Cannabis Brands Preparing for Busy Week Ahead of 4/20
Jack Hutch

Cannabis Brands Preparing for Busy Week Ahead of 4/20

Caliva’s senior operations manager talks sales and delivery processes as cannabis comes to its biggest day of the year.

April 16, 2019

The cannabis industry’s biggest cultural celebration of the year is coming up on April 20, and that means we’re in the midst of the biggest sales week of 2019. Last year, 4/20 saw $32.12 million in combined sales in California, Colorado and Oregon. Now, businesses are preparing for a surge in longtime customers and first-timers alike. 

Robert Braun, senior operations manager of retail and delivery at Caliva in the Bay Area, says that it’s an important week when cannabis business should focus on doing what they’re already doing best.

“You have to make sure your processes are in place,” Braun says. “It’s not an industry that’s been around a long enough time to know what the demand of 4/20 is. We do some demand planning, and we do some increase in buying. But it’s going to be a year-over-year learning experience for everyone in the industry.”

2018 data. Source: BDS Analytics

This year, Braun says, his team is capitalizing on vape purchasing trends. The dispensary is heavily marketing its own suite of brands, as well as popular products like the Airo Pro vape pen. 

To do that, Caliva has focused its marketing efforts on a dedicated customer base. While the company has dabbled in more selective advertising to specific customer niches, Caliva has kept in close contact with the customers who’ve been helping to build the dispensary’s reputation.

And now, with a second location open in south San Francisco, the San Jose-based company has pushed its 4/20 advertising efforts further into the northern reaches of the Bay Area. This geographic reach also comes in handy with the dispensary’s continued investment in delivery, a growing portion of its overall sales.

“We’re all in all week,” Braun says. “We started out 4/20 sales early.”

Much like the broader retail industry’s emphasis on these major sales events—think Black Friday, especially—Braun says he’s seeing cannabis businesses offer their deals to customers several days in advance of 4/20. Caliva’s delivery dispatch partner, Onfleet, reports that Friday, April 19, will be its biggest sales day of the year. This tracks with how Caliva is planning its week. “Historically, Friday has been our biggest day in general for delivery. It does outpace Saturday and Sunday a lot of times. You want to have your product to enjoy on 4/20; why not get it a day early?”

And with more than a year of legal adult-use sales in the books in California, the 2019 sales figures should give dispensary staffs a better understanding of how trends might play out in the future.

“Last year we obviously saw an increase, but I think that this is going to be a really foretelling year in the industry of 4/20s to come,” Braun says. “There was a ‘wow’ factor last year, but we’ve seen a little more than a year now of people coming in—new consumers coming in. This is going to be a mile marker for next year.”