Past / Hi there re-introduces the hashish retail expertise

In March 2020, as states launched hasty responses to the raging coronavirus pandemic, the cannabis industry was thrown into a lifeline. With all types of businesses forced to close shutters and worried citizens retreating to their homes, cannabis businesses have been classified as indispensable. This may have been the moment the industry finally began to deliver on the big economic promises that helped transform public opinion about legal weeds.

With healthy reports from the third and fourth quarters that drove the bullish outlook for publicly traded multistate operators and control of the House, Senate and White House in the hands of the Democrats, cannabis and its upper tier are racing far harder through 2021 than in Year 2021 prepandemic times.

Among the success stories at the high end of the market is the Florida-based company Jushi Holdings Inc.. turned many heads. The emerging multistate operator (MSO) is taking strategic steps in the Eastern and Midwestern states, building a compelling portfolio, and unlocking capital to dominate its core markets. Like his listed colleagues, Jushi performed very well in the second half of 2020, posting a 67 percent increase in sales between the second and third quarters. The company forecasts sales between $ 200 million and $ 250 million this year.

Rather than leading the way in cultivation and manufacturing like an earlier generation of MSOs, Jushi took a vertical approach to retailing by identifying states that meet certain requirements and licensing them to open Beyond / Hello Fancy pharmacy brand Jushi acquired (along with six additional licenses and two active locations) for $ 63 million from Pennsylvania firm Franklyn Bioscience in 2019.

Beyond / Hello operates thirteen locations in four states. The recent store openings in Manassas, Virginia and Santa Barbara, California indicate a strategy that divides the company’s geographic expansion into two camps: core markets and developing markets.

For the core markets, Jushi staked out less competitive, restricted license states that are transitioning from or about to move from medical to recreational. These currently include Pennsylvania (the company’s largest footprint), Illinois, and most recently Virginia, which Jushi refers to as the “sleeping giant,” where the governor recently announced extensive legalization legislation.

While the MSO is making its most open bets in less competitive markets, the company sees a great advantage in being quietly active in mature markets with the most innovative products and savvy consumers. “While we have specific criteria for states we like, you can’t neglect California,” said the chief creative officer Andreas Neumann. “There has been so much progress in developing the market and standards in California. The consumers, the brands and the focus on delivery are years ahead of the rest of the country. “

While California isn’t a state where Neumann initially envisions Jushi competing aggressively, the Beyond / Hello store in Santa Barbara and upcoming locations in Culver City, Grover Beach, and Palm Springs, Calif., Is becoming a strong western outpost Representing the Jushi team to keep the collective finger on the pulse of emerging trends. “I like to think of California as a kind of educational playground,” said Neumann. “What are the most important or innovative things and how can we bring them into our core markets?”

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There is arguably no better sector to spot trends and capitalize on them than retail. The stores are in direct contact with consumers and brands and can collect sales data and completely own customer relationships. By building a sophisticated retail platform during the first wave of expansion, Jushi positioned itself to read emerging trends and potential acquisitions while maximizing margins for the upcoming range of private label brands.

“With our retail stores as real-time data sources, we collect the information to make business decisions,” said Neumann. “From procurement and product development to e-commerce and personalized rewards programs, big data is an invaluable foundation in a rapidly maturing industry.”

When Neumann came to Cannabis from Tech, where he was the Creative Director for the well-known User Experience (UX) design studio Idean, he brought Jushi the obsessive desire to understand the customer journey and eliminate what he calls “friction” designated.

“For UX, friction is like a gold mine. the opportunity, ”said Neumann, an avid German and longtime Angeleno who is also a prolific rock and roll photographer for Iggy Pop, Queens of the Stone Age and the Foo Fighters. “If we can remove friction from a process, that’s where the magic happens. This magic creates a real business advantage. “

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When Neumann came to Jushi in February 2020, he made the quick and random decision to rebuild the Beyond / Hello website with an e-commerce front and center. Despite the lack of business solutions (a constant constraint at nearly every node in the cannabis supply chain), the new platform was a powerful sales funnel for generating leads for in-store purchases and closing the loop between digital and physical retail.

Rebuilding the website, which was underdeveloped yet had heavy traffic, didn’t seem to be on the company’s priority list, but Neumann insisted. “We have to be prepared for the future of retail and this is online,” he told the management team.

As if his words were prophetic, the pandemic has unexpectedly shaken the commercial landscape. “Who could have known the future would come just a month later?” he said.

The pandemic accelerated the retail sector’s transition from brick-and-mortar to electronic commerce by up to five years, according to IBM’s 2020 US Retail Index. While the pharmacies stayed up, many had to turn their rickety old websites into secure, knowledgeable platforms to collect and process orders as customers stayed at home looking for delivery or pickup on the side of the road.

“We launched the new Pennsylvania website with limited marketing and the response was immediate and incredible,” said Neumann, adding that the company’s online portal had sales of approximately $ 3 million in its first month.

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Today, Beyond-Hello.com’s execution rate is over $ 90 million, with up to two-thirds of total revenue coming from the online platform.

“Our online sales continue to grow and we are breaking new records every month,” said Neumann. “We acquire an average of 600 new customers every day. When new businesses go online, a sophisticated digital strategy plays a key role in their success.”

Despite society’s rapid transition to digital, physical stores, they won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, and in Beyond / Hello, Jushi has embraced a concept that is beautiful and adaptable to local market preferences and regulations.

“We take a modular approach to the design of our business so that we can remain flexible, consistent and evolve and adapt to changing laws,” said Neumann.

The stores share some common design elements that have been reorganized and redesigned for each location. Wooden panels framing glass cabinets add sophistication to the products they present and are presented under mild light emanating from industrial lights. Outside on the facade, the inviting, clearly weed-free words “Beyond / Hello” are visible from the sidewalk and the cars driving by.

The result is a centrally managed, cohesive portfolio of fifteen stores in four states, all of which exude style without sacrificing substance and are built on an underlying digital architecture that uses e-commerce to future-proof Jushi’s burgeoning retail empire.

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While the company’s timing for the upgrade was scary, ecommerce, according to Neumann, was merely a response to a year-long trend that is visible to anyone who pays attention. Building a great website that displays a store’s menu and processes orders (if not transactions themselves) should be a mandatory upgrade in 2021. This also seems like a safe business move. Branded direct sales of THC to consumers seem a long way off, which means retail licenses should continue to be a protective ditch for those who purchased them at a high cost. To maximize their potential, retailers should easily and inexpensively update their websites so that they can keep up with consumer shopping habits while maximizing the income from their brick and mortar stores.

For Jushi, the Beyond / Hello stores and e-commerce operations are just the beginning of the company’s bold expansion.

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