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Cannabis App Development

24 Reasons to Get a Cannabis Mobile App This 2024

Posted by: Nikki Tabberrah

January 06, 2024


Right now, competition is as thick as smoke. Every day, new players are entering the scene, each with their own unique strains and marketing tactics. So in 2024, if you're a cannabis dispensary looking to get ahead of the game, you'll want to have a mobile app in your arsenal. And not just any app.

A top-shelf, user-friendly mobile application that makes buying weed as easy as ordering pizza. One that keeps them coming back for more.


But why should I invest resources into developing a mobile app?"

We've curated 24 compelling reasons why getting a cannabis mobile app is the best move for your dispensary in 2024.

From driving up sales to elevating the customer experience, from fortifying your brand identity to uncovering a treasure trove of user data, these reasons are guaranteed to capture your attention and fuel your business strategy.

#1: Keeps You Connected To Your Customers

Features like push notifications and in-app messaging allow you to maintain regular contact with customers. Your app can serve as a robust marketing tool, enabling you to send personalized messages, promotions, and deals directly to users' devices. Custom push notifications could even increase app engagement by up to 88%.

Your dispensary can use the app to swiftly answer common questions, such as opening hours, and potentially offer real-time communication, depending on the customer experience you aim to provide.

While social media, email, and websites are valuable for customer engagement, an app provides another avenue to reach your audience. Since people often use their phones more than other devices, mobile apps ensure your message gets noticed.

To put it simply, app notifications allow you to interact with your customers in a less saturated space, where there's less competition for their attention

#2: Boost Dispensary Recognition

The cannabis industry is often compared to the wine industry. Customers often prioritize three things: excellent weed, attractive prices, and the source of their purchases (your dispensary).

You've curated a selection of high-quality products from sought-after brands and provided them at unbeatable prices. The next step is to establish your dispensary as the preferred brand.

With today's consumers favoring speed, convenience, and accessibility, offering them a new method to place orders on the go could give you a competitive edge. The ease of buying weed through a dispensary mobile app could improve your dispensary operations and be the go-to dispensary in your locale.

#3: Brand Consistency

Developing a mobile app for your cannabis retail business is like having a dedicated brand ambassador working for you round the clock.

With a fully branded interface, your app can showcase your brand's ethos, vision, and commitment. It stands ready to serve customers with the products they want right when they want them, reinforcing your brand's promise consistently.

#4: Customers Prefer Mobile App Shopping vs Mobile Browsers

Data suggests that 85% prefer shopping on apps than on mobile browsers. The reasons are obvious.

Apps are easier to access than websites. Your customers can open your app with just a quick tap. In contrast, to access a website, users need to open a browser and type in the URL. From a user experience perspective, apps offer instant accessibility, making websites seem less convenient.

Dispensary mobile apps tend to be faster than mobile websites. This is because apps are designed to function optimally in a device's native environment, while websites are designed for browser performance. This design difference often results in websites not working as smoothly with a device's software and hardware specifications.

Lastly, due to their superior performance and customization capabilities, apps offer a better user experience than websites that meet the way modern customers shop.

#5: Increase Sales

Apart from making shopping enjoyable, cannabis mobile apps help increase sales in a number of ways.

Automated Upselling: By suggesting personalized upsell items based on customers' buying trends, preferences, and past purchases, you can recommend complementary products. These suggestions are presented in a simple, easy-to-add-to-cart format.

Unified Rewards: By combining rewards with the shopping experience, you can encourage customers to make purchases, refer others, and advocate for your brand, all within the app. Making loyalty points both earnable and redeemable within the online shopping process mirrors the customer experience on big box retail apps. This strategy increases sales by aligning with familiar practices.

Push Notifications: You can send timely push notifications to spur impulsive purchases or remind customers about ongoing deals. Such alerts keep customers engaged and motivate them to return for more.


#6: Supercharge Your Loyalty Program

If you have a loyalty program that's already a key part of your marketing strategy, incorporating it into a mobile app can take it to the next level. Here's how:

Frictionless Experience: By integrating your loyalty program into your shopping app, managing and redeeming points, vouchers, or coupons becomes much simpler compared to using a separate wallet app.

Automation: If you're still relying on manual punch cards, an app can digitize your loyalty program, making your business appear more professional. It allows you to track visits and reward customers when they reach certain milestones or make qualifying purchases.

Beyond Points: While points for purchases are standard, you can elevate your program by rewarding customers with in-app badges and showcasing their achievements in a dedicated section within their app accounts. They can earn achievements with social media shares, number of visits or other customizable goals.

