User experience (UX) design in the cannabis industry is unlike most other industries. The laws and regulations surrounding the sale of legal cannabis are changing regularly (and usually unpredictably), and ditto for the laws regarding the marketing of cannabis businesses. Moreover, some marketing technology providers still don’t allow any of their services to be used by cannabis companies, while others require cannabis professionals to jump through hoops to get basic services. As a result, many cannabis businesses are either resisting investing in UX, hiring under-qualified UX designers or hiring UX professionals that are perhaps mismatched to the type of work they are being asked to do.
So how can cannabis industry professionals convince their executives that they need to double down on great user experience design?
Good UX will save you time and money
Solid user experience design has shown time and time again to have a positive return on investment. Conversely, neglecting user experience design has been shown to prevent companies from reaching their full potential.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is fighting the misguided notion that UX design provides no tangible value. When you’re building an application that costs 6-7 figures, UX is often considered a thing that can make the project run over budget and delivered off schedule. While it’s understood that business needs will usually trump user needs, consider this:
Say your cannabis business is building an app for dispensaries to monitor inventory and customer records. Without good UX, the resulting app could easily turn into a glorified spreadsheet. While it might contain all of the required information on the screen, a poor UX design would likely require users to spend more time on the screen than they need to. For the sake of argument, let’s say your cannabis consultants are spending an average of 3 minutes in the app each time a customer needs to be rung up.
Now let’s take the same screen and apply solid UX principles to it. It’s now an easy-to-use dashboard with properly placed filters and dropdown menus. Time spent on the screen by users is reduced significantly - let’s say your cannabis consultants now average 1.5 minutes in the app with each customer.
A dispensary can see several hundred customers each day. Let’s say yours averages 500 customers a day. The reduction in time spent on your app’s screen equates to 12.5 hours saved each day. Multiplied by 250 working days each year (an approximation), that’s 3,125 hours a year you’ve just saved your business - almost the same number of hours as 1.5 full-time positions! That’s a significant improvement to employee efficiency and your bottom line.
Good UX will meet high user expectations
There are 1.59 billion monthly active users on Facebook as of December 2015. There are 313 million monthly active Twitter users as of June 2016. Instagram is up to 400 million users as of September 2015. Chances are pretty high that your customers and employees are using one or more of these apps.
Today’s successful tech companies have invested millions of dollars into creating positive user experiences in their applications. Your customers and employees have been accustomed to this high level of UX design and expect it from your business as well. The deficiencies in your app or website will be quite apparent when users switch from using your app to the big name apps.
By making UX design a top priority, you’re taking your app or website closer to being synonymous with the apps that users interact with every day. This not only reduces user friction when they’re switching from good UX app to your app, it also strengthens brand loyalty and creates brand ambassadors that “work” for you 24 hours a day.
Good UX will propel your business ahead of the competition
Zig when they zag, as they say. With the small amount of UX expertise currently in the cannabis industry, there is a huge opportunity for canna-businesses to leap ahead of their competition by doing what others are not doing. User experience in the cannabis industry is in high demand and low supply. A cannabis business can use good UX design to differentiate themselves from the sea of competitors that will soon be entering the cannabis industry.
If these reasons aren’t convincing enough, or you need help with your specific situation, ask us about how we can help with your cannabis digital marketing and user experience. Skylarq Digital is a UX-focused digital agency that has helped design and develop applications and websites for major cannabis industry platforms such as MJ Freeway and Leaf Data Systems.