The legalization of cannabis is a game-changer for American retailers as they have a massive opportunity to sell it legitimately. Since the industry is still nascent, the scope for growth is immense. You can easily stand apart in the competitive market, provided you offer quality, versatility, and optimal pricing. A viable marketing plan can ensure visibility despite the restrictions on open promotions. At the same time, you can capitalize on the e-commerce trend with an attractive website and excellent delivery services.
But there’s another side of the picture because business owners need to follow several rules and regulations to stay on the right side of the law. Overlooking compliance is not a choice because it can land your business in trouble with hefty penalties and reputational damage. The good thing is that ensuring compliance for your retail store is easier than you imagine. Here are a few tips for building a compliant retail business and running it without stress.
Know The Regulations
Even as cannabis gains legal status in several American states, it is far from free retail. You cannot expect to sell it like groceries or clothing. Several federal, state, and local regulations still apply. For example, some states allow medicinal consumption and recreational use, while others permit only medical usage for some qualifying conditions. Sellers should also dig deep into details like the quantity they can sell to an individual buyer while staying within the legal limits. Not knowing the regulations can get you into a major problem, so ensure reading and re-reading them. You may seek advice from others in the industry and collaborate with a specialist lawyer to comply with the rules. Staying up-to-date is equally vital because regulations can change sooner than you imagine.
Get Experts On Board
Staying on top of everything can be challenging for cannabis retailers, as you may miss out on something, no matter how hard you try. External collaborations can be expensive, specifically when you are new in the industry. But getting experts on board is a sensible decision, even if you have to spend a little more to hire such employees. Look for experienced budtenders to cover the customer service front. Also, hire experts with in-depth knowledge of cannabis banking and taxes because these are critical areas of retail selling in the domain. Seasoned professionals can empower your business with advanced planning and agile adjustments to the ever-changing regulations in the sector.
Pay Attention To Online Selling
Managing online sales is one of the critical concerns for retailers because it is hard to verify consumer age. But giving up on the channel is not a choice because a large segment of customers prefers to shop online. Selling on reliable platforms like 420DC is a good way to start because it attracts conscious consumers. You must ensure the legit age of buyers to prevent compliance issues and stay safe from penalties. Implementing an identity validation system into your online order processing procedures is an effective measure to ditch age-limit issues while selling online. You can sell hemp products with low THC levels to steer clear of cannabis shipping restrictions.
Use Dispensary Technology
Most retailers struggle with seed-to-sale tracking of cannabis products, but it is the mainstay of compliance. Missing out can lead to trouble with authorities in the event of a theft or breach. You must have the records in place even if there is no unexpected security issue for your business. Although inventory tracking sounds complicated when you have thousands of products in stock, you can rely on dispensary technology to stay compliant. Look for tools to track products, manage point-of-sale transactions, and process buyer IDs for customer verification. Leveraging technology reduces dependence on the human workforce and minimizes human error in the process.
Create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
Like any other business, cannabis sellers must create standard operating procedures (SOPs) to manage day-to-day operations effectively. These instructions define and convey a clear roadmap about running the organization to the employees. Standardizing what you do reduces the risks of mistakes and inconsistencies. Cover key areas such as customer transactions, online deliveries, inventory management, lab testing, and physical security. Having viable SOPs keeps your business safe from breaches and ensures that everyone on the team is on the same page regarding their roles and responsibilities.
Audit Your Operations
Compliance is not a one-time thing for cannabis retailers. Once you start operating your dispensary, you must routinely conduct retail audits to stay on the right side of the regulations. Creating retail checklists is a good start as it ensures you do not miss out on key aspects. You can define an audit process to ease through it every time you get down to work. For example, check your POS systems, inventory security, and daily documents to ensure everything is in place. Remember that there is no margin for error in the industry, so you must follow every step stringently.
Spread The Word Cautiously
Marketing a cannabis brand is tricky as you cannot be too loud about it, considering that some people still have qualms about its erstwhile regulations. Advertising and branding cannot happen in conventional ways because different marketing regulations apply federally and in specific states. But you can rely on educational marketing to spread the word online through blogs and social media pages. You may also have to follow strict guidelines around signage. Likewise, you need to be discreet with labeling, besides providing all the necessary details as required by the government.
Staying compliant should be on top of the cannabis retail checklist because the smallest error can have dire implications. Since the industry is highly regulated, breaking the rules can lead to strict actions by the authorities. A preventive approach is always better because it keeps you stress-free and saves you from painful consequences. The good thing is that you need not struggle a lot to keep your business safe and compliant. Follow this simple checklist and get regular updates on the changes in the regulatory landscape. Aligning your operations quickly to the changes is equally crucial.