Thanksgiving week is a major retail event across the US—with daily spotlights like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Customers spend the week shopping, enticed by flashy holiday deals and discounted gift shopping. But there’s a new event that’s become popular in recent years since it blossomed in 2016 from dispensary sales reportedly spiking — Green Wednesday. Since the historical “walk” that a group of cousins takes before the big turkey dinner, cannabis and Thanksgiving have gone hand in hand.

Cannabis consumption tends to be a group activity, with frequent smokers often embracing “the more, the merrier.” It makes sense that shoppers gather for discounted cannabis on the eve of Thanksgiving. What does that mean for you? Bigger sales, better basket sizes, and overall revenue climbing—nearly doubling—in size. Retail owners should prepare their operations and payment systems for “Green Wednesday,” the Black Friday of cannabis.

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Green Wednesday = Significantly Higher Sales

Bloomberg confirmed the significance of Green Wednesday in 2021’s ‘Green Wednesday’ Shows Changing Consumer Habits:

“Cannabis sales that day are generally 40% higher than a typical Wednesday in November, according to research firm BDSA. As they wait for this year’s figures to roll in, the expectation is that it could end up having been the best Green Wednesday yet.

‘Overall sales increases could be higher than that 40% this year because there’s been more de-stigmatization around the product,’ said BDSA’s vice president of insights and analytics, Kelly Nielsen, in a phone interview. This ‘could encourage people to bring it to family and group gatherings,’ she added.”

With 40% higher numbers at stake, the last thing you want during such a busy time is for something to go wrong. Your banking, POS, or payments should never leave a bad taste in your customers’ mouths and complicate things for you. Plus, the huge influx of sales also means an influx of cash to deal with. These tips will help you maximize profits while remaining compliant and reducing stress. Now that you understand the significance of Green Wednesday, let’s dig in.

Recommendations for Green Wednesday Success

Step 1: Prepare your inventory with all hands on deck.

Getting your inventory ready for the second biggest sales day of the year after 4/20 is an in-depth process. From organizing your Metrc tags to arranging your backstock by date, there’s a lot you’ll want to accomplish. We recommend you start the process early in your store with the following steps:

  • Place your vendor orders in advance to avoid competition.
  • Run an inventory audit at least a week before the big day. 
  • After the audit, strategically organize your shelves.

Instead of fighting for popular products, you should stock up on the products you know sell well in advance. You can study your point-of-sale analytics to understand what items are popular or trending among your customer base. Then, book your entire staff to perform a thorough inventory. Correct any discrepancies in your inventory directly after the audit, in the POS system. This will reduce errors on the big day, and keep lines moving swiftly and smoothly. Afterwards, you can organize the store to feature the can’t-miss deals. All of these steps will keep your operations running compliantly and your seed-to-sale tracking precise.

Finally, (if e-commerce is allowed in your state) before Cyber Monday, you’ll want to prepare your digital shelves. Review your settings in your e-commerce tool. You’ll want to ensure all your online inventory is updated and accurate. This step can be made much simpler if your e-commerce software integrates with your POS. Make sure your sale prices and categories are listed correctly. Consider removing low quantity items from your menu so shoppers can’t over-order by mistake. 

Bonus points: Assemble pre-made gift packages that follow compliance limits.

Compliance can be a moving target on days like this. So, when you’re merchandising, consider the specific purchase limits in your state. Then, get festive! Place stocking stuffers by the cash register, like single joints or edibles. If your store offers gift cards, put them on display or create signage to alert shoppers. 

You could even create pre-assembled gift sets for visiting consumers. One type could be for smoking and another one could be for folks who prefer not to smoke (mini tinctures, edibles, salves, etc.). To truly upgrade your customer service, set up a gift wrapping station too and train your staff how to wrap child-proof bags and packaging.

Step 2: Prepare your payment types and cash management methods.

