Retail Store Design Guide for Cannabis Dispensaries

Retail Store Design Guide for Cannabis Dispensaries

By Handy Store Fixtures
Posted in Store Design
On June 28, 2019

A confusing store layout can cost you sales. In fact, creating an exceptional store design and layout is one of the most important aspects of running a retail business.

This includes cannabis dispensaries. It was reported recently that Colorado alone has collected over one billion dollars in tax revenue from the sale of marijuana. Although the cannabis retail industry is relatively new, the principles of retail store design that have been around for centuries remain the same for any brick and mortar cannabis shop opened today.

If you’re in the process of opening a cannabis dispensary or thinking of opening one, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to the design and layout of your store. Keep reading to learn what they are.

Create a sense of normalcy

You may have heard retail experts say that creating a different and unique shopping experience is the key to running a successful brick and mortar store in the 21st century. While this may be true for typical retail stores such as pharmacies and pet shops, it isn’t necessarily the way to go for your cannabis dispensary.

Many of your customers will be first-time buyers of cannabis products. Create a familiar shopping experience customers will recognize from other retail stores they have spent time in.

Our suggestion: Think about some of the retail stores you frequent. How do you feel when you walk in? Do you feel safe? Are the employees friendly? These are important questions you need to ask yourself before opening your dispensary.

Believe it or not, your store fixtures and displays can create a sense of normalcy. Set up your shop with retail glass and wood shelving — fixtures many customers are used to seeing in retail stores.

Focus on customer service

Customer service is everything in retail, especially in cannabis dispensaries. You’re going to want to focus on hiring staff that is knowledgeable about the industry and can provide friendly, helpful advice to customers.

Our suggestion: Have an associate greeting customers as they walk in, encouraging them to ask questions and showing them around. Doing this will put customers who are unfamiliar with dispensaries at ease and will hopefully persuade them to stay in your store longer.

When hiring employees, take passion into consideration. James Yagielo, CEO of Hempstaff says "not all jobs in the cannabis industry are fun; many are very tedious, repetitious work, so having a passion for cannabis and its healing properties is important to most companies."

You’ll also want to invest in the proper training of your employees. Go the extra mile and educate your staff on industry happenings, laws and regulations, and any information you think customers should know about. This will help increase trust between you and your customers and show them that your employees genuinely care about what they’re selling.

Educate customers

An important aspect of creating an amazing customer experience is the ability to increase the time you spend face-to-face with shoppers. One way to do this is by educating them on all things cannabis. When it comes to this industry, there’s a lot your customers may not know about, so be sure to provide them with resources for keeping up with news and events.

Our suggestion: First, take a look at resources such as Cannabis 101 or Marijuana Business Daily to educate yourself and employees. Second, focus on creating and facilitating discussions with your customers. Doing this will increase trust between you and your shoppers and help inform them about what product to buy.

Cross merchandising

In any retail store, cross merchandising can be beneficial in increasing sales. However, when it comes to your cannabis dispensary, it’s important not to overdue cross merchandising to the point that you’re confusing your customers.

Our suggestion: Cross merchandise only when necessary or when it makes sense. When it comes to cannabis, there’s a lot to look at and consider when making a purchase, so strategically place your product and following general rules of buyer psychology.

Another thing to think about is how you’re visual merchandising your products. Display items in a way that creates an emotional appeal to your customers.

According to Green Bits, “Cannabis dispensary managers have an advantage when it comes to color psychology: the main product is green. But the fact is that almost every dispensary overuses the color green, and as the market expands, it will become increasingly associated with cheap fast-food style marketing.”

Think about the feeling you want your customers to have as they enter your store, and remember: color can make a big difference in someone’s intent to buy.

Expand your inventory

There are the typical products you’ll find in any dispensary, but what will set your shop apart from the rest will come down to the additional inventory you stock.

Our suggestion: Stock your store with promotional products, books, games, and even gifts. Promotional products are a great way to increase brand awareness of your dispensary and will create a sense of pride for customers that shop at your business.

Expanding inventory goes back to educating your customers. If customers are interested in learning more about the cannabis industry or the benefits of the product, they can purchase a book to learn more about it — while they are spending time in your shop.

Where you put these items in your store is equally as important. Impulse buys are a big opportunity when it comes to increasing the bottom line, and installing fixtures such as end unit displays or a retail sales counter can encourage your customers to make last-minute purchases.

Think layout & flow

The layout of your store goes beyond the merchandise you sell. When planning the design and layout of your cannabis dispensary, you need to think about the journey your customers take that lead them to check out.

ur suggestion: Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What’s the first thing they’re going to want to see when they enter your shop? Is it a welcoming associate? Or do you bombard them with signs and displays? Keep in mind that in any retail store, a decompression zone is vital for creating a great customer experience.

A decompression zone is the 5-15 feet of space from the entrance of your store to the start of your promotional displays and products. This space ensures your customers have a seamless transition to shopping mode.

Here are more tips for creating a great store design.

There’s a lot to think about when opening and operating your own dispensary. Your store’s design, layout, and experience can make or break the success of your business.

You shouldn’t tackle your store’s design on your own. Our store design specialists have over 60 years of experience in planning effective retail store layouts for businesses in every industry. Many of the fixtures you see in a typical convenience or liquor store can work for your dispensary.

On the flip side, you may be more interested in having a custom fixture made to fit your store’s need. Luckily, we do that too!

If you’re interested in learning how our store design experts can help create a layout that increases sales, contact Handy Store Fixtures today.

Create a Layout That Converts in Your Dispensary

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Handy Store Fixtures

Handy Store Fixtures



Headquartered in Corning, New York, Handy Store Fixtures is a United States leading store fixture supplier providing the highest-quality retail display fixtures. We provide independent retailers with a variety of shelving and display options and services designed making the store shelving layout process simple.