Cannabis Brands Embrace Experiential Retail

Executives across the industry pave a path to the future as dispensaries push the boundaries of retail.

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Maturing legal markets have catalyzed not only an explosion of products and innovation but also a shift in how consumers purchase their cannabis. The cannabis community is abuzz with excitement as in-store shopping becomes the expectation. In this environment, retailers play a crucial role in breaking stigmas and welcoming customers through brick-and-mortar doors and onto online platforms.

Following general trends in the larger retail sector, cannabis retailers are experimenting with experiential models, crafting memorable, exciting experiences for in-store shoppers. Consumers from all demographics—baby boomers, millennials and Gen Z included—look to budtenders in dispensaries to guide their experience and assist in product selection, similar to more traditional outlets like beauty stores or bookshops. Instagrammable decorative walls fit for influencers substitute for product sampling, and sophisticated store design engages consumers from the moment they enter until they exit. Through experiential design, dispensaries can create community, entertain, help customers feel comfortable, and introduce audiences to new products.

With cannabis retail taking off, clever and enthusiastic leaders are stepping forward to reshape the way consumers experience dispensary shopping—both in-person and online. For example, Crystal Millican at Cookies drives the famous brand's retail strategy across 52 stores, scaling the business to meet increasing consumer demand. Rhonda Kratz at Ayr Wellness strives to create a seamless digital retail experience for consumers, amping up the brand's ecommerce platform to boost accessibility and engagement. Larry Scheffler at Planet 13 knows consumers visit Las Vegas for spectacle, so he created an elaborate, jaw-dropping retail destination, not just a store. These modern dispensaries, led by forward-thinking leaders, do the essential heavy lifting in breaking down remaining stigmas and encouraging individuals to incorporate cannabis into their lives.

"Cannabis brands of all sizes, from multistate operators to mom-and-pop shops, have stepped up to the challenge of rising consumer expectations," said Kathee Brewer, editorial director at Inc Media, parent company of award-winning trade journal mg Magazine. "Whether online or in-person, contemporary dispensaries are pushing the boundaries of the retail experience, opening new avenues for consumer exploration and washing away the negative connotations of the past. With experiential activities, futuristic design, whiz-bang technology, and more, the cannabis retail environment is forging ahead into a new era."

Read mg Magazine's October issue here. Print copies are available by subscription.

About mg Magazine:

Founded in 2015, mg Magazine is the multi-platform media resource retail executives, buyers, investors, manufacturers, marketers, and agencies in the U.S. cannabis industry turn to for the expert insight and analysis they need to drive revenue and growth. By providing actionable intelligence about emerging trends, best practices, and innovation, mg's principled, unbiased, factual journalism helps the industry navigate the present while preparing for the future. Visit


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SOURCE mg Magazine