The cannabis industry's biggest commercial event of the year—4/20—is right around the corner. Naturally, it behooves the dispensary purchasing manager to stock up on popular products and help facilitate great consumer deals.
LeafLink CEO Ryan Smith says an interesting trend has emerged: According to 2017 figures, March sees a higher volume of purchasing orders than April. Brands capitalized on that by offering 3/20 sales to wholesale buyers.
The company tracked more than 130 brands listing 3/20 deals for all types of cannabis products: edibles, flower, concentrates, topicals and cartridges. “The lift we’ve seen in ordering is generally product type-agnostic,” Smith says, citing brands like Keef Cola, The Lab and Bronnor. “Rather, we see elevated purchasing of the most popular products in each state and more sample requests for new or up-and-coming products.”
With the big day in mind, sales began really picking up in mid-March.
“We were surprised that orders peaked in March instead of April, which is why we started promoting a month before 4/20,” Smith says. “While most would expect that April would be the largest ordering month since 4/20 falls in that month, order sizes were actually 24-percent larger in March than in April—meaning that most retailers stock up in March for 4/20.”
The company says that brands will likely continue to offer purchasing deals up to April 20, but, week to week, those sales transactions will decrease.
And with a preliminary look at March 2018 numbers, Smith said: “In March, over $29 million in orders were placed on the LeafLink platform, which is annualized to $356 million. Our Colorado retailers spent 50 percent more on LeafLink in March than they did in February, which matches the trend from last year.”
LeafLink launched in March 2016 to help streamline the budding cannabis industry’s retail purchasing process. While dispensary owners are often left to vet cannabis brands on their own, LeafLink has established an online marketplace in six states to make that part of the job the relationships behind the scene a lot easier. The company also sees high sales volume in July, August and September in its six markets (Arizona, Colorado, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington). Those spikes track with other holidays: July 4, Labor Day weekend and Halloween, according to Smith. But where buyers stock up a month out from 4/20, trends around those other holidays show a spike just one week prior to the holiday.
“Purchasing on LeafLink saves retailers eight hours per week, which is especially important during the peak ordering time leading up to 4/20,” Smith says. “We created 3/20 to be like the Cyber Monday of Cannabis to make it easier for them to shop all their brands and to give our brands a platform to showcase their best deals.
LeafLink was listed as one of Fast Company’s 2018 “Most Innovative Companies.”
Top photo courtesy of Adobe Stock