Unity Rd. Leverages Guest Feedback and Online Reviews To Reach Customers
We asked Jayne Levy, Vice President of Communications at Unity Rd., what new technology tools she is using to reach customers.
The cannabis industry is novel in both franchising and in the wide-scale marketing space: it brings increased rules and regulations on how to tap into marketing your brand at both the state and city levels. While the industry can be complex to navigate, our team consists of industry experts across both franchising and our product, bridging the gap and creatively strategizing how to market the business as the first national franchise in the cannabis space.
While the adult-use cannabis market continues to thrive, digital tools and technology are being created and tested every day to find the best fit for both teams and customers. We have built a solid foundation with platforms and tools to facilitate a seamless process, both in-shop and out. Online platforms such as Weedmaps, Leafly, and Dutchie are currently adopted across our franchise system for seamless product navigation and ordering functionalities. In addition, we are currently working on refining our loyalty and rewards program for guests.
From the consumer perspective, one aspect of marketing we have been prioritizing is guest feedback and reviews. Knowing that public reviews can significantly influence traffic to our shops, we set out last year to find a tool to increase our local reviews and launched with a tool embraced by both the franchise and cannabis industries.
The customer communication platform we use translates reviews into a strategic marketing initiative that encourages guests with a positive experience to leave a review. After each sale, guests receive a text asking them to rate their experience at the shop. Those who rate with a 4- or 5-star rating are then sent a link to post a review to the site of their preference (e.g., Google, Facebook, Yelp!, Weedmaps, Leafly); others are asked additional questions about their experience to guide follow-up from the local team.
To optimize this tool, we also created a standard operating procedure and training that guides local shop management on best practices around responding to both positive and negative reviews. It includes templates that can be tailored for responses to reviews across the shopping environment, team member support, or product experience.
Responding to online reviews builds trust with our communities and gives us an opportunity to humanize our business by showing guests that we care. This also allows for continued communication between the shop and guest after their visit to further build the relationship and instill loyalty.
Navigating a compliant marketing strategy in an industry that comes with a lengthy list of legal restrictions can be quite difficult. As a franchisor, we drive solutions that will facilitate seamless operations, increased growth potential for franchise partners, and an optimized retail experience for guests. Our commitment to using reviews for marketing strategy has proven highly effective, with our initial test shop in Boulder seeing a dramatic increase from just a few reviews a year to a handful each month.
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