The Future of Cannabis Retail: Delivery
In our modern world, delivery has made everything better. We are living in a world that is rapidly becoming dominated by delivery services for everything from food to dish soap. Delivery offers us the products we love, and brings them faster and easier, with greater convenience and more privacy. However, in cannabis, delivery has been considered a dirty word. Retail delivery has historically been the red headed step child of brick & mortar retail dispensaries. The question is why, and what has been making cannabis delivery more politically popular over the past 2 years?
The short answer is that there has been a concern about the ability to regulate cannabis deliveries. However, these businesses can easily be monitored and regulated in the same way as stores. Deliveries can actually offer more security in the privacy and sanctuary of your own home, and even offer greater safety in not having to drive anywhere to get the cannabis you enjoy. And you don’t have to look very far outside of cannabis to see most other regulated industries offering a safe, controlled, regulated and viable delivery service for customers (pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, etc.). There’s not much question that delivery has a place in our society with an increasing value to American consumers, and so it’s not surprising to see it recently becoming the cool kid on the cannabis block.
What are these concerns anyway? Potential robbery. Car accidents. Other liabilities. Product spoiling out in the heat. It sounds scary, but these are really just the same issues that any store is forced to worry about, and they are normal things that all delivery businesses face. UPS boasts they deliver and average of 15.8 million packages per day. It seems pretty clear that if they can deliver 475 million! packages per month, there are ways to intelligently track, monitor, and keep cannabis deliveries safe.
Let’s go down the rabbit hole a little and explore what it means to enjoy a delivery from a cannabis company.
There are two basic business models for a cannabis delivery: “Bag and Carry”, where customers place orders for specific products (traditional delivery model), or “Display Case / Ice Cream Truck / Mobile Dispensary”, where customers choose in person from a selection in a mobile display. And of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to each. The Ice Cream Truck model has had its place in cannabis, but it only offers the ability to carry a limited selection and inventory, so it doesn’t meet the desires of today’s consumer as effectively. Under the Bag & Carry model, a retailer can offer a much greater selection for consumers, and have less concern about transporting a large amount of product in the car.
As a quick note, I actually have experience with both of these models in companies I have advised. The new laws and regulations in California won’t allow the display case / ice cream truck model though, so the concept of a mobile dispensary is now gone with the wind. Or, more appropriately, its gone up in smoke!
So, why would someone prefer delivery to visiting a store? Every store has physical limitations in how many people can visit at a given moment in time, which leads to slow lines, and even getting to the store can be an issue as many stores have limited parking. There are also limits to how many people have the ability to simply travel to a store because of financial constraints (lack of transportation) or physical disabilities. More commonly, there are people (like me) who are busy and just prefer the convenience of having things delivered. And, of course, there are people who might feel that the store of their preference is too far away to visit. For all of these reasons, delivery is becoming the preferred method and will dominate the retail cannabis marketplace of the future.
In every other aspect of our society, delivery is becoming the peoples choice, and it’s inevitable it will find its place as the preferred way to purchase cannabis as well.