Marijuana Product Descriptions: A Guide for Dispensaries
By Stu Waters
In the age before marijuana legalization became a feasible possibility, every generation had its own term for smokable cannabis.
In the 1930s, jazz musicians called it “gage,” while its political opponents famously called it “reefer.” Later on, terms like “grass,” “ganja,” “weed,” and “pot” all came onto the scene, each one correlating with a specific subcultural attitude towards cannabis use.
This was to be expected in an environment where marijuana was lumped in with a wide variety of dangerous illegal drugs. Once it earned its status as a medically valuable substance, however, attitudes began to change.
Only now, when full-scale federal legalization finally looks possible, will the language surrounding marijuana take on a more stable, commercially friendly form. The limited language of yesteryear has already given itself to tinctures, concentrates, and various types of oils, all referring to specific product types in a legitimate market.
Using these terms appropriately is key to connecting with veteran cannabis users while reaching out to new customers in an approachable way.
Product Descriptions and Branding
Product descriptions play an important role in the purchase process. In many cases, they are the only content that a customer reads in order to differentiate one product from another online.
This makes them important because any customer who does not already know exactly what they wish to purchase will read at least one product description while making their choice. On the internet, retailers can see exactly how different product description approaches impact customer behaviors.
Although some industries can sell products with nothing more than a title and photograph, the cannabis industry is not one of them. People are often confused about the wide range of terms, constantly-shifting cultural attitudes, and apparently high barrier to entry that the world of cannabis offers.
Brands that take this opportunity to offer information that both newcomers and longtime cannabis users find valuable have a clear advantage both online and in the store. Product descriptions are a prime opportunity to deliver valuable information to customers and influence their buying decisions.
How to Describe Different Types of Cannabis Products
Cannabis users already know the amazing variety of marijuana product on sale at most dispensaries. Anyone walking in the door and seeing a dozen types of tinctures, topicals, oils, and concentrates will often look to multiple sources to help make an informed decision before buying anything.
Most customers already have an idea of what type of product they are looking for—even if they don’t know exactly what it is called. Dispensary owners that use informative titling and helpful product descriptions are able to guide their customers towards the types of products they wish to buy.
Each product type comes with its own rules concerning the product description:
Flower. Most cannabis consumers who smoke dry flower care equally about the composition of the product, its psychoactive effects, and its flavor profile. Good product descriptions should offer information about these elements of every strain, going beyond the basic indica/sativa/hybrid designation using feature/benefit writing.
Concentrates. The world of concentrates can be intimidating for newcomers, so it is important to use common terms in a way that is easy to understand. At the same time, dispensary owners should use key details about concentrate purity, delivery method, and extraction so that consumers know what they are buying.
Topicals. Topical ointments and lotions are increasingly popular among cannabis enthusiasts and patients. Dispensary owners should make a clear distinction between therapeutic effects and psychoactive ones, in order to avoid unhappy customers purchasing topicals and expecting to experience a high.
Edibles. When it comes to edibles, defining the appropriate dosage is extremely important. Many states require product descriptions to contain dosage information, and some go so far as to require manufacturers to sell edible products with specific dosage quantities.
Cannabis dispensary owners that take advantage of product descriptions to provide clear and concise information about their products help their customers make informed choices. This can help build a reputable brand all on its own, but the real benefits begin when dispensaries use descriptions as powerful marketing tools.
How to Make a Great Product Description
A great product description does more than relay useful information to customers—it also boosts sales. Dispensary owners with an intuitive grasp on cannabis culture and customer expectations learn how to leverage product descriptions towards sales success in the following areas:
Define the Buyer Persona. Certain products target certain customers. The more a retailer knows about their customers, the better they can target them with specific product descriptions. The ideal product description changes based on the customers’ location, age, gender, education level, income level, and cultural interests.
Talk about Features and Benefits. Features are things that products have. Benefits are things that customers want. Connecting features to benefits is a proven way to establish the value of a product.
Reflect the Brand’s Voice. Every brand has a unique voice. Product descriptions that reflect that voice help customers identify that brand as a reputable source of value. Whether the dispensary’s tone is casual, academic, or street-savvy, its product descriptions have to match.
Use Bullet Points. Bullet points are great for improving text readability. This works both online and in the brick-and-mortar retail environment. Every product’s most important details should be emphasized in bullet point format so that the product description is skimmable, yet informative.
Invest in Professional Content
Writing product descriptions is a relatively high-volume, low-value process for dispensary owners and entrepreneurs to engage in. Most dispensary owners already have their schedules filled with high-impact strategic work like management, administration, and compliance. Content agencies give dispensary owners the ability to delegate product description writing tasks to marketing professionals who understand how to address customer concerns with actionable, well-written content.