The first legal 4/20 in California has come and gone, and we want to share one of our big takeaways from the holiday: the power of swag. It’s no surprise that giving away branded items is a great way to build rapport and good will among customers. At Caliva, we added to that excitement by having patrons spin a prize wheel to “test their luck” and win our branded items.

In other words: people love free stuff, and here’s what worked for us (and what didn’t) on 4/20.

Choosing Branded Swag that “Sells”

When you’re deciding what type of merchandise you’d like to brand – and give away – keep in mind that customers like both fun and functional items. We had great success with branded:

  • Rolling Papers and Lighters: You can bundle these or give them away separately. Either way, papers and lighters are the most functional, practical “industry” items; most people can find a use for a lighter even if they prefer edibles over flower.
  • Sunglasses: These were generally the most-desired item. They’re functional, fun and make a great re-gift if the winner happens to wear prescription eyeglasses.
  • Stickers: Company-branded stickers are a cheap and easy way to build brand visibility. You can also hand these out with other prizes as a bonus.
  • Grinder Cards: Another utilitarian item, though we found that many people weren’t familiar with grinder cards and how to use them. We suggest giving a quick explanation of the card’s benefits as a discreet, portable grinder that fits in your wallet or purse.
Cannabis grinder cards are a great addition to your travel kit

Caliva’s grinder cards spread brand awareness – and are practical, to boot.

Cannabis Swag to Avoid

People love free stuff, yes, but even that has its limits. Some items are just not popular; others tend to be cost prohibitive. We recommend avoiding giveaways of:

  • Lanyards: We’ve found that most customers no longer want or need lanyards. The notable exception to this is other businesses, as budtenders and other retail employees often need lanyards for badges or ID. If you still want to give away lanyards, make them an add-on to another prize, like stickers.
  • T-Shirts: Despite the popularity with customers, t-shirt giveaways can be tricky because you need a lot of different sizes, and more often than not you’re quickly left with the more extreme sizes, like XXL. Shirts are also the most expensive swag we carry, by far. Unless you have some shirts you’d like to unload, we suggest skipping the t-shirt giveaways and focusing on the popular items listed above.

Partnering with Third Parties for Customer Delight

Customer delight rarely fails. Consider joining forces with third parties like local food trucks – because in addition to free stuff, people also love free food. Caliva customers received a complimentary ticket to an on-site food truck with each purchase on 4/20.

Delight your customers by partnering with local food trucks.

Cannabis retailers can delight customers by partnering with local food trucks.

A Final Word on Swag

Whatever your strategy for swag, when you have multiple people giving away multiple items, take care not to overwhelm your customers. People love free stuff, but not thrown at them all at once. The more orderly you can make your giveaways, the better. And don’t forget to have fun.

Good luck! Only 362 more days to go until next year!

Categories: Cannabis News

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