11 Actions Your Dispensary Needs To Take Well Before 4/20

The time to prepare for the 4/20 rush is now! Here’s what you need for a successful holiday, from banking to marketing to day-of prep.

Planning for the biggest sales day of the year takes a lot more than a single meeting, spinning up a graphic, or having an event. Setting the stage for success begins ASAP — like, yesterday ASAP.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to ensure your dispensary can meet the high demand for sales on 4/20 (and year-round). From financial planning to day-of details, let’s dive into key actions to take long before the big day arrives.

1. If you need banking, get it now

It’s essential to secure banking arrangements to ensure smooth, secure, and safe financial transactions on the big day. If you’re unbanked or underbanked, now is the time to apply for a business account.

Reliability is essential for dispensaries to conduct transactions, manage funds, retain transparent and clean financial logs, and provide customers with secure payment options. Without banking, you won’t be able to accept debit card transactions or app-based payments tailored to the cannabis sector. Your staff will be stuck handling untold amounts of cash, presenting a security risk to employees. Dispensaries that proactively address their banking needs ensure a safe and more efficient sales environment and contribute to the long-term stability of your business beyond 4/20.

The good news is, the hunt to find a reliable banking partner is not as difficult as it used to be. There are plenty of banks willing to open accounts for cannabis businesses — Green Check is here to help you find them.

2. Confirm your payment processor, accepted payment methods, and how they work at your dispensary

Confirming your payment processor and understanding how they work is paramount for a seamless 4/20 experience.

There are three main ways dispensaries can accept payments: with PIN debit, cashless ATM, and ACH transactions. This gives customers more options to pay, especially those who prefer to use cards over cash.

We recommend having two ways to accept payments lined up. Choose your primary method, and have a backup method ready to go. This way, you can immediately roll out a solution if your main payment method goes awry.

It’s not just how you accept payments, but how those payment methods are used in your dispensary. Do you plan to use different methods for in-person orders and pick-up orders? Make sure all elements are working properly well ahead of 4/20, and that all stakeholders know how you’re set up. Don’t forget one last check before the festivities begin.

3. Schedule cash pickup for the evening of 4/20

If all goes well, you’ll end 4/20 flush with cash. While that’s great for your bottom line, it presents a safety risk for your employees. Bad actors know that dispensaries are flush with cash and products on 4/20, which could make your dispensary a target for thieves.

As part of your security protocol, be sure to book a cash pickup well in advance for the evening of 4/20. Investing in a cash recycler to count the bills quickens the process and makes the count more precise. It’s also a good idea to ask your bank if they offer smart safes, which can issue provisional credit to your bank and do not allow anyone except the bank to access the cash inside.

4. Make sure your ATM is stocked for 4/20

Think of an ATM as a backup to your backup. If the internet goes down or another issue disallows use of your primary and secondary payment methods, an ATM is a great contingency plan. Make sure your provider refills the ATMs in your store the day before 4/20 (or before the festivities begin) so there’s plenty of cash for customers to access.

5. Confirm your menu is set up properly

Your dispensary menu is the cornerstone of customer interactions. Ensuring it’s set up properly and is fully integrated into all parts of your operations is necessary prior to the most hectic day of the year.

Confirm your menu is seamlessly integrated with all necessary components, including payment processing systems, your inventory management system, and your seed-to-sale system. Incorrect setups or siloed systems could make for a mess on the big day — and lead to customer disappointment if they can’t easily buy their favorite products.

6. Place inventory orders as early as possible

Strategic inventory management is essential to meet the anticipated demands ahead of 4/20.
Some critical considerations for your inventory orders include:

  • Assess the availability of the products you plan to promote during the 4/20 festivities. For example, if you plan to give away penny pre-rolls with every purchase over $100, make sure you have plenty of readily available pre-rolls.
  • Prioritize replenishing your best-selling items to meet increased demands and cater to popular choices. Check out what’s been flying off the shelves and place your orders with suppliers well in advance.
  • Plan ahead to avoid exceeding inventory on 4/20 itself. This could look like offering pre-orders for a discount or using past sales data to place an order for the correct amount of stock.

