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A Guide to Keeping Great Budtenders

Budtenders are on the frontlines of the cannabis industry. Every day budtenders across Canada share new products that suit their customers’ needs and educate them on safe and proper product use. We look to budtenders for one of the most crucial elements of a brand’s success; to establish brand loyalty and act as the face of their retail establishment.

Tether, Canada’s budtender community, surveyed over 300 budtenders from across the country. Here’s what budtenders had to say about their jobs, and what you can do as a retailer to help them stick around.

Respect their Expertise

Budtenders want to be heard; an overwhelming number of budtenders want to help develop a better future for the industry. Here are some changes budtenders want to see:

●     Education – 40% of budtenders surveyed want to be educated by their store management team. By providing education, you ensure your budtenders have the right tools to be able to best serve consumers and that they are getting their information from a reliable, trusted source.

●     Sampling – Developing personal preference through sampling is important, with 75% of budtenders indicating this is their preferred way to learn about new products. Seeing is believing and having first-hand experience is most important to budtenders.

●     Customer Connection – Building a rapport with customers is a two-way street. 51% of budtenders report relying on customer feedback to inform their product knowledge. Many budtenders cite customer interaction as a highlight of the job; engaged budtenders means engaged and return customers.

Engaged budtenders means engaged and return customers.

●     Packaging and Sustainability – 68% of budtenders want to see a more eco-friendly future for cannabis products, with 87% citing packaging as a major pain point, both for themselves and customers. These numbers are both higher than last year, showing the problem is continuing to grow.

●     Networking and Community – 86% of budtenders want to connect with other budtenders locally and learn from each other. Connect employees from surrounding locations for information sessions and team-building opportunities. Many budtenders feel animosity amongst local stores instead of community.

With a hunger for product knowledge and a genuine fire lit under them to advance their careers in cannabis, budtenders have the desire to become more involved in the industry.

Grow with Them

More than 50% of budtenders are looking to pursue higher-level positions within the cannabis space; 23% want to pursue cannabis retail management, while 42% want to pursue other opportunities in cannabis.

●     Learn From the Source – Schedule more brand representative and licensed producer (LP) visits, as 92% of budtenders like to learn from the source. Many budtenders from smaller markets and remote areas feel like they don’t get enough support from brand representatives, so try banding together with other retailers to plan a visit or schedule some virtual training.

●     Offer Management Training Programs – 23% of budtenders want to move into cannabis retail management positions, an 8% increase from last year. By offering management training programs and working with your budtenders to prepare them for store management, you can set budtenders up for success and create brand loyalty amongst staff.

Fair and Competitive Compensation

Cost of living and compensation are top of mind for budtenders this year.

●     Be a Generous Employer – 63% of budtenders receive swag as a job perk, but under half get health benefits. During a time of increased healthcare needs, benefits are a priority for many budtenders.

budtender wages

●     Rising Dissatisfaction with Wages – 55% of budtenders agreed they felt their pay was fair based on their responsibilities, which is 7% lower than last year, with 20% compensated $20+ an hour, 4% lower than last year.

●     Be Competitive – With almost half of budtenders surveyed feeling they aren’t properly compensated, retailers are at risk of losing talent or of encouraging staff to  unionize. Consider what your competition offers to ensure you incentivize budtenders to grow with you.

Tether, created by Marigold PR, is celebrating the contribution of budtenders during the second annual Budtender Appreciation Week, March 20-24, 2023. Over 86% of budtenders said they are looking for community, B-Week aims to engage budtenders across the country. Learn more about the budtender survey and B-Week at tetherbuds.com

Tags: brand loyalty (1), budtender (11), Cannabis Community (15), cannabis education (18), cannabis packaging (2), cannabis staff (14), retail store compensation (2), Tether (3)