If you’re planning to start an online dispensary with hopes of being as successful as some of Canada’s biggest brands, then you’re reading the right article!

Thanks to the legalization of Cannabis in Canada for recreational and medicinal purposes and e-commerce, online purchases have reached an all-time high.

This means there is no better time to go into the business than now!

It is estimated that around 147 million people all over the globe consume cannabis, which is about 2.5% of the world’s population!

With an expected rise in the numbers of cannabis consumers over the next few years, setting up your online dispensary and positioning yourself for the boom is the right step to take.

With that in mind, we have put together a 6 point checklist that you can use to launch a successful online dispensary!

Steps To Start Your Online Dispensary

Here’s what you need to do for your online dispensary not only to stay afloat but compete with other successful stores and thrive!

Step 1: Know Your Products

The first step to success in the online dispensary business is knowing the Cannabis products, their various uses, and understanding their side effects and their legality regarding retail and shipping.

With this information, your online dispensary can offer consumers the best quality products that fall within the legal bracket.

Let us take a look at some standard legal cannabis products for you to consider.

Cannabis Buds/flowers: Flowers are the most common form of Cannabis, as they are popularly smoked via a pipe or rolled into a joint.

Pre-rolls and loose flowers are in-demand forms of Cannabis flowers, so you should consider adding them to your online dispensary inventory.

Dried cannabis: Another Cannabis product that is widely consumed is dried Cannabis flowers. It is popular in the market, and it will most likely remain a consumer favourite for a long time.

This is because dried Cannabis flowers go easy on the throat and lungs when smoked, unlike Cannabis flowers that aren’t entirely pure.

Cannabis capsules & soft gels: One of the most common ways CBD is consumed is via soft gels and capsules.

These help with pain relief, sleep regulation, treatment of seizures, inflammation, and more, which is why it sells pretty fast.

Cannabis topicals & skincare: Cannabis has grown famous for many reasons: the benefits it offers the skin.

Cannabidiol boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can be used to treat skin problems such as dryness, inflammation, and free radical damage.

It is hard to find a successful online dispensary store with a wide range of Cannabis topicals in its inventory.

Cannabis oil & vaporizers: Another popular Cannabis product you will find in the most successful online dispensaries is oils and vaporizers. With this in mind, it would be wise to stock up your dispensary with these products.

You may be wondering why these oils and vapes are so in demand.

Well, Cannabis oil is used extensively for pain relief. But that’s not all, as it can also be used to treat anxiety, inflammation, depression, and epilepsy.

On the other hand, Vapes are an easy and effective way to inhale Cannabis and its highly beneficial oils.

You’d be doing your online dispensary great disfavour if you don’t stock up on these products.

Hemp-derived CBD products: Hemp-derived CBD products are obtained from industrial hemp plants, and they are specially grown for their seeds and fibre.

The Cannabis products in this range are among the most widely consumed globally, so be sure to invest in them as you set up your online dispensary.

Knowing the in-demand Cannabis products and always having them readily available for your customers is vital to success in the online dispensary business.

To keep your online dispensary one step ahead, you can take advantage of Sway’s home delivery solutions to help you manage the process of selling and getting your goods to your customers.

With the right inventory management solution as well as home delivery, you will track your inventory levels, orders, sales, and deliveries with ease. If you manufacture the CBD products in your dispensary, it can also help you create a work order, a bill of materials, and other vital documents related to production.

Step 2: Choose A Business Name and Domain Name

After choosing the products you want to stock in your inventory, the next best step is to choose a name for your business. The name should be unique, catchy, and easily relatable.

Top weed dispensaries answer names as simple as Green Society and Weedsmart to Herb Approach and Speed Green. So, it doesn’t have to be complex either.

Just ensure that you do a corporate search for the name you want to choose to ensure that another vendor has not already taken it.

Once you get a business name, waste no time getting it registered with the appropriate authorities like Corporations Canada.

At this point, it’s safe to start thinking of creating a website for your business. We will delve into that very soon. But let’s mention that at the core of website design is choosing a domain name.

It’s in your best interest to pick a domain name that goes with your business name. So, let’s say that you decide to go for a business name like Green 4 All, then your domain name could be something like Green4all.ca.

Step3: Build A Professional-looking Website

Now that you have chosen a business name, domain name and completed the necessary paperwork, you will need to set up your online store, as this is where your customers will come looking for your Cannabis products.

Your online dispensary store can be housed on your website, which must appear professional and trustworthy in the eyes of potential customers.

