RCC's Retail Cannabis Forum
The evolving Canadian retail cannabis market
What once seemed like wishful thinking has evolved into a flourishing industry in Canada. But succeeding as a cannabis entrepreneur in the retail sector comes with its challenges, from negotiating the ever-changing landscape to identifying opportunities, driving growth and building trust with consumers. As a nascent sector, the Canadian retail cannabis market has a short track record of what works and what doesn’t. Realizing the potential of this expanding market means cannabis retailers and businesses tied to this retail segment need to be tactical in capturing the attention of cannabis consumers and catering to their needs.
What do cannabis consumers want?
The adult-use cannabis market is forecast to reach a retail value of $4.1 billion in 2021, up from $2.5 billion in 2020.* How to seize a piece of this windfall requires a nuanced understanding of Canadian cannabis consumers. And who better to shed some light on this burgeoning sector than tried-and-true leaders and influencers from the cannabis space. To tap into this knowledge, the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) is holding its Retail Cannabis Forum on May 13 to explore the newest trends and best practices in cannabis retailing. RCC’s line-up of experts will tackle topics from creating immersive brand experiences and new marketing strategies, to educating consumers and finding the best talent. Presentations will also cover e-commerce development, diversity in the industry, new consumer expectations, and balancing growth with strategy.
RCC’s line-up of experts will tackle topics from creating immersive brand experiences and new marketing strategies, to educating consumers and finding the best talent.
What drives purchasing?
Canadian cannabis consumers fall roughly into two categories: existing consumers and new and returning consumers. Experienced consumers drive immediate growth opportunities. This segment consists of regular buyers purchasing product from both the legal and illicit markets. Cannabis retailers must up their game if they hope to lure these consumers away from the gray market. Offering high quality products including premium merchandise at a higher price point, more variety, competitive pricing, and easier access in the way of home delivery will contribute greatly to meeting the demands of this segment.
New and returning consumers will drive longer-term growth potential. To tap into this market segment, retailers must focus on a mix of health and wellness products with an emphasis on addressing issues related to sleep, relaxation, stress and anxiety relief, and medical conditions. New consumers, in particular, are older, educated and interested in CBD and non-combustibles products to meet their health needs. As such cannabis retailing must adopt a more sophisticated consumer experience with an emphasis on education and building trust and brand loyalty.**
Retail Cannabis Forum’s line-up of leaders
RCC’s Retail Cannabis Forum will bring together experts to address the multifaceted needs and demands of different cannabis consumer groups. In The Balancing Act of Growth and Retail session, industry leaders Isaac Watson, Vice President, Retail, Fire and Flower and Neal Claassen, Vice President Corporate Development, Canada, Visual Elements will address the unique challenges of opening new stores in 2020, what is working for retailers and detail their wish list to enable continued growth.
In the data-driven session, Building your Business with Better Data, Liz Connors, Vice President, Data & Analytics, Headset will take a deep dive into Canadian retail sales data to provide clear indications of consumer experience, habits, and preferences.
In a look back at 2020 and the effects of the pandemic, How COVID Impacted the Retail Cannabis Landscape, cannabis retailers will discuss the impact and opportunities that emerged out of the public health crisis. Eleanor Lynch, Chief Operations Officer, Kiaro, Darren Bondar, Founder, President & CEO, Spiritleaf and Michael LeBlanc, Senior Retail Advisor & Host/Producer, Voice of Retail Podcast, Retail Council of Canada will answer questions regarding new services like home delivery and how to safeguard their workers and brands in unpredictable times.
In the Marketing with Confidence session, Steven Fry, President, Sessions Cannabis, shares his experience of opening 30 stores in Ontario and how he successfully launched his brand by connecting with communities through building trust and alliances, all while navigating a competitive marketplace.
The Breaking the Barriers with eComm session will address the unique challenges cannabis retailing faces in bringing businesses online. Clint Seukeran, Owner, Ganjika House, chats with Albert Kim, CEO, Greenline POS about access to banking services, cyber security, delivery options and effective communication. Not to be missed by any retailer trying to create a seamless e-commerce experience.
The roundtable Diversity in the Cannabis Industry will bring together Dr. Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, Director of Research, Sameena Ibrahim, Senior Advisor, Partnership & Strategy, and Shilbee Kim, Communications & Enterprise Coach, from the not-for-profit Cannabis Amnesty whose mission is to convince the Canadian government to issue blanket pardons for people with minor cannabis convictions. The presenters will elaborate on why a more diverse cultural understanding will allow cannabis companies to broaden their consumer base and build the political capital to drive government to an enlightened regulatory approach.
Information leads to inspired decision-making
Navigating the ever-evolving landscape of the Canadian retail cannabis market requires a constant refreshing of ideas, strategies and knowledge. Current and prospective cannabis retailers, as well as, those who want to work with them must stay abreast of market trends. RCC’s Retail Cannabis Forum offers invaluable insight and real world experience on how to thrive and capture the vast potential of this exciting new market.
For more information on how to register for the Retail Cannabis Forum visit: www.retailcouncil.org
* CIBC analysts forecast, the investment banking subsidiary of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
** Deloitte’s Seeding new opportunities: Listening to Canada’s cannabis consumer, 2021
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