The cannabis industry is blossoming across the United States, giving customers countless product options. Cannabis Brand Merchant Luke Ferenc discusses how Green Growth Brands is guiding customers through this new retail landscape and providing them with quality products, exceptional experiences and brands they can trust.
What is the state of the cannabis consumer right now?
I think cannabis customers are overwhelmed; from new consumers, to people who are familiar with the product. Our goal is to simplify the experience for everyone by narrowing the assortment and only carrying high quality products. You have a lot of people that have used cannabis every day for the last 20 years, as well as people that haven’t used in the past 10 years and are looking to try it again. Regardless of how often they consume, very few have shopped for cannabis like this before, and we want to make the process as simple and comfortable as possible for everyone.
What’s your answer for such a range of customers?
It all starts with navigation within our retail environments. We want to simplify the experience, especially for those who have never been to a dispensary and aren’t really sure how to shop for cannabis. We are focused on finding the best ways to market the product and merchandise the assortment to simplify what is a confusing experience. We also rely heavily on our store associates who are critical to our success. Their knowledge of the product and passion for providing the best advice for the consumer separates us from the competition.
In an industry with so many possibilities, how do you determine what customers want?
Our team at The Source dispensaries in Nevada have been tremendous partners. They’ve been in the industry for a long time and provide a wealth of knowledge, in terms of both product knowledge and customer mindset. We really pay attention to what the customer tell us—what they’ve liked in the past, the feedback they’ve shared. We dig into social media platforms like Instagram to see what appeals to influencers and the public. And we look at the competition to see what’s working for them.
We also research trends outside this industry. For example, we look to the fragrance, wine, beverages and food industry. If there is a trend or technology that’s gaining traction, we’ll see how we can incorporate into our business strategy. We take all of this information and then brainstorm how we can deliver product to the customer that they didn’t even know they wanted.
What are your top priorities right now?
Two things: The first is we’re focused on collaborating with our partners at The Source and leveraging our talents to get it running at its optimal level, and the second priority is our new brand CAMP, and thoughtfully introducing it to customers by protecting premium product with obsessive attention to detail.
We launched our first CAMP product, Happy Camper, in April. That product was the first solventless rosin in Nevada, meaning no solvents such as C02 or butane were used throughout the extraction process. We want to be known as an innovative company that’s bringing new products into the industry, and we want to do it at a quality level that no one else can match. We’re trying to give consumers the most natural versions of these products that we can.
How has the market responded?
The reaction has been great. Customers have really responded to it, which we’ve seen in our sales data and heard from our store associates. Customers who preferred flower or weren’t fans of cartridges are saying they love the Happy Camper cartridge. When our store associates, who have tried all of the different brands, say that this product is a game-changer, that’s exciting. Especially considering it’s the brand’s first launch.
Has anything surprised you as these brands have developed?
I was surprised by how quickly the customers responded to CAMP and our first launch of Happy Camper, considering the average unit retail price is about 50 percent higher than the normal cartridge. But within the first week of it entering our stores, it was the best-selling cartridge in the assortment. The customer is willing to spend if you give them a premium product.
It validates what we’re doing at Green Growth Brands. When you take your time and support a brand through merchandising, store marketing, and proper product selection, the customer is going to gravitate towards it. They can truly tell the difference between brands that are focused on quality and innovation as opposed to ones that are just trying to turn out product.