The Future of Cannabis Retail

As Planet 13 Holdings’ vice president of sales and marketing, David Farris leads the company’s creative process. He spearheads all design and conceptual projects related to product displays and branding for both the company’s Las Vegas superstore and its house of brands. Plus, he works on projects ranging from product packaging to web development and design.

Farris, a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, joined Planet 13 in 2016. The Nevada-based company serves about 2,000 customers per day and recently expanded its superstore to include a 15,000-square-foot, customer-facing production facility that has increased its manufacturing capacity tenfold. The expansion also features a coffee shop, pizzeria and event space.

Marijuana Business Magazine spoke with Farris to get his opinions about the future of retail in the cannabis industry.

 

What changes do you expect to see in terms of how customers purchase cannabis?

It’s going to become very experiential. As we’re looking at the future of retail, we’re seeing more interactions with the customer and making it a special experience.

We wanted to create a destination where it’s more than, “I want to stop at the store and do a transaction.” Customers can see products like gummies, chocolates and vape pens made. … We try to focus on becoming a destination and having people stay here for hours.

 

Where do you see consumer preferences going?

Consumers are really looking for products based on their environment. We’re seeing a lot of seasonal changes around edibles. There are a lot of new consumers who are finally accepting cannabis.

The path historically has always been that flower is the great introduction, but people are starting to expand from that. We’re seeing more vapes and concentrates and edibles. We’ve launched our concentrates and gummies, and we’re getting ready to launch sparkling water beverages. We look at what consumers want that they’re not already getting.

 

What role will online sales and delivery play?

They’re huge. We understand that we’re focused on customers who want to experience things, but local customers want to be on the couch and get products delivered straight to their door. In the past month, we’ve seen a spike in online orders and delivery orders. We cannot deliver to the gaming corridor—that limits our territory. We use delivery and online ordering as a platform for our local and medical community.

 

What kind of technology would be valuable at cannabis retailers that doesn’t already exist?

There’s a lot of innovation coming out. At the end of the day, functionality is the hardest thing to find. Right now, we see huge value when we talk about menus and the ordering system and making sure that is as accurate and streamlined as possible.

Over the past six months to a year, we’ve been able to update the THC percentage on the menu. You can go to our website and see THC percentages and photos, all in real-time inventory. We’re always giving people feedback on how they can improve and how we can work better together.

 

How do you see packaging evolving to support retail?

A lot of the packaging focus in retail is built around where to position the product in the store. The unique thing about dispensaries is there’s not standardization yet. There’s not a specific way people are doing things. Now, we’re starting to see more functionality take place.

Childproof rules are becoming the foundation in every state. There’s a lot of innovation and a move to keep it clean, modern, sleek and small. It’s already evolved.