5 Tips to Maximize 4/20 Sales at Your Dispensary

5 Tips to Maximize 4/20 Sales at Your Dispensary

Raul Molina of Mint Cannabis shares his top tips and insights on preparing for the holiday and leveraging sales.

April 12, 2022

April 20, typically known as "420" amongst cannabis consumers, is quickly approaching, and with the holiday comes an opportunity for cannabis businesses to score big with sales.  

For example, according to a Statista December 2021 report, adult-use cannabis sales the week of 4/20 nearly doubled from roughly $87.9 million in 2018 to about $175 million in 2021—a steady increase even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

© Courtesy of Mint Cannabis

And as the support for cannabis legalization continues to grow, it would be no surprise if this year's 4/20 was even more significant than years past. 

Cannabis Business Times spoke with Raul Molina, the chief operating officer at Mint Cannabis, a multistate cannabis operator with retail locations in Arizona and Michigan, to get his top tips and insights on preparing for the holiday and maximizing sales. 

  1. Have All Hands on Deck 

In preparation for 4/20, Mint Cannabis ensures it’s fully staffed at all retail locations, Molina says.  

"One of the biggest things that you can take advantage of is your employees and making sure that your service is the best one and that you have enough people guiding everybody through everything that you're putting together so that none of the money you spent in the facilities has gone to waste," he says. 

For example, suppose your dispensary plans to have outdoor activities such as a DJ booth or food truck. In that case, you'll want to ensure you have enough staff to accommodate those activities while staffing enough employees to assist consumers, answer their questions, educate and guide them, and overall make sure they have a good experience.  

Molina also notes that Mint Cannabis takes extra steps to care for its employees working 4/20. Whether that's providing food, credits, or bonuses, looking after your employees is just as important. 

  1. Buy Early and Buy Heavy 

Running out of product on 4/20 and failing to prepare for the influx of consumers can not only lead to an unhappy customer but can also lead to negative online reviews or word of mouth. 

Molina says Mint Cannabis orders products for 4/20 months in advance to ensure they always have various options for consumers. 

"Obviously, we have our doorbusters and partner with several vendors to make a couple of highly desired things, super cheap," he says. "And we always make sure we have plenty [of products.] That's probably one of the biggest things, making sure we have plenty of stock of everything. And if you can't get all the stock of what you want, have plenty of options of the same type of items." 

Molina says Mint Cannabis also pitches to the vendor that they want to acquire enough product to keep the momentum going even after 4/20, as it may be some consumers’ first time trying a certain vendor’s product, and, if they like it, there's a chance they could come back to purchase more. This is a great day for brands to make a real impact on the consumer base. 

"[Vendors] don't want to just sell on 4/20; they want to sell every day," he says. "So, we buy early; we buy heavy; we make sure we're stocked, and we make sure that in every department, we have two or three, even up to five specials. If it's flower, we're going to have several options for you in case one starts getting low [or] if everybody's favorite starts running out, we still have four other options that are favorable that people [can] still take advantage of. 

"We've been told before [we] should have planned better, and they're right; we should have planned better," he adds. "So, we've learned our lesson. We make sure we have options, and then we try to have extra to make sure that momentum carries for our vendors.” 

  1. Streamline the Purchasing Process 

© Courtesy of Mint Cannabis
Consumers waiting outside of a Mint Cannabis location on 4/20 last year.

As some consumers may be stopping by your dispensary on their lunch break, on their way to work, or if they have limited time in general, it's crucial to find ways to streamline the purchasing process, Molina says. 

For example, Molina says Mint Cannabis has created a booklet that highlights the products and deals it will have available on 4/20 so employees can hand it out to consumers starting the Friday before the holiday and to consumers waiting in line on the big day. 

"We'll have lines wrapped around the building [on 4/20] because everybody's coming in trying to get their deals. So, in order to increase the line and be able to get to everybody a little bit quicker … we hand out the booklets to make sure that by the time they get to the counter, they have a pretty good idea of what specials they want to take advantage of. And when we did that, it decreased our time by about 10 minutes," he says. "It makes for a happier customer; it makes for less explaining at the counter, [and] it allows the budtender to go through the people a lot quicker." 

Molina says Mint Cannabis started handing out the booklets on 4/20 about three years ago and was able to increase sales by 30%. 

"If you don't have the book, and you're just talking to the budtender, and he forgets to tell you about something, or he doesn't know that you like edibles, so he doesn't tell you much about edibles, you might miss out on [edibles] that we had on special because we didn't tell you about it," he says. "[With the booklet,] people knew what they wanted. And instead of taking advantage of one or two deals they heard [about] when they got to the counter, they knew about seven deals on 4/20 we had that they liked." 

If Mint runs out of a particular product, the booklet also helps consumers find other similar products to what they're looking for, he says. 

"We used to get people that come to the front and say, 'Yeah, I'm here for the vape pen XYZ.' and [if we say,] 'Oh, well, we're out of that,' ... then they want to leave," he says. "With the book, we have a whole page full of all the vape pens that are on special. So, we'll say, 'We're running low on those. I'll check what we have, but while I go check, go ahead and check out the other ones.'" 

  1. Promote Early 

Instead of offering deals just on 4/20, Molina says Mint Cannabis typically starts its sales a couple of days prior. For example, since 4/20 is on a Wednesday this year, Mint Cannabis will start having product deals as early as Friday, April 15. 

"So, we have super heavy specials on Friday because everybody likes to come up on Friday, and it's payday. Then, it gives us a four-day runup, which we are able to almost double sales on Friday," he says. "And then the other days, sales are about 20% to 40% higher than our normal day. And then when 4/20 hits, [sales] just explode. So, it allows us to take advantage of more than one day and extend the sale so that we're able to do a lot more and obviously increase profits." 

Molina says Mint Cannabis also starts promoting its 4/20 deals and activities typically a week before by doing things like putting promotional flyers in shopping bags, so consumers have an idea of what's coming, he says. 

  1. Make It a Party 

Last but definitely not least, it's crucial to make 4/20 a "party" for consumers, Molina says. "You got to make it a party, you got to make it loud, and you got to make sure everybody sees it and remembers it," he says. 

To create that party-like feel, Mint Cannabis brings in extra activities and props that aren't in the dispensary regularly, Molina says. 

"We do a photo booth. We bring out a car that looks like the car from the Up in Smoke [movie]. So, it's an Impala, and we got a guy who looks just like Cheech, and he comes over and takes pictures with everybody," he says. 

Mint Cannabis also brings in a DJ booth and hands out tacos to hungry consumers. Additionally, the dispensary hands out drawstring swag bags filled with promotional items like lanyards, stickers, pop sockets, various coupons, and more, he says. 

"We noticed in the first few years that we would have quite a few people come in, stand in the line, get a little bummed out, and just say, 'Oh, you know, I'm going to come back later.' And we had all these people wandering around," he says. "But handing out either the books or lanyards or whatever we're giving out for the day, consumers are being entertained, and they're being kept around. … We also noticed that we were able to keep a lot of people in line and keep 'em happy by having the extra help and being able to just keep them entertained." 

Furthermore, Mint Cannabis has found that handing out coupons on the day of 4/20 has helped retain customers. 

"With the coupons, we make a deal with the vendor for a discount," he says. "And we put about 12 to 15 [coupons] in the [swag bag], and [consumers] can only use one a day. So that means that they're going to have to come back if they want to take advantage of all the coupons. … And we feel that if we can get somebody to come into our store five times, they're going to become our customer because we're going to treat them right, and we're going to make sure they get what they want."