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Dispensaries Must Leverage Branded Goods to Increase Bottom Lines

Four ways retailers can use non-cannabis SKU’s to creatively boost profit.

Utilitarian items like grinders and rolling trays have the highest perceived value in consumer’s eyes. Taking the extra step to brand them opens doors to extra marketing opportunities and increased brand loyalty.


This is is step one. If you don’t have at least a small offering of register-side items for sale alongside your cannabis products, you are missing out on valuable add ons. In fact, dispensaries in some markets are able to boost revenues by as much as 5% by rolling our substantial ancillary product lines. When building out this offering, I would lean toward custom items that align with and enhance your brand identity, while being sure to stock proven winners like Raw and Futurola papers.

While purchasing custom branded items often requires larger minimums than wholesale orders, the unit prices are generally lower (with the right supplier). So, despite the possibility of a higher initial investment, you should be able to make a better margin and get the added bonus of getting your brand out into the world, on items your customers use every day. Of course, these items will sell slower than your cannabis SKUs, but you should be thinking about them as more of a long term investment in building your brand, that just so happens to pay out a nice profit over time. When, after 6 months, you’ve sold your 500th lapel pin for $4.99, I bet you’ll smile more from the realization that 500 people are out there rocking your pin, than from the cool $2000 you made selling them (then again — maybe not).

Dispensaries have carried industry leading suppliers like Raw since their inception, and I certainly encourage them to continue to do so. However, there is far more to non-cannabis SKU’s than hustling papers and lighters.

2. GIVE THEM AWAY (for nothing)

People love free stuff, and frankly, there are a lot of ways to leverage that love. First, giving away freebies to new or consistent customers, potential business partners, worthy employees, and community influencers is a great way to build rapport and show appreciation for the relationship.

Again, just getting the brand out into the world, especially in the hands of people who already know and care about it, is a perfect place to start. These people will be the core evangelists for your brand, so you might as well get them some gear to flex with.

Providing influencers with branded items alongside your cannabis product will make sure your brand stays in their possession (and on your page) longer than just a day or two.

3. GIVE THEM AWAY (for something)

This is where we can get really creative in leveraging the perceived value of your branded merchandise, and this works really well you also have the same items for sale, because then the perceived value turns into an actual value for your customers. These types of giveaways can take various forms to accomplish different things, so I’ll list a few examples below to get the ideas flowing.

Drive Traffic: “Free Rolling Tray To The First 100 Customers This Saturday”

Push Specific Products: “Free Grinder When You Buy an 1/8th of Flower”

Create Repeat Customers: “Wear This Free Lapel Pin When You Come In To Save 10% On Your Total Order.”

Increase Cart Size: “Free Rolling Tray and Papers When You Spend $100+”

You could discount them to accomplish the same things, too: “Save 50% On All Smoking Accessories When You Spend $100”

In my experience, using branded items to increase cart size has been the most effective means to increase bottom line profits, and diving a bit more into what the numbers might look like explains why:

‘Dispensary A’ operates with an average cart value of $60, and they are looking for ways to increase that figure by leveraging their ancillary products. Their custom grinders have a total imported cost of about $5, and ‘Dispensary A’ advertises their grinders at register side for $20 and sells about 15 each month, netting them an extra $225, and building brand awareness in the process. Thats all well and good and I explained the benefits of simply selling these items above. But leveraging these products is where the real money is made.

So now, the owner of ‘Dispensary A’ gets a brilliant idea and runs a promotion along the lines of “Spend $100 To Get A Free Rolling Tray — This Month Only!”

Throughout the month, the budtenders do their job pushing the promotion at checkout by reminding customers, “If you spend $10 more you’ll get a free grinder with your order!” and as a result, about 20% of their 10,000 shoppers spend $100+ and get a tray for their trouble. Let’s assume conservatively that two thirds of those would have purchased $100+ or more in product anyway, the remaining third had an initial cart between $70 and $100, and chose to spend more money in order to get the free grinder. Even for those people jumping from a $90 cart to a $100 cart, you’d still make an extra $5 on the transaction!

Conservatively, 600 or so people increased their order value by about $20 on average (from $70-$80 to $100–$110) and brought in an extra $8,000 in profit for the location.

Of course, this is just an example, but I hope you can see the impact that running consistent promotions like these could have on the bottom line of a dispensary chain that is dedicated in their marketing efforts.

As always, if you need help sourcing new items or packaging for your next project, you can reach out at or on Instagram at @NateSaysDoLess.

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