The Canadian cannabis retail landscape is broad, and resources are tight across the industry. Sales teams and agencies need to use their efforts effectively to achieve the best return on investment for each product launch.
To start, sales teams need as much visibility on the market as possible. The knowledge of which retail locations and jurisdictions a team should prioritize brings focus and is the basis of necessary structure. Before sending brand representatives into the field, it is important to understand the Canadian cannabis landscape and how to succeed within it.
Well-executed, thoughtful product launches encourage retailers to purchase your product and educate consumers. To win over provincial boards and achieve new product listings, your product portfolio must sell through to retail and to the end consumer. For example, the Ontario Cannabis Store scores 20% of their new listing criteria based on sales performance. Having tracked and measured sales results can help build confidence with provincial wholesalers across the country.
The goals of a sales team should be to create a hierarchy of the addressable market to guide partnerships, sell-in and field efforts. This is where Neobi, an Alberta-based cannabis-focused technology company, can assist. Sales teams that are equipped with the proper technology and tools can outperform and dominate markets.
A product launch timeframe can vary depending on the specified province and the amount of ground needing to be covered. Understanding each province’s nuances and sales structure is important, but the following strategy should apply to almost all markets in Canada.
1. Identify Top Performing Stores
Currently, the top 20% of stores in Canada sell approximately 63% of the flower. Finding high-volume locations is an excellent start. Imagine narrowing your team’s focus to 650 stores and still capturing the majority of the market. Additionally, 71% of those top-performing stores belong to banners that have 5 or more locations. It can be beneficial to address stores with multiple locations first or assign one person to this task specifically.
How can Neobi help: On the 15th of every month, Neobi releases a category report for Flower, Pre-Rolls, Vapes, and Beverages. This category report ranks all monitored stores by sales volume, allowing the recipient to evaluate stores by performance in their relevant category. Visibility is given by store name, city, province, number of SKUs carried, and units sold for a category.
2. Identify Stores Carrying Your Product or Similar
When a store sees success with a brand, they’re often open to increasing the SKU count from that provider. A sales team can prioritize stores that have been successful with their SKUs to date, even if these stores are outside the top performers. A store’s success with a certain product could also signify advocacy, an integral part of a product’s success. This topic will be revisited later in this process.
How can Neobi help: Neobi’s Dashboard gives you visibility to 85% of the cannabis retail market. Each of the brand’s products can be seen by store location with the inventory level as well as the listed price. Additionally, you can see category penetration at the store level. This gives you a snapshot of your market share within a category for all the brands and SKUs.
3. Identify Competitor Product Placement
In the case that a brand doesn’t have product on the market yet (or even if they do), competitive SKU performance can be an excellent indicator of customer fit. It’s likely that there is a comparable product on the market that targets the same demographic. Use this third indicator to add a final layer to the prioritization process.
How can Neobi help: In the same way a brand can track their own SKUs, the same can be done for their competitors. Tracking competitor products can be revealing and aid a team in further identifying ideal retail partners. Some stores truly excel in certain categories more than others. Sometimes by design and sometimes due to demographic region.
4. Announce the Product Drop
Let retailers know what’s coming to market. This step should be done both pre-release and when the product is ready to order. Send out product and education one-pagers digitally and drop them off when in stores. It can be difficult for small teams to cover a lot of ground but the benefit of spending time in stores cannot be understated. Be on the lookout for shelf space and POP placement. This is an excellent time to learn about how stores prefer to be interacted with. Always be considerate and remember to be mindful of customer priority and the store staff’s time.
How can Neobi help: the Dashboard gives easy access to a store’s website and main email address. When viewing a store your brand’s product stock and your competitor’s product stock are instantly viewable. This information can be used to begin a conversation with new potential retail partners.
5. Build Advocacy
Win the hearts, minds and tastebuds of the budtenders by making them equally as excited as you are about your product portfolio. When doing store visits, be ready with one to three stellar facts about your new product. Use the time wisely, leave easily digestible information, offer samples (where applicable) and branded merchandise (if applicable). Budtender advocacy is extremely important for cannabis brands in Canada.
How can Neobi help: Neobi’s Map can aid when out on the road. It gives your sales team visibility of which stores are currently carrying your products. It can be helpful to prioritize stores that already carry your product. Stop in to show gratitude then segue to the new release.
6. Drive Velocity
Once the product starts to land, spend time doing education and pop-ups. This time with both staff and customers is invaluable. Listen and learn while being part of the customer’s experience. It can also be helpful for staff to hear how you speak about your product with customers. If a product is running low or is already out of stock, help buyers by keeping top of mind.
Use the Right Tools
How can Neobi help: Neobi alerts will send your team an update of which stores are low on stock or out. This makes for a great Monday priority list. The Dashboard also tracks MSRP so you can keep an eye on competitive pricing. This is also helpful in the event of a price drop in the future.
The Cannabis Industry continues to evolve, making every day feel like a new moving target. Being strategic with your product launch and executing with diligence not only focuses energy where it matters most, but also gives your sales team the opportunity to report on their success.
Define success, build a structure for accountability but most importantly – celebrate your wins.
To learn more about Neobi, visit their website at https://neobi.io/#home or reach out to Jenna Henderson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated on January 25, 2023 by ADCANN