In some states, there are more cannabis dispensaries than Starbucks and 7/11s combined — and they’re all fighting for the same customers. While there are plenty of gimmicks that can help get new consumers in the door, it’s harder to bring them back for repeat visits, especially when using traditional customer engagement products.
Joel Milton, CEO and co-founder of Baker, said those old tools don’t work so well in this new market.
“You can’t use the tools to run your coffee shop to run your dispensary,” Milton said.
Baker is a customer engagement platform that helps dispensaries build up their own brands, setting them up with technology products like online ordering, in-store branded tablets and personalized messaging systems — it’s already helped more than 300 dispensaries servicing over 100,000 consumers across the country.
Baker came together when co-founders Joel Milton, David Champion and Roger Obando were living in New York City and working on early stage technology projects — translation: a lot of different apps. It was 2014 and there was a palpable buzz about the cannabis industry, a space that Milton had always been interested in.
After a trip to Denver, Milton and Champion saw an opportunity to build beautiful software that would provide customer engagement solutions to dispensaries in Colorado and beyond.
Baker started as an order-ahead system. But by 2015, as Milton and the team started to learn more about the cannabis industry, they were able to understand the unique challenges it faced.
“Everybody has preconceived notions about this space,” Milton said.
And every state has different regulations that dispensaries must work with. At the same time, every dispensary is competing for the same shoppers, and every cannabis-focused website or app is fighting for the same audience.
That’s why Baker’s tools are designed to help dispensaries set their brand apart from the crowd and engage customers, which helps them stay competitive.
“They’re all designed to work together,” Milton said.
The check-in and loyalty program helps the dispensary learn who their customers are and what kinds of purchases they like to make. Then the messaging service ensures customers only get notifications based on their purchasing habits — so customers who aren’t fans of dabbing won’t get assaulted with texts about weekly wax deals.
But Milton said even the perfect tool is useless if you don’t use it — which is why the company goes above and beyond with its clients, teaching them the best ways to utilize Baker’s products and offering suggestions that have helped many dispensaries break their own sales records.
“You can buy the biggest, fanciest toolkit, but if it sits in your basement, it’s not going to magically work,” Milton said. “We’re already helping a number of dispensaries manage to stay competitive and strong in business and grow.”
Baker is also forming partnerships with other cannabis tech companies, like Green Bits.
Over the years, Baker’s team has become experts in the cannabis industry, developing an understanding of consumers and helping dispensaries do the same. Since relocating to Denver, the company has grown from a handful of employees to a team of 27.
And yes, they’re hiring, and can offer company perks like staff retreats to cannabis-paired dinners.
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