#7: Embrace Geo-Features

Take advantage of an app's geo-capabilities to give your dispensary a hyperlocal focus.

Location-specific Promotions: Using geo-targeting, you can send customized deals and discounts according to the customer's location, thereby increasing their chances of making a purchase.

Geo-Conquesting: By implementing geofencing, an app can send your mobile alerts to users who are within a certain distance of your competitor, offering them a more enticing deal.


#8: Offer an Omnichannel Experience

An app can seamlessly connect online and physical stores, ensuring a consistent shopping journey across all platforms. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that customers who shop through multiple channels spend 4% more in physical stores and 10% more online compared to those who shop through just one channel.

#9: Long-Term Dispensary Success

Taking a leaf from Starbucks' retail marketing playbook, placing an app at the core of your dispensary marketing demonstrates its potential in driving significant revenue.

The Starbucks mobile app has become more than just a tool; it's a community and a widely used digital payment platform. It offers features like order ahead, customization, reward management, and even payment processing. This strategy has attracted a vibrant, young customer base that heavily relies on mobile apps.

As of now, over 30 million people have downloaded the Starbucks app, contributing to the brand's steady growth. In Q1 of 2023, Starbucks reported an 8% year-on-year revenue growth, totaling $8.7 billion. The Starbucks Rewards program also saw a 15% annual growth, reaching 30.4 million members, a 6% increase from the previous quarter. The app's usage soared to 27%, with drive-thru, mobile orders, and delivery making up 72% of sales.

While cannabis and coffee are different products, they share similarities. Consumers typically use both as part of a routine, desire quick access to them, and usually return for more.

#10: Draw in Young, High-Spending Consumers

Targeting a younger, tech-driven demographic is vital for the growing industry. Mobile apps, favored by tech-savvy Millennials and older Gen Zers for their online shopping, are an effective way to engage this audience.

Gen Zers, who have increased their phone usage by 82% in 2023, are particularly drawn to apps featuring gamification and social media elements. Integrating these features into cannabis retail apps could prove appealing to this demographic.

According to New Frontier data, the youngest market segment (75% of them fall under the ages of 24-45 years old) , known as savvy connoisseurs, often spend over $100 on a typical purchase.

These individuals are frequent consumers, high spenders, use cannabis both medically and recreationally, and utilize it for various reasons. They consume numerous forms of cannabis, including flower and non-flower products, and are mostly legal consumers sourcing from both regulated and informal channels. This young, tech-oriented demographic represents a significant customer base for the rapidly growing cannabis market.

#11: You Own Your App

Often, getting an app from an e-commerce or loyalty provider can put a limit on how much you can scale your technology.

This is mostly due to software tie-ups and exclusivity deals which may prevent you from scaling or blending all the features and capabilities like major retail apps do. The issue with this, aside from scalability and lack of flexibility, is that if a software provider suddenly shuts down, your app might stop working entirely without the right migration or documentation support.

Having control over your own technology is crucial for brands aiming for long-term success. With a custom-made app, the app is usually powered by a proprietary backend software. But, if you ever need to change providers, it is easier to transition, saving you thousands of dollars in investments.

#12: Get To Know Your Customers Better

Owning your mobile app and having access to its data is crucial for understanding customer behavior. This can help you make informed business decisions, improve inventory management and your marketing strategies.

Here are the types of user engagement metrics you can have access to:

Monthly App Downloads

Total Installs


User Growth Rate

Daily & Monthly Active Users

App Sessions

Session Length & Intervals

Session Depth

Number of Social shares


Customer Lifetime Value

And many more.

#13: Offer Cannabis Education on The Go

Custom Cannabis Mobile Apps can bring in the best pages and blogs from your website. Teaching folks about cannabis products is crucial for promoting safe and healthy use. By putting educational articles right in your customers' hands, they can learn more whenever and wherever they want, all in a format that's super easy to digest.

#14: Improve Curbside or Delivery Services

Mobile ordering apps allow retailers to streamline their curbside or delivery services. This allows customers to pre-order, choose between pick-up or delivery, and receive real-time updates about their orders. 

Furthermore, the implementation of geofencing technology enables dispensaries to be alerted when their customers are nearby. This facilitates efficient order management, ultimately elevating the overall service experience.

#15: Product and Brand Review

Shoppers tend to stick with brands they've tried and trusted before. So they're likely to explore different products from the same brand. A mobile app can make it easier for your customers to access and leave reviews on these products and generate a cult following - bringing more value to the brands you carry.

