Should the Cannabis Industry Pay Attention to Skincare Brands for Marketing Tips?
The short answer: 1,000,000%. The cannabis industry could absolutely benefit from analyzing how various industries outside of the space are navigating their marketing strategies.
Primarily to gain insight for future marketing efforts, but also to stand out from competitors by drawing upon fresh and unexpected sources of inspiration far beyond the cannabis realm. Skincare (organic and wildcrafted skincare in particular) is an industry that can teach cannabis brands a lot about the art of digital marketing, ecommerce and driving customer engagement.
Essentially, both industries work to provide people with quality products derived from natural sources for specific purposes related to wellness, self-care and/or recreation. Plus, there is already some existing overlap between both spaces given the presence and rise of cannabis & CBD-infused skincare products.
Yet one of the core differences is that unlike skincare products, cannabis is federally illegal and is privy to very stringent marketing / advertising regulations that can make it cumbersome for companies to promote their products and services.
However, this doesn’t mean that the cannabis industry can’t identify aspirational methods from the skincare world and customize them into compliant marketing strategies of their own.
Here’s what industry stakeholders can learn from some of the best natural skincare marketers to create more insightful and innovative marketing campaigns that boost sales and customer loyalty.
3 Things the Cannabis Industry Can Learn from Natural Skincare Brands
1. Develop an Ecommerce Experience
Something the wild-crafted skincare industry does incredibly well is making sure their websites are as shoppable and dynamic as possible for site visitors. This includes:
- Prominently placing promotional banners across online stores to draw customers further into the marketing funnel with offers to spark their intrigue.
- Showcasing enticing product photography and collection shots across the site that evoke a certain mood—setting an aspirational tone for viewers.
- Adding thoughtful details like insightful product descriptions, eye-catching badges for new and best-selling products, award winning items, and price drops.
- Reducing the path to purchase as much as possible by implementing add to cart buttons to ensure customers can place an order quickly.
Currently many cannabis retailers have badges for product attributes like the potency percentages and ratios of cannabinoid and strain types in each product such as CBD, THC, indica, sativa, and hybrid. But taking it a step further to add additional badge types to product assortments can enhance the ecommerce experience in a formidable way. So can putting some effort into site photography to capture collection shots that establish a clear aesthetic and vibe that encapsulates the sentiment you’re trying to convey to site visitors.
2. Establish Opportunities to Have Revenue Driving Conversations with Your Customer Base
Like buying cannabis in a dispensary, shopping for skincare is incredibly personal. Especially since every individual is unique and there’s no single formulation, product or combination of products that will work to address the specific needs or desires of every person.
Incorporate Automated Chat
This is precisely why tools like automated chat are so popular in the natural skincare world, especially amongst brands with large assortments. Reason being: having a live chat feature on your website empowers you to answer customer questions in real time and provide product recommendations effortlessly; which is critical for increasing revenue driving conversations.
Most of these chatbots are branded as clean skincare advisors, a clever designation to provide an ecommerce experience that draws upon the type of experience a customer would have in a physical retail store. Currently, automated chat does have some traction in the cannabis industry—often referred to as a virtual budtender.
But perplexingly, this concept has not gained the type of notoriety you would expect from an industry where customers are constantly in search of strain and product recommendations based on their unique needs. This highlights an opportunity for cannabis retailers to differentiate themselves from competitors by implementing automated chat and virtual budtending features now before the swell of competition eventually decides to do it.
Create Customer Quizzes
Quizzes are also a widely used resource in the skincare world as they are fun, powerful and engaging tools that can help users identify what they might be looking for, and offers brands the chance to curate items for them based on their quiz results.
For cannabis retailers, creating strain and product quizzes for prospects has the potential to be a valuable catalyst for sharing product suggestions with customers to lead them further into your brand’s ecosystem.
Collect & Highlight Customer Reviews in Your Marketing
In just about every industry, word of mouth is a vital source for sustaining a growing customer base. Aware of this, skincare brands often use customer reviews in their marketing campaigns and on product pages.
Making customer feedback as visible as possible can do wonders to persuade customers to make a purchase on your website. For cannabis retailers, getting customers to leave a review for each product may not be feasible given how often assortments change seasonally, particularly for cannabis flower.
But dispensaries can take general reviews or category specific reviews and place them strategically across their website and on product category pages.
3. Practice Data-Driven Marketing
Additionally, it’s fairly common to see wild-crafted skincare brands leverage customer data like user behavior and purchasing history to drive sales. This can include sending customers marketing communications for:
- Specialized promotions to celebrate their birthday
- Abandoned cart or browse abandonment texts and emails
- Re-stock reminders
- Prompts to try new items they might like based off of their previous orders
As it stands, the cannabis industry has been much slower to adapt to a collective practice of fully owning and leveraging customer data. Right now there are a multitude of third-party platforms widely used throughout the industry to manage core dispensary operations.
Yet the downside is that these SaaS platforms get to retain the customer data that cannabis retailers are generating, and then they get to do whatever they want with it. Which is a real shame, because it strips cannabis retailers of the opportunity to market more thoughtfully to customers while also increasing revenue using the customer data that their businesses are already producing.
The remedy? Cannabis dispensaries can use a systems architecture approach, which is the process of synching and integrating a variety of platforms together to achieve the right combination of systems that will successfully enable all the functionalities a third-party platform would normally provide for operations including loyalty/rewards, delivery, customer messaging, POS software, inventory management, company website, content management, hosting platform, and email marketing.
For example, here at Above The Fray, we collaborated with Star Buds, to help them invest in a systems architecture approach and new ecommerce website that was custom branded and provided a more unique shopping experience in contrast to that of a third-party marketplace.
In this instance, ATF provided a comprehensive CMS evaluation that led to the successful integration architecture of Jane Roots, WordPress, WooCommerce, Cova and Alpine IQ.
What this did was empower Star Buds with the autonomy to fully retain, store and freely leverage the customer data their business generates.