Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Canadian Retailer Pop’s Cannabis Gives Advice To Brands In Ever-Evolving Sector


Since its founding in 2021, Pop’s Cannabis Co. has grown into a potent consumer-first Canadian retailer with 27 locations across Ontario. Pop’s presents easily digestible cannabis education alongside speedy service—it’s called Pop’s so shoppers can pop in and pop out. Time is a luxury and Pop’s goal is to help consumers parce-apart overwhelming and sometimes intimidating amounts of information on strains, products, and effects with “at-a-glance” product information. Its shelves boast house favorites alongside the best weed brands in Ontario.

Pop’s Cannabis made headlines this year as it was the very first weed retailer to open its doors in the town of Mississauga. “Business has been eventful, which has been the norm in an ever-evolving sector,” Ryan Dymond, President of Pop’s, tells Hall of Flowers. “It was evident that Mississauga had a lot of attention from observers due to its promising potential. Not only were we fortunate enough to establish the initial legal cannabis store in Clarkson Crossing, but we also managed to open our second one, located in Applewood Hills, before any competing business entered the market,” says Dymond.

This competitive advantage gives Pop’s Cannabis a unique point-of-view on formerly underserved consumers in Canada. “As a leader, this is one accomplishment for which I will forever be proud of,” says Dymond. “It took the commitment and dedication of our entire leadership team to achieve this milestone moment. Otherwise, we continue to scale responsibly, exploring opportunities for greenfield development or potential acquisitions. We remain as committed as ever to improving our in-store experience with the addition of resources, trade innovation or improvements to our physical design.”

Dymond says that Pop’s is continuously seeking opportunities to further enhance its culture. This ideology translates to its employees, as well, as its highest goal is to make Pops a desirable workplace for all by fostering an environment that encourages collaboration, recognition, and ongoing education. “We are proud of our accomplishments to date, yet there is still so much more to do,” says Dymond.

What types of products and brands are really standing out to Dymond and his buying team as of late? “In a crowded market, new phenotypes/strains are currently standing out,” says Dymond. “Guests often seek out what is new and different. Brands that stand out are those that consistently bring new products to market and keep popular products in stock. Many craft brands are enhancing their products by providing detailed information on their packaging, including harvest and pack dates, genetics, breeders, dry and trim methods, terpene breakdown, flavor, aroma, and appearance. These brands and products truly stand out in the market.”

The most popular products at Pop’s Cannabis storefronts include strain-specific, large-format offerings like ounces, which offer the best pricing and value. Infused pre-rolls and pre-rolls have also gained popularity in 2023, Dymond says, for their accessibility and convenience. Products that offer a great quality-to-price ratio are usually recommended and consumed by the staff at Pop’s Cannabis, making them top-of-mind when making suggestions.

Since the government has made minimal efforts to educate consumers about cannabis, it’s been left up to retail stores to inform consumers about cannabinoids and their effects. Overall, consumers have become more educated in the last few years, elevating the need for retailers to offer more transparency in production, the President explains.

“Transparency is a key expectation for consumers in 2023,” says Dymond. “As consumers become more knowledgeable about the quality of cannabis, there is an increased demand for the best quality at the best price. Consumers who have been purchasing since 2019, when stores first opened, may have more knowledge compared to their past selves. However, this knowledge varies depending on where they shop, as it often correlates with their level of education.”

Additionally, the Pop’s Cannabis team says they are seeing many new consumers enter the industry, often trying cannabis for the first time or after a long break. “These consumers require additional education,” says Dymond, “especially in categories such as edibles/beverages and oils/capsules/topicals, which have more complexities compared to flower and pre-rolls. It is crucial for well-educated staff to build trust with these consumers by guiding them and providing them with knowledge.”

There have been some significant changes in the cannabis market since the brand’s founding in 2021. “Canada has been slowly evolving,” says Dymond. “We have witnessed changes in product offerings and some innovations, but there is still much more evolution needed. For example, the THC cap on edibles should be reconsidered, and price remains a significant barrier for purchasing beverages in bulk.”

Dymond says the most significant evolution he has witnessed is the normalization and destigmatization of cannabis over time, opening up paths to new consumers. “Barriers such as window coverings and restrictions on minors entering stores need to be addressed,” says Dymond. “Ideally, a model should be developed whereby minors can enter stores with someone of legal age as long as they are not handling or purchasing products.”

The type of weed consumer that Pop’s welcomes has evolved over time, as well, Dymond explains. “While many guests still prioritize high THC content at a low price, we have seen a change as we educate them about finding the best product that suits their preferences,” he says. “Through conversations with our staff, guests have become more knowledgeable about complex products and categories, such as the differences between distillate vapes and live resin vapes, infused pre-rolls, and concentrates/extracts.”

How do brands catch the attention of Pop’s Cannabis at Hall of Flowers Toronto on Sept. 19 & 20, 2023? “For brands looking to catch our attention at Hall of Flowers, we recommend providing samples of quality products that are not yet on the market. It is crucial that these samples have been tested and are of high quality, as the first impression is vital. Additionally, having knowledgeable staff at the booth who can answer questions about the brand and products is essential. Ultimately, the goal is to be the brand that everyone is talking about after the expo.”

Dymond offers some advice for cannabis brands who seek to stand out to a retailer at Hall of Flowers: “Offer something distinct and original, like a strain or genetic that hasn’t been seen before in the market,” says the Pop’s Cannabis President. “What sets you apart from the multitude of brands and products in a saturated marketplace? Avoid catering solely to a niche market and focus on executing the fundamentals flawlessly. Be sincere and genuine in your approach within the cannabis industry, as consumers are skilled at detecting authenticity.”

For business inquiries, reach out to Steven Lacroce, VP Corporate Development, Pop’s Cannabis: steven@popscannabis.ca

News of Flowers
News of Flowershttp://newshallofflowers.wordpress.com
The news writers at Hall of Flowers, industry insiders and experts in the field.

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