The coronavirus, which can lead to the potentially fatal condition COVID-19, has already had an impact on the global community. Stores are struggling to keep toilet paper in stock, events are being canceled, and everyone is getting important reminders about how to properly wash their hands. But what can the cannabis industry expect as fallout from the coronavirus, and how should you prepare?
Increase in vice spending
Early on in Seattle, many dispensaries saw a “bump then slump” pattern. For some, this could be attributed to recommendations from the CDC that everyone should have at least one month’s supply of medication on hand if supplies are strained or people need to stay home and self-quarantine.
Long term, we anticipate that spending on cannabis will hold steady at higher levels. During a recession, the most stable sectors have typically been pet supplies and alcohol. When a crisis hits, whether economic or health-related, people will still need to continue to take care of their animals and will turn to other activities to relax or numb their situation without leaving their homes. Alcohol and cannabis can fall into that second category.
Boost for ecommerce and delivery orders
With more and more people choosing to stay at home and avoid crowded retail establishments, ecommerce is already surging across all sectors. Beyond an increase in people buying supplies on Amazon, food delivery is also soaring as people opt for eating in rather than dining out.
Merchants we’ve spoken to have said that demand on their pickup and delivery services has soared, with consumers opting for purchasing options that require a minimum level of human interaction. As you plan your lanes, technology solutions, and staff allocations, these spending preferences can have a significant impact on your business. Even after this health scare is over, those customer preferences may persist, making it even more important to optimize your online, pickup, and delivery options.
We’ve told you before that cash is gross. Even before everyone became more health-conscious because of the coronavirus, paper money was found to carry more germs than a household toilet.
To try and stop the spread of coronavirus, South Korea’s central bank opted to remove all banknotes from circulation for two weeks. The Louvre museum in Paris stopped accepting cash because of the outbreak in Europe. The Federal Reserve is delaying processing dollars that have been repatriated from Asia, with many experts advising consumers to avoid using cash where possible.
Cannabis has always been a cash-intensive industry. While some dispensaries only accept cash, others still have consumer bases that prefer to pay with cash. If you and your employees are forced to handle large volumes of cash, hygiene should be taken even more seriously than usual. Be sure to give your staff gloves when handling cash and advise them to wash their hands frequently. Remind your customers to wash their hands before consuming any edible products, especially if they choose to pay with cash.
With health experts encouraging everyone to make greater use of contactless forms of payment, marijuana-related businesses (MRBs) should make sure that they have compliant and reliable electronic payments available.