Understand that we have helped create house brands for over 100 retail locations, so we’ve heard a lot of objections. One of them is, “how am I supposed to compete with the gas station down the street or 1 million other CBD brands that exist?”
It’s not only a great objection but also valid. The answer is simple: experience, quality, and control.
Where marijuana retailers are selling themselves short in this conversation is the expertise of a knowledgeable budtender vs. Kathy at the gas station who is 1 week into her 2-week notice. In our experience, budtenders have more knowledge and customer compassion than most retail associates I’ve had the pleasure of working with.
Having a 1:1 customer to retail salesperson ratio helps with a more consultative sale like CBD tends to be. With a depth of product knowledge and industry acumen, budtenders will convert that sale more often than something just sitting on a shelf waiting to get purchased. This is why we include free and ongoing education with our clientele.
In the CBD market, there continues to be a lack of regulation around products and standards. Marijuana is the complete opposite; tons of rules and regulations vary by state. Working alongside a company that understands compliance and testing standards means customers and retail associates rest assured that the product in question is, in fact, what the label states. ABC News featured our VP of Sales, Dan Healey over 2 years ago to discuss our testing protocol and QR code callback. Today, this isn’t unique. At that time, we were one of the first to establish this level of transparency. We continue to test products and also help submit products on our customer’s behalf so the retailer can have their name on the Certificate of Analysis.
Aside from the testing side, we’re also deeply ingrained in our supply chain relationships starting with how the hemp is grown, how it’s processed, formulated, packaged, labeled, and shipped. I’ve even played a few rounds of ping pong at our office with our UPS driver hoping that means he doesn’t smash our boxes on the way out.
Last but certainly not least is control. Private label house brands are in better control of the product than stocking other brands. One of the key competitors of hemp products is the exact same hemp product being sold directly to consumers through a website. It isn’t uncommon for retailers to get 50% margins on their wholesale purchase; which is great, but who cares when that same manufacturer website is having a 30,40,50% off website sale? Every week?
Customers that have their own house brand control the retail price point as well as the discount structure to be enticing to customers without confusion.
Between the budtender/customer relationship, commitment to quality, and an extra level of control of the product, a house brand has never made more sense.
Does the idea of creating a brand seem daunting? Too expensive? You might be surprised. Let’s start the conversation.
About the author:
Nick Young is a cannabis entrepreneur focused in processing and product development in both hemp and marijuana markets. Nick has been a featured speaker at the Lean Farm School and iHemp Midwest speaking on industry innovation and process. Nick is also a tortured Detroit Tigers, Red Wings, Lions, and Pistons fan.