With increased competition between cannabis retailers, it’s not enough to have the best or widest selection of products—or the lowest prices. The cost of keeping a customer is less than the cost of acquiring a new customer, and the best way to turn a first time customer into a long term customer is to reward them for ordering with you and for spending more on orders.

But what about your existing long term customers and big spenders? Encourage high-spending customers to keep shopping at your dispensary and incentivize repeat customers with a VIP dispensary loyalty program. Whether you have an existing loyalty program or are exploring implementing one, incentivize customers to earn VIP status by adding a top-tier to your loyalty program with access to exclusive rewards.

6 easy ways to take exceptional care of your VIP dispensary customers:

1. Set Up Your VIP Loyalty Rewards Program

Think about the loyalty programs you love. Don’t be afraid to borrow ideas from retail stores with popular rewards programs like Nordstrom, Sephora, or even your local coffee shop. Dig into shop data—When do your most loyal customers shop? Who spends the most? What are they buying? Create your own, fun name for VIP customers that sets them apart—“Top Shelf Club,” anyone? Ask your best customers about their preferences and test different ideas to see what works to bring them back to your business. Choose a variety of rewards, from cash back, discounts, free products, events and experiences—or give your customers the option to donate reward points to a non-profit. Remember to measure and iterate: track your most popular rewards and experiment—the possibilities are endless! Consider rewarding customers not just by dollars spent, but by order frequency and volume. Award bonus points to existing customers for each new customer referral. Don’t forget your special group customers—veterans, seniors, and industry. Customers you already provide a group discount to can be some of your most loyal customers. Consider including or grandfathering select customers into your VIP program even if they don’t qualify based upon points alone.

Incentivize high-spending customers with a VIP cannabis rewards program. Add a top-tier to your dispensary loyalty program with access to exclusive rewards.

Overwhelmed? Start small with a simple loyalty program and grow your tiers as your customer base grows. Remember to provide all customers with realistic, small rewards for continued patronage—don’t make them wait until they’ve accumulated thousands of points for their first small reward! Learn more about creating loyalty “milestone buys” to reward shoppers with prizes and perks on the Meadow Memo podcast: Meadow Memo: Dispensary Marketing & Building Brand Relationships.

2. Think Beyond Discounts: Get Creative with VIP Loyalty Rewards

Leverage Brand Relationships Offer brand-specific specials or exclusive events to VIP customers. You can even target promos by the brand or product category a customer purchases from the most. Think $0.01 samples, BOGO deals, and free accessory gifts with purchase. Go beyond stickers, lighters, and apparel with branded dab mats for extract fans, a rolling tray for flower aficionados, a battery for cartridge enthusiasts, or a special glass for infused beverage lovers.

Loyalty Events Consider loyalty VIP days 2x/year with x% off store-wide. Invite VIP customers into the shop for exclusive demos and early access to new product launches with private shopping. Host an event for VIPs—in your lounge or even off-site (consumption welcome is always a plus), and encourage VIPs to bring a friend!

Provide a VIP Concierge Service Taking concierge care of your VIP customers is easier than it sounds. Think of services like free or no minimum delivery windows for VIPs—or simply training your staff to greet customers with a personal touch. Utilize customer groups and notes to quickly identify VIP customers when they come into your dispensary or place an order for pickup or delivery. Is it their birthday? Remind them that there’s a special reward and wish them a happy birthday. Does the customer prefer a certain name, or another personal detail? Make a note in your CRM to be sure you greet them properly and help them feel at home in your business.

3. Promote Your VIP Loyalty Program

Make sure your customers are aware of your loyalty program: include physical signage at the register, train your employees to tell your customers about your loyalty program, and utilize your website and menu notes to advertise the program. Explain your program—how it works, how points are generated, different tiers, and examples of rewards. Mention it in your marketing texts, emails, and mailers, and promote it on your Instagram and other social media channels.

VIPs are your biggest customer advocates and word-of-mouth marketing channel. Incentivize these customers to refer their friends, and give them things to talk about your shop on social media with bonus points. Consider: How can you turn your VIP customers into ambassadors of your business? Do you have a VIP customer with a particularly interesting story? A passion for cannabis? Do they have a cause they care about? Feature VIP customers (with their interest/participation, of course) on your social channels.

4. Train Your Team to Integrate VIP Loyalty Into Everyday Operations

Loyalty is all about building a relationship with your customers, so make customer loyalty part of your company values and integral to your complete customer experience.

Train new staff and budtenders from day 1 on your loyalty program. Make it easy for employees to recognize VIP customers during check in, checkout, and online or over the phone. Show them how to properly identify and greet VIP customers. Encourage your team to build relationships with your customers and provide them with personalized attention. Learn more about How to Boost Basket Sizes at Your Dispensary.

Identify an employee or two to be a designated VIP concierge, and put them in charge of the program. Empower them to help create, manage, maintain, integrate and measure your VIP loyalty program.

Finally, incentivize and reward your employees for driving customer loyalty. Did a customer leave a review or comment praising a particular employee? Did you recognize exceptional service? Reward them for going above and beyond.

5. Gather and Track VIP Customer Information

Set up an in-store process to collect customer information: Name, birthday, email address, and phone number. Requiring customers to check-in upon entering the store will help track all visitors, even if no purchase is made—but you can also choose to just gather customer details when ringing out a purchase. Attach a customer to each purchase to ensure they earn loyalty points. For online or delivery orders, info is already recorded and attached to the customer profile.

Some customers don’t want their information collected. You can gently remind anonymous customers that they won’t earn any points for their purchases, but respect their need for privacy.

Ask for your customers to consent to their marketing preferences, and allow them to opt-out (or back in) at any time. You can still offer specials to VIPs when they order or visit the store, even if they prefer not to receive marketing messages.

6. Reach VIPs with Targeting Marketing Messages

You’re collecting customer and sales information—now put that data to work! Send targeted marketing campaigns to your VIP segment of customers. Recent campaigns with the highest order amount per customer have very specific offers and target customers that have not come in or ordered recently. Include a call to action—remind them to come into the store or place an order online to claim their reward.

Some tips for marketing to your VIP customers
  • Craft marketing messages with your own voice. It should sound like you’re texting a friend.

  • Use specific language in your messages to VIP customers. Make it clear that this offer is for your most loyal VIP customers.

  • A simple thank you message recognizing customers for their loyalty with a small incentive offer will go a long way. Don’t hesitate to remind them they’re top-tier!

With Meadow’s built-in CRM and text marketing platform, it’s seamless for retail teams to collect customer data, set up VIP cannabis rewards programs, and send dispensary marketing campaigns.

Meadow’s cannabis retail software tracks loyalty points for each dollar spent (or per purchase), and makes it easy for customers to cash in on rewards online or in-store. With four different reward types to choose from – cash back, flat discounts, percent discounts, and free products – you can have flexibility in the perks you offer loyal customers, and Meadow’s integrated cannabis marketing software lets you create targeted, segmented campaigns in minutes.

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