Here are some ways to get customer feedback:

  • Post-Purchase Reviews: Ask customers to review their purchases. This helps you learn and improve, while building a community of genuine reviews for new customers.
  • Friendly Reminders: Drop subtle hints when it's time for customers to refill their stash. This keeps them engaged and loyal to your brand.
  • App and Store Reviews: Request regular reviews of your app and storefront. This enhances your online visibility and credibility, attracting more customers.

Implementing these strategies can strengthen your relationship with customers, increase your brand's reputation, and boost visibility.

#16: Get Top Tech on a Subscription Model

Traditional cannabis mobile app development, complete with a customized user interface and experience, can cost over $100K per year, including maintenance. Switching to a subscription model like the one offered by Digital Awesome can drastically cut these costs.

You can launch a fully-branded sales channel that blends shopping, rewards, and marketing into one app. This requires a small upfront investment followed by an affordable monthly fee, regardless of the number of stores you operate.

This subscription model provides cost predictability, making it easier to budget. Plus, all future upgrades are included at no extra cost. So, you get top-tier tech without breaking the bank.

#17: Frictionless Shopping

Say goodbye to external links and hello to in-app purchases. Customers can buy directly from your app without the need to switch between your wallet app and website. This streamlined shopping experience not only enhances customer satisfaction but also boosts your sales.

#18: Professional Brand Representation

Cannabis apps vary in quality - some are sleek and professional, while others fall short. Opt for a custom cannabis mobile app provider that can flawlessly represent your brand throughout the app.

From icons and buttons to images and other visual elements, a custom cannabis mobile app can be tailored to showcase your brand in the most professional light.

#19: Foster Trust with Dedicated Pages

Your app can feature a dedicated page for dispensary compliance information, licenses, best practices, and safety measures. Providing this comprehensive information not only builds trust but also establishes credibility with your customers.

#20: Efficiently Manage Heavy Traffic During Holidays

A mobile app can streamline and automate order processing, making it easier for you and your customers. It reduces wait times and increases customer satisfaction, particularly during holidays when footfall is typically high. This means happier customers on both regular days and the busiest of seasons.

#21: Mobile Dispensary Directory

A custom app can serve as a convenient, on-the-go directory for all your dispensary branches. It allows you to share location details, maps, contact information, and even facilitates online orders at any store location. By doing so, you're not only cross-promoting your other stores but also catering to your customers wherever they might be.

#22: Regulatory-Compliant Sales Channel

A custom app can provide a sales channel that adheres to state regulations and other necessary compliance requirements. Collaborating with app specialists who are well-versed in these regulations can help safeguard your business from potential legal issues.

#23: Strategy for Brand Reinvention

If your dispensary seems to be falling behind or would want to make a noise in your local market, investing in an app could be the perfect strategy to refresh and relaunch your brand, giving it a new lease on life.


#24: Compete with Giants

Having your own app allows you to stand toe-to-toe with cannabis giants dominating the market. It gives you a competitive edge and helps you establish a strong presence in the market.


Let's take a look at some emerging players in the dispensary field that you might want to keep an eye on: Cinder, Lake Effect, Exclusive Brands. These brands are making waves and could provide inspiration for your own app development.

Cinder Cannabis Mobile App

Cinder, Spokane Washington's leading cannabis dispensary, has bagged the Best Cannabis Retailer title in the Inlander's Best of Spokane Reader's Poll for four straight years. To maintain its edge and enhance customer experience, Cinder has adopted a custom cannabis mobile app.

Cinder Cannabis.png

Explore the Cinder Cannabis Mobile App. Available for download on iOS and Android.


Exclusive Brands

Digital Awesome has teamed up with Exclusive Brands, a top Michigan cannabis dispensary, to create a user-friendly mobile app that elevates the shopping experience and effectively highlights the dispensary's varied product range and offers.

Exclusive Brands Mobile App

Explore the Exclusive Cannabis Mobile App. Available for download on iOS.

Lake Effect

A renowned 24-hour dispensary in Michigan, have collaborated with Digital Awesome to create an easy-to-use mobile app. The app streamlines the shopping process and features Lake Effect's special rewards and bonuses, making it ideal for both medical and recreational cannabis users.

Lake Effect Case Study Header.png

Explore the Lake Effect Cannabis Mobile App. Available for download on iOS and dropping soon on Android.

Cannabis App Development