We don’t assume you’re an experienced web designer, so you will need a professional to create your site. But if you are, then go ahead and build your website yourself. Just make sure it is simple and awesome!

There are many website creator tools and e-commerce which you can use to set up your site/store. And if you lack ideas, you can get some inspiration from the stores of already-established online dispensaries.

A great example is Amuse, take a look and see for yourself how professional and attractive their online dispensary looks. Your online dispensary must give off an aura of trust and quality before a prospect will be convinced to buy from you.

However, remember it’s Cannabis we’re talking about here, not shoes and handbags! Therefore, ensure the details on your website/online store are visible to improve the visitor experience. The site should also be easy to navigate.

Speaking of visitor experience, you will need to add very bright and crisp pictures of your products in your online dispensary store.

Remember what they say – “A picture can speak a thousand words,” and these are words you would want your potential customers to hear!

If you need some inspiration on using product images to add spice to your store and improve your chances of selling, then an online dispensary you should check out is Haute Health’s website.

See how clear and attractive the pictures of their Cannabis products are? Can you also see how each image has clear strain information below it? Be inspired to do the same for yours!

Step 4: Don’t Forget Online Age Verification

As you venture into the world of online Cannabis retail, you have to bear in mind that Cannabis products aren’t meant to be consumed by everyone. And by everyone, I mean minors!

In Canada, it is illegal to sell Cannabis to individuals below the age of 18. According to the Canada Federal Cannabis Act, only Canadians aged 18 years and above can buy and use Cannabis.

In the same light, online dispensaries will be breaking the law if they are caught selling Cannabis products to individuals below the legal age. And it is safe to say that if one is caught, the business will be at risk of being shut down.

As you may have already guessed, this defeats the entire purpose of launching and running a successful online dispensary store. So how do you ensure you are selling your Cannabis products to only those of legal age? Try using Age Verification Software (AVS).

Integrating this solution into your website will ensure that your dispensary complies with the age rules of selling Cannabis.

Age verification software is designed to confirm the age of any person who visits your store to make a purchase. It works by collecting all publicly available data, analyzing it, and matching it with the customer who is attempting to buy adult-only goods from your store.

One of the best age verification software you can try in 2021 is AgeChecked, as it is easy to use, fast, and accurate.

Do not omit this step if you want to run a successful online dispensary store, as selling to underage persons can land you in legal trouble and run you out of business.

Step 5: Choose A Reputable Vendor and Stock Your Inventory

As the government relaxes the laws on cannabis usage in many countries, there has been a boom in the number of online weed dispensaries.

Unfortunately, many of these weed stores, even the much-acclaimed bigger brands, offer products below par. That’s why you need to be very careful about the vendor you order your products from.

Usually, it would be best to go for trusted, well-vetted and industry-leading brands that offer quality products and at a fair price. Ensure that the vendor doesn’t charge expensive shipping fees too.

Once you find the right vendors, then proceed to order some products. Your inventory should contain trendy products. Also, factor in the fact that you may need to store the product pending the time you get orders.

Depending on the business size, some of the best places to store cannabis products as a vendor that is just starting are your garage, pantry, or warehouse. Ideally, weeds are best kept in an airtight, dark room with moderate temperature.

Step 6: Start Marketing Your Business

The fourth and final item on this online dispensary success checklist is to market your business. There are many ways to promote your weed store.

This includes traditional methods like word-of-mouth advertisement to people within and outside your social circle. However, since you’re not only looking to target users in your immediate community, online promotion would be the best.

Some of the cost-effective yet efficient ways to attract customers to your online weed store include promotion in large social media groups that your audience frequents, starting a blog, and via affiliate programs. Blogs are especially recommended. Why?

It helps educate your site visitors about Cannabis products, how to use them, and their various benefits. By doing this regularly, your site visitors will begin to trust you more as an authority figure in the Cannabis market.

With trust comes purchases, and with purchases come growth and expansion for your online dispensary store.
An extra tip is to link Cannabis products from CBD affiliate programs in your blog posts and start earning commissions from them.

It’s a two-in-one win – You earn trust/purchases from your readers and commissions from your affiliates simultaneously!

If you want to go all out in your marketing, you can invest in local SEO and paid ads.

Final Thought

Following the tips mentioned above could increase your chance of succeeding in a fast-growing and competitive Cannabis market.

However, we understand that you may still experience some challenges launching your online dispensary. Or maybe you’ve even tried to start one and not getting enough sales. Stress no more.

Sway provides home delivery technology solutions for weed dispensaries. They help you every step of the way, from setting up your website, stocking to shipping products to the consumers’ home addresses.