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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Friday, March 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Local shops entice customers with loyalty programs

Along with several other cannabis retailers, Spokane's The Green Nugget has a loyalty program that offers discounts to returning customers. (Theresa Tanner / EVERCANNABIS)
Along with several other cannabis retailers, Spokane's The Green Nugget has a loyalty program that offers discounts to returning customers. (Theresa Tanner / EVERCANNABIS)
By Tyler Wilson EVERCANNABIS Correspondent

With loyalty comes reward.

Washington State law includes limitations and restrictions on advertising and certain promotions for licensed cannabis shops. For example, retailers are restricted from offering product giveaways, coupons or gift certificates to customers.

However, discounts and sales are fair game, and retailers are able to tailor loyalty programs that allow customers to save money on their purchases.

The Green Nugget in Spokane uses a loyalty program that offers discounts to returning customers. Every dollar spent in the store earns loyalty points, which can then be applied to percentage discounts on future purchases. For example, customers can trade 200 points for a 15 percent discount on a total purchase.

Customers need only provide a phone number to enter the loyalty program, and they can view and apply points and discounts directly from their smart phones.

“We’ve been doing this for a long time, and we have more than 26,000 loyalty members,” said Martina Graves, marketing director for Green Nugget. “We use the same program to text our customers about sales and to let them shop and place an order online for pickup.”

Many of the store’s promotions are built around the loyalty program, including offering triple points on Wednesdays and a ‘spin-the-wheel for additional points’ promo on Mondays. The wheel is also utilized to build excitement at events.

Graves said the loyalty program has been an effective way to gain and maintain customers.

“Whenever anybody new (shops), we ask them if they want to punch in their phone number, and they can opt out if they don’t want the text messages,” Graves said. “It’s pretty rare if people don’t give us their phone number.”

The loyalty program strictly offers discounts in exchange for points. Those discounts are also capped, as shops are restricted from selling product below the acquisition cost, according to Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board rules.

Additional rules on promotions and sales set by the LCB include:

• Retail shops cannot provide free samples or offer sales that include free products with a purchase of other products (no “Buy 3, Get 1 Free” offers allowed).

• Gift certificates are not allowed.

• Traditional coupons for discounted or free products are also restricted.

• Regardless of discounts, customers can still only purchase up to their individual legal limit of cannabis products.

• Clearance sales and deep discounts on unpopular or soon-to-expire products cannot be sold below acquisition cost.

The Green Nugget’s loyalty program also applies online, where customers can create an order on the store website for in-store pickup. Customers then pay at the store, as state law requires all recreational marijuana sales to take place at the licensed premises.

Tyler Wilson has been writing for various publications around the Inland Northwest since 1999. He and his wife have four children and a podcast, “Old Millennials Remember Movies.” Because everybody has a podcast.

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