We all know that the COVID-19 lockdown led to disruptions in our daily life, everything from your work schedule to our grocery shopping habits. When it comes to cannabis retail, there is good news and bad. The good news is that demand for cannabis is still skyrocketing, on the other hand, cannabis supply chains have been impacted resulting in a decrease in customer satisfaction and an increase in customer cost. In our case, we don’t want to or need to focus on what is good or bad, but simply what has changed? How are our cannabis branding and marketing strategies going to change post-COVID lockdown?
What changed during the COVID lockdown?
Since the lockdown restricted face-to-face interactions, the internet has dominated every aspect of our lives from socially distant family gatherings to grocery shopping and even deep-diving down Google rabbit holes. During the lockdown, consumers were finding out what strain they prefer, what products will work best for them, and even how their flower is grown. This means that the public is more focused on educating themselves about cannabis than ever before!
This may seem like a short term benefit to the lockdown but research shows that even after we return to our “new normal” that the long term economic effects from the pandemic could boost end up cannabis sales. While an economic downturn is unpredictable, consumers have also been looking into bulk-buying cannabis and stocking up in case they run out of their stash.
How has consumer behaviour changed?
To put it simply, people are looking to introduce cannabis in their life more than ever before. Knowing what your audience is searching for is vital to figuring out how to market your company in the most empathetic and human way possible that helps customers deal with their situation. Since the lockdown, consumers have been searching for cannabis that overall, has more uplifting effects like increased arousal, euphoria, or giggly feelings. People were also searching more often for products that deal primarily with pain and/or depression.
What should cannabis marketers be doing about it?
Before lockdown, your marketing budget probably focused on social media, the occasional website update and a whole lot of physical marketing. Post-COVID lockdown, you should adjust your budget to match where your consumers are searching for you, and spoiler alert, it’s not the yellow pages anymore! Seeing a dramatic uptick in online activity means that your main marketing focus should be on ensuring that your virtual customer’s experience with your company is flawless. Some marketers recommend focusing on digital sales and creating a storefront, while others focus on using your data to cater to your company to customers who ‘will love it but don’t know it yet’. The common influence in both of these approaches is that they use data! Using your own data from social media, major search engines, and web analytics services can help you and your company find a home on the web, and better yet, ensure that your customers can find you easily the next time they’re topping up their stash.