Since an additional 40% revenue is at stake, you don’t want to lose customers in a frustrating checkout scenario. So, prepare every payment method your store offers. Those who offer digital payments are likely to meet their goals, since offering the convenience of digital payments can lead to fuller baskets.

Our 2020 e-payments study showed the following results:

  • 25% higher receipt per transaction
  • 8.3% increase in dispensary revenue
  • 38% reduction in cash handled
  • 20% lower financial service fees

Combine that with major holiday sales, and you’re likely to get impressive results. While you’ll also probably still need to accept cash for those who don’t want to pay via debit or e-payments, there are some steps you can take to streamline that process as well. Don’t forget: Abaca’s services can reduce cash management time by 80%!

Cash procedures before Green Wednesday:

  • Service your on-site ATM machine.
  • Stock extra petty cash for delivery change and create larger till amounts.
  • Schedule and additional cash pickup for midday on Green Wednesday.
  • If you already have a cash recycler or smart safe, use these items to reduce additional bank withdrawals.

Cashless procedures before Green Wednesday:

  • Check your analytics on your digital payments. Have your staff let customers know that they can pay from their phone. Add bold signage that explains your payment options, too. Incentivize using these options over cash with an additional perk or discount, if you can.
  • Are there any technical issues you need to address with your e-payments payments or debit provider? AbacaPay offers custom support from a dedicated representative.
  • Ensure tipping is available on your e-payment and debit card options. This will help encourage staff retention in the coming months and your budtenders’ willingness to work holiday shifts.

Getting your payment systems in order is vital before the big day. Customers want a seamless checkout experience so they can go home and prepare for Thanksgiving! Payment options also help reverse the stigma around cannabis consumption, because new options are making buying cannabis feel as normal as regular retail. So do your part to help!

Step 3: Offer multiple order types for quick turnarounds—including on Cyber Monday.

Consider the floorplan and order types you offer to determine how you can optimize the inside and outside of the store for fast and convenient service.

Focus on how you can create the most efficient sales with line efficiency. Here are some considerations:

  • Can you create an express lane? 
  • Do you offer curbside or delivery? 
  • Can you train additional staff to take curbside or delivery? 
  • Does curbside have a designated parking spot? 
  • Can you let customers reserve discounted items online before opening time on Green Wednesday and schedule someone early to pre-fill their orders? (You will still have to adhere to state-regulated sales hours and keep the dispensary doors locked.) See what your e-commerce partner offers to help facilitate this.

Step 4: Look towards future solutions.

How can 420 and next Green Wednesday go even smoother? Set aside time to reflect on the holiday. Go over what might have worked and what might not have been a hit. Use this information to strategically hone inventory, marketing promotions, and payment processes in the future.

Evaluate the following: 

  • What deal was the hottest? 
  • What brands sold the most? 
  • Which payment method did shoppers use the most?
  • Which budtender performed the best?

You could even reward your budtenders that sold the most and keep the momentum going with a holiday party. With staff retention on the rocks, highlight your staff members that went above and beyond.

For a better bottom line and easier state reporting, consider these financial tips:

  • Sync your accounting with integrated banking solutions like those Abaca offers, so the booking and reporting can be consolidated in the days to come. Abaca has options for both small and large businesses alike.
  • Look for integrated, digital solutions that can scale as your operations grow.
  • Your tools should work together to reduce manual work, including the work of cash management.
  • Make every effort to clear out your end of year inventory for better tax options in the new year and to reduce expired stock.

It’s the season to sell, but also the season to stay organized for minimal friction. These tips will help you maximize your profits while remaining compliant and reducing your stress. Get ready, set, sale!

Contact our financial solutions consultants to learn more about our solutions. 

Happy Green Wednesday from your friends at Abaca! 

Want to learn more about deploying purpose-built cannabis financial solutions to automate and improve compliance? Contact Abaca today.

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Please note: This is not to be taken as tax, legal, payroll, or financial advice. Rules and regulations change over time and can vary by location, so consult your lawyer, accountant, or financial planner for specific guidance.