News and Best Practices

Data: The Key to Keeping Your Dispensary Customer-Centered

August 24, 2016

Every day, your dispensary generates a wealth of data that can drive better decision-making and help build a better business. How you gather and use this data—as well as how you encourage data sharing between departments—can have a significant impact on your operation.

To help you make the most of your data assets, we spoke with Richard M. Batenburg Jr., chairman of the Denver-based firm Cliintel, LLC. The company, which serves all industries, offers variety of products and services to the cannabis industry under the trade name of Evolutionz Consulting.

Data collection helps you provide products and services informed by the market. It also helps you determine what you’re selling and why, as well as how your product fits into your marketing program.

Like any retailer, a dispensary operator should delve into as many data points as possible. This includes information regarding your customer, your market, your employees and your product.

What kind of data should you be collecting regularly? “Everything,” Batenburg said. “You cannot manage what you cannot measure. There is no end to data collection, as more data begets more analysis.” At a minimum, though, he recommends collecting data in four key areas: point of service, regulations, cultivation and customers.

Customer data is key

When it comes to gathering customer data, the more information you can gather, the better, Batenburg said. The types of information you can glean include anything from your customers’ names and contact information to what radio stations they listen to and which magazines they read. And, if your business serves both the recreational and medicinal markets, it’s a good idea to know which of your customers are using cannabis for medical purposes.

logo and text black“I would like to know that, as a responsible dispensary owner, to make sure that you have all the latest information on research that’s being done,” Batenburg said. “We’re a caregiver on the medical side, and so we stay up on research that you may be interested in if you have some ailment you’re using cannabis to get some relief from.”

Another component of data collection is ensuring that pertinent information flows between departments. Frontline staff can provide critical information about customers’ preferences to employees in marketing, sales and cultivation. Those departments can then use that information to provide products and services custom-tailored to customers’ needs.

If, for instance, a frontline staff member discovers that customers are interested in a particular strain of flower, they can communicate that information to the cultivation side of the operation. If that strain isn’t grown in-house, cultivation can start working on getting it on the shelves.

“So there’s a little more intention through the product creation portion of the lifecycle,” Batenburg said.

In addition to increasing customer satisfaction, diligent data collection can yield benefits in a wide range of areas, including greater efficiencies in staffing, merchandizing and advertising, he said.

Unfortunately, in most businesses, departments are not encouraged to share data, Batenburg said. It’s a problem that his firm helps businesses solve. “Knowledge is power in most company cultures, especially the larger an organization gets,” he said. “We help make information powerful by enabling sharing and empowering the frontline employee, who is interacting with the customer.”

By Bridget Manley
Dispensary Management Today articles are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal guidance or advice on dispensary operations. You should contact an attorney or a qualified cannabis consultant for specific compliance and dispensary/retailing advice.
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