7. Check-in on your loyalty program

You’ll likely get the most foot traffic and vehicle traffic on 4/20 than you do all year. Make sure you’re taking advantage of this moment to capture new customers.

Take time to review your loyalty program’s benefits. Check to see that you’re maximizing all the features they offer and put as many to work for your dispensary as it makes sense to do so.

Ensure your programs are set up correctly to capture customers’ information accurately at all touchpoints, including the website, your app (if you have one), social media, and in-store QR codes. This also involves ensuring your loyalty program is correctly pulling customer information from other places in your dispensary ecosystem.

This may also be the right time to explore functionalities such as personalized promotions, tiered rewards, and targeted marketing campaigns. Leveraging these features not only enhances customer engagement, but also contributes to increased loyalty and satisfaction on 4/20 and year-round.

8. Plan your sales, promotions, and marketing

Don’t wait until the last minute to set your sales and marketing strategy. Start brainstorming now to ensure a smooth lead-up to the big day. Some of the things to keep in mind include:

  • Set SMART goals for 4/20: Are your sales targets for 4/20 specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timely? Use this handy acronym for proper planning — and set yourself up for easy review of your campaign’s success.
  • Focus on the most impactful strategies: Identify and prioritize key initiatives that will significantly contribute to the success of your 4/20 activities.
  • Early collaboration with the marketing team: Touch base with your internal teams and marketing vendors to ensure everyone is on the same page and aligned with your goals.
  • Graphics and assets preparation: Prioritize the readiness of all necessary visuals, promotional materials, and banners well before 4/20 to avoid any last-minute hurdles. This is also a good time to brush up on your state’s marketing laws, to confirm that your marketing plans are compliant.
  • Know your leading items. Decide early which items are going to be front and center of your sales efforts, from buy-one-get-one deals to promotional bundles.
  • Identify and order promotional items: Decide on the specific promotions you’ll be running during the celebration, and make sure you order all items necessary to fulfill the promotion.
  • Geographical considerations: Think about foot traffic, car traffic, and commuting patterns around your location to maximize exposure.

9. Confirm your staffing plan and communicate with HR and payroll

Assess how you’ll staff the dispensary to handle the increased foot traffic. You may need seasonal hires, or you may want to reallocate staff from other departments for the day. In either case, communicate clearly and often with HR and payroll so all employees are paid accordingly and in a timely manner. This also includes how you plan to split tips among the new or temporary employees on 4/20.

10. Set up vendor payments ahead of time

Secure all the supplies you need for 4/20, like packaging and labels, by prioritizing vendor engagements in advance. Keep in mind that you’ll need to place orders for April in March, so take the time in the weeks before 4/20 so set yourself up for success for the main event.

11. Don’t forget day-of details

Attention to detail is key for a seamless 4/20 operation. Accounting for these small details contributes to a positive experience for both customers and staff. Some of these “little things” that add up big time include:

  • Office supplies: Do you have enough shopping bags, zippered bags if you need those, or ink for stamps if you need those? What about receipt paper — do you have enough of that on hand? Take a look through your storage room, see what you need, and place orders well in advance.
  • Think about how you’ll manage the line: If all goes well, you can anticipate a long line of eager customers snaking down the block. How do you plan to manage the line? You can get creative here — consider offering discounts to customers who pick up orders before 4/20 or using a scheduler to manage the flow of order pickups throughout the day. This reduces the burden on your staff, keeps your neighbors happy, and ensures a frictionless experience for your customers.
  • Show your budtenders a little love: Acknowledge your staff’s hard work 4/20. Consider providing food, snacks, and refreshments in the break room, or other perks to show how thankful you are for everything they do.

Start your 4/20 planning now — Green Check can help

Take the guesswork out of 4/20 planning. The Green Check Connect marketplace is home to verified professionals in finance, HR, payroll, and more who want to work with the cannabis industry and understand the unique challenges cannabis operators face. Our directory cuts the guesswork as you plan for the biggest sales day of the year by connecting you directly to knowledgeable, cannabis-friendly vendors. Sign up for free, and don’t delay — 4/20 will be here before you know it.