10 Things We Learned About Cannabis Retail at MJBizCon

Camille Demere
A packed conference floor with hundreds of attendees, the Treez logo is featured prominently in the foreground

MJBizCon: when a flood of professionals in the cannabis industry—brands, retailers, consumer goods, and supporting services—descend upon Las Vegas for 3 days packed with conversations, demonstrations, and of course evening functions. The large floors were packed, the night events were mosh pits, and some folks flew into LAS, only to camp out offsite at the Wynn, Cosmo, or Aria to take meetings and host events. In light of it all, real operators still showed up and we’re here to share their wisdom. We’re looking back at the high level thoughts we took away from our dozens of conversations with cannabis retailers, plus a few convention best practices that made our show so successful.

A packed conference floor with hundreds of attendees, the Treez logo is featured prominently in the foreground

The market is still growing. Despite anxious predictions for the entire US consumer economy  as well as the cannabis industry specifically, two floors of exhibitors speaks to undeniable growth in the industry. Some booths were all fun, others all fluff, and even others all business. But we heard that as an attendee, it was hard to hit every booth desired. What do you think: Is it time to break MJBizCon up by sector yet?

Most retailers aren’t checking their performance or measuring what works.  From our conversations on the MJBizCon floor, we know that most purchasing managers are stocking their shelves off of few actually reliable data points. In the absence of real data, they’re making decisions on what brands and products to carry based more on brand incentive programs than real sales in their stores. As average basket sizes decrease in the coming year, stores who are analyzing their data regularly will find success while those reaching in the dark are going to see decreasing bottom lines.

Discount effectiveness is also not being measured by retailers. Without the right insights, it’s likely some, if not most, are discounting products for the sake of running a sale. Very few can tell if those discounts are getting them more sales or increasing customer retention. Some can’t even say which sales resulted from specific discounts.

Plenty of retailers want to use their data to understand their specific customer, but their technology solutions and systems don’t allow them to spot trends easily. Some are drowning with data, with no way to see through the noise. Others can’t trust their data, because there are too many duplicates, or they have to export to another program like Excel to make anything worthwhile happen with their data. If you’re familiar with this feeling, reach out! We’d love to show you what Retail Analytics can do for you.  

Don’t reinvent the payments wheel. A major contributor to that extra-full convention floor was the infinite payment vendors at MJBizCon, some touting ease, others literally wearing money on their sleeves. From our conversations, it’s clear: retailers need normalized, accessible fintech solutions. The cannabis industry doesn’t need to reinvent the payments wheel. Instead, retailers need to be sure their software solutions are ready to connect them to scaleable, best of breed payments solutions.

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