Pros and cons of ads on dispensary digital signage

Amber Erickson | Head of Marketing at Seed Technology

Amber Erickson, Seed Technology

Advertising allows you to promote products and services to a wider audience. But the effectiveness depends on what and where that promotion occurs.


What about dispensary TV menus? Do ads belong there?

Ad for cannabis infused gummies available at the dispensary

This post discusses the pros and cons of displaying ads on the digital signage in your cannabis dispensary. Let’s start with the cons.

Cons of advertisements on signage

Advertising is ineffective when it’s the wrong message, at the wrong time, or in the wrong place. Here’s a few downsides of putting ads on your signage.

Loss of control

If you choose a TV menu provider who sells commercials to other companies to put on your screens, you lose control of that digital real estate. Ads shown are part of the ad network, and you have little to no control over what brands appear.


But worse, these ads could be contradictory to your brand values or mission or feature a competing product instead of your own.


Losing control of your screens means they no longer help achieve your business goals.

Misalignment with current business needs

As a dispensary owner or operator, you have business goals. And you hopefully have a strategy for how you use your in-store screens to achieve those goals.

Showing misaligned advertisements could hamper those goals.


Your digital displays should promote your highest margin products, vertically-integrated products, or select partner brands, not your competitors (or other brands that are irrelevant to your business).


Ad networks don’t factor in your goals, they show whatever commercials their brand customers pay for.

Promotion of products not in your inventory

Retail signage can help guide customers’ buying decisions. Showing them products or brands that you don’t carry — or that are temporarily out of stock — is a frustrating experience for both sides.


Ideally ads on your TVs only show products, brands, and selections that you carry and are in stock. This is why it’s important to have an integration with your POS or ecommerce vendor. 


When you choose the ads you show, you can ensure only in-stock products are featured. 

Pros of advertisements on signage

Now that we’ve talked about the risks of ads on the screens in your cannabis dispensary, let’s talk about how strategic in-store advertising can help your profits.

Monetize digital real estate

When you control your screens, you choose how that space is used. Commonly this includes a list of products you have in stock, or graphics promoting your house brands or daily deals.


Why not sell that space to your preferred partner brands?

It could look like this:


Increase brand awareness and sales lift

Your digital space should educate, inform, and inspire your customers. Use screens to show them your products to help encourage behavior.


If you’re vertically-integrated, you may want to use screens to promote your house brands solely. Or maybe you want to promote partner brands or other high-margin products. You get to choose what to advertise, how those ads look, and how they fit into your screen playlists.

A Maryland dispensary used a custom advertisement on their TV screens to promote a specific high-margin product. They saw a 300% sales lift on that item within a week!

The short version

You have TVs or tablets throughout your cannabis retail business to serve a specific purpose. Instead of muddying that up with ads that are out of your control, use that valuable real estate to further serve your business.


Seed doesn’t have an ad network of generic commercials. We don’t think ads should be on your screens unless you make a strategic choice to include them. 


If you’re looking for a dispensary digital signage provider, watch for those that require advertisements from their ad network. They entice you on low monthly subscription fees, but you end up losing control of your screens.


Ads on digital signage should be on your terms. 


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