Many local pot shops now let you pre-order online — a feature that appeals to newbies and expert smokers alike.
Have you tried Dragon Punch? What about Purple Glue? Old Dirty Biker?
Or maybe OG strains like White Widow or Sour Diesel are more your taste. Oh, and don’t forget the edibles, waxes, oils and concentrates.
Yes, shopping for cannabis today can leave you as overwhelmed and bewildered as too much quality time with a dab rig. But there is a solution: online pre-ordering.
Pre-ordering, now available at many of Seattle’s approximately 40 pot shops, lets cannabis customers do their bud browsing away from the retail counter without feeling (sorry) rushed.
Cannabis-curious and connoisseurs alike benefit from the service at Lux Pot Shop, where online ordering gets customers in and out of the Ballard and Lake City Way locations without waiting in line.
“The sheer volume of products available can be overwhelming on a first visit, especially for people brand-new to the legal cannabis industry,” says Kalie Sandstrom, Lux’s marketing and public relations director. “Our online menu allows people to browse products and familiarize themselves with what they might want, before they come into the store.”
Dockside Cannabis, with locations in Shoreline, Ballard, SODO and on Aurora near Greenwood, has been accepting online pre-orders with a new streamlined system since June. Customers browse menus for Dockside’s four locations and add selections to their cart. After shoppers verify their first order via a text message, their account is linked to their phone number.
“Then you simply cruise into the shop to pick up your goodies,” said Sara Fletcher, buyer at Dockside.
Fletcher said convenience is the No. 1 reason customers choose online pre-ordering.
“Ordering online allows our customers to get what they want, when they want it, without the wait,” she said. “It also allows the customer to explore our offerings without interruption.”
Another shop, Hashtag, has accepted online pre-orders since 2017 and fulfilled the orders at its Fremont and Redmond locations.
Between 3 percent and 5 percent of all Hashtag sales in 2018 began as online pre-orders, said Christine Bryant Cohen, Hashtag’s Director of Marketing & Community Outreach.
“The value our guests find in our online ordering option is in convenience and its ease of use,” Cohen said. “They can browse our current menu from their cellphone, tablet or computer, place a reservation for whatever they like, and pick it up at their convenience over the next 48 hours.”
At Dockside, Fletcher estimated that online orders account for less than 15 percent of all business, but said that number is on the rise.
According to Fletcher, the online ordering option appeals to many different groups: “advanced” cannabis users, who know what they want and don’t need to consult with a budtender; customers who are disabled or unable to navigate the store layout; novice cannabis users who feel overwhelmed and prefer to peruse menus in privacy; busy folks who don’t have a lot of time to wait in line; and customers with medical needs who tend to purchase the same products every visit and want to minimize the amount of time spend in the shop.
At Cannabis City, preorders have been available for about the past year, and CEO Dr. James R. Lathrop sees big potential for the online service.
“I think the online experience is a great way to go for regulars who know what they want,” he said. “It’s a quick easy-in and easy-out way to go.”
A new wrinkle in the local cannabis industry is that Leafly, an online database and encyclopedia of cannabis strains, has launched Leafly Pickup, offering links to participating retailers in Washington, Arizona, Massachusetts, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
Customers in all cannabis shops must be 21 or older and present a valid ID.