis retail license and finding a suitable location are two essential components that can make or break your business. Also, community involvement, dispensary design, inventory management, and customer experience are all equally crucial aspects of success as a cannabis retailer.

If you have prior experience in retail, you can apply those basic principles to running your dispensary as well. If you don’t, ensure that you hire people on your team who have prior retail experience and cannabis-specific experience, as you’ll need those skills on your team.

Hire & Training Staff

Buying CannabisOne of the most detrimental situations that can happen when hiring and training staff is to bring new hires into your company without being prepared with the processes to train them.

Before you even get started in the hiring process, think about what people you need, how they would fit in for the different roles, and all the information your staff needs to understand to operate at a high level.

As a best practice, you must create and document “Standard Operating Procedures”. These SOPs are essentially streamlined guides and processes that you and your management need to quickly get new hires trained and ready to knock things out of the park.


Remain Visible & Be Present

A big mistake that many owners make is that they delegate everything to staff and take a hands-off approach to their dispensary. You must ensure that your long-term vision is being enacted daily and throughout the business and its operations.

As the cannabis industry is maturing and reaching a saturation point in some legal jurisdictions, many businesses are unfortunately shutting down as they are not sustainable. Whereas, other retailers are thriving as they made the right decisions at the right time and adapted to the market situation when needed.

To be able to do that and pivot strategically, none had absentee owners. You don’t have to be present everywhere all the time, but ensure that you are regularly monitoring reports remotely if needed and keeping employees in check.

Let us know what you think.