The cannabis industry faces unique challenges when it comes cannabis retail store's adapting to the impact of COVID-19. In addition to the tragic loss of life and widespread social isolation, the impact of COVID-19 on economic conditions and businesses in Canada and around the world has been profound.
The weed industry has seen ever-evolving legislative and regulatory change over the last few years, even before the crisis, and is therefore in a unique position when it comes to responding to ongoing orders imposed by the federal and provincial governments as the Pandemic marches on.
Businesses big and small that embrace and adapt successfully to these changes have a competitive advantage over those who resist them.
Here are 7 tips that will help your cannabusiness survive and thrive during COVID-19 and beyond.
1 - Stay up to date on government changes.
There has been an unprecedented amount of federal and provincial government-provided relief along with changing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. For business owners, staying up to date on these changes while also trying to manage a successful store can be difficult.
The weed industry is in a unique position to respond to these changing rules and guidelines, however, since cannabusiness owners are used to regulations shifting rapidly. Stay up to date on the government response, both federally and in your province, when it comes to things like social distancing measures, layoffs, and financial relief that may be available to you.
2 - Keep your customers informed.
Employers across all retail sectors have had to accommodate new and changing customer expectations, and the cannabis industry is no different. Be proactive and clear about communicating with your customers, and utilize the online tools at your disposal.
Think about expanding your online presence and updating your website and social media to inform your customers about things like changes to hours, mask and capacity requirements, and rules about sampling products. This helps set expectations and also lets your customers know you’re taking safety seriously.
3 - Consider online reservations.
Especially if you’re dealing with staffing issues or difficult-to-comply-with capacity and social distancing regulations, implementing an online reservation system by using reservation software at your store is something to consider. Sure, there are some initial investments of time and money required to set up an online reservation and pickup system. But it makes COVID compliance much easier and your customers will appreciate the convenience.
People are more likely to show up at your store if they have made a reservation - you could also consider fees, or creating a system around dealing with no-shows should they fail to show up for their appointment.
4 - Schedule employees carefully.
Scheduling retail employees is never easy, and COVID-19 has complicated the process even further. Communicating with and accommodating the needs of your employees is more important than ever due to changing circumstances with school and daycare closures, health concerns among at-risk employees, and widespread economic concerns.
Consider using integrated labor management software to help you schedule and communicate with your employees. This allows you to send out updates to your staff about changes in scheduling needs, reduced hours of operation, COVID-specific training, government updates, and changes to policies and practices. Push has also created unique features that allows employers to communicate with staff who have been temporarily laid off through the system using tools created during the pandemic to help with communication.
5 - Adapt how you display and sell products.
Throughout the pandemic, different provinces have faced different government requirements regarding social distancing, face masks, and capacity restrictions. Compliance with these regulations is extremely important. Utilize signage to make capacity and mask expectations clear and set up clearly-marked physical barriers to maintain social distancing measures. These efforts make interacting much easier and less awkward for both employees and customers.
6 - Closely monitor sales and employee data.
One of the best ways to ensure your business succeeds during COVID-19 is to monitor and analyze changes and trends in product sales and item popularity, in addition to keeping a close eye on employee data. Are certain products more or less popular now than they were prior to the pandemic? Are employees working longer hours?
If you haven’t already, think about implementing automated software that integrates with your POS system. This makes tracking labor and sales data simple and convenient, streamlining your decision-making process, saving you money and making it easier to respond to changing conditions.
7 - Embrace change.
When it comes down to it, the impact of COVID-19 on businesses is likely to be long-lasting. Some rules and regulations may lessen or disappear in time, while others could become staples of society. One way or another, conditions for cannabusinesses and other retailers in Canada have changed for the foreseeable future. Entrepreneurs and managers who lean into these changes and innovate new solutions to meet these new challenges have a competitive advantage in the weed industry.
The cannabis industry, like many others, is facing changing regulations, expectations, and uncertainties due to the COVD-19 crisis. Face these challenges head on, adapt how you do business, and take advantage of every tool at your disposal to ensure the success of your store.
Push Operations offers cloud-based labor management software that seamlessly integrates HR, time and attendance, payroll, and scheduling into a single, intuitive platform that can help you respond to the COVID-19 pandemic effectively. Schedule your employees, get real-time sales and labor-cost reports, automate payroll, and track time more easily and accurately with software designed for your cannabis retail store, and for the future.