Cannabis brand loyalty: A look at California Vapor Pens
December 3, 2021
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Introduction: Why does branding matter in the cannabis industry?
Do you remember the first time you bought cannabis? Did it come in a fancy, sealed glass jar with a colorful label on it? Ours were in plastic bags that most certainly weren't child proof nor inspiring. It's safe to say that branding has come a very long way in the cannabis industry. Companies are putting a lot of thought into their packaging, the make up of the product, and ultimately who their target consumer should be. It is important, then, for brands to make sure that the product is reaching the right customers so that they can build strategies that lead to growth. In this report, we look at some California Vapor Pen brands and explore three different ways to measure brand loyalty.
The Vapor Pen category in California sees a high amount of brand loyalty. Here are some initial data points to help illuminate where vapor pen loyalty stands today. To start, the average Vapor Pen brand in California will see about 45% of customers repurchase their brand after six months. 32.6% of those customers that repeat the purchase will do so along with other brands, but 12.6% of customers are completely loyal to the brand. When we look at wallet share, we see that 38% of the average Vapor Pen customer's wallet goes to their #1 Vapor Pen brand, while only 6% of their wallet goes to their #2 brand, with 5% going to their #3 brand. When looking at brands, companies like STIIIZY and Plug Play have customers who are exceedingly loyal. 48.6% of STIIIZY customers and 41.45% of Plug Play customers are completely loyal to these brands. Read along to see what other brands consumers are buying and drill into what loyalty looks like for the California Vapor Pen market today.
Data for this report comes from real-time sales reporting by participating cannabis retailers via their point-of-sale systems, which are linked up with Headset’s business intelligence software. Headset’s data is very reliable, as it comes digitally direct from our partner retailers. However, the potential does exist for misreporting in the instance of duplicates, incorrectly classified products, inaccurate entry of products into point-of-sale systems, or even simple human error at the point of purchase. Thus, there is a slight margin of error to consider.
This report examines intra-customer behavior (how a given customer shops over time) and aggregates results to provide analysis about customer loyalty. Data for this report comes from loyalty programs at retailers across the state of California. We examine the purchase patterns of a given consumer in pre-period (Aug '20 to Apr '21) and in the post-period (Feb '21 to Jul '21). Customers that shopped in both periods were considered for analysis.
What is brand loyalty and how do we measure it?
We've talked about brand affinity before, but brand loyalty is different. There are many ways to think about brand loyalty, but here, we mean the tendency of a customer to continue to purchase from one brand instead of going to competing brands.
It is important to note though, that brand loyalty is neither good or bad, it's actually a strategy. Having high brand loyalty can be a great strategy for brands, but having low brand loyalty can be considered a good strategy as well if the goal is, for example, to reach new customers in the market. With that said, it is important to make sure that the measurements are reflective of your strategy and aligned with your goals, otherwise adjustments might need to be made to your strategy in order to make it more effective.
In this report, we will measure brand loyalty in three ways. While these aren't the only ways to measure brand loyalty, these are the most important to consider when building out your strategy. First, we look at repeat purchase rate, which is the percentage of customers that continue to repurchase from your brand. Next we look at switching behaviors in order to identify other brands that consumers are shopping for in your category and market. And finally, we can look at wallet share, which is how much the customers are actually spending on your brand.
Repeat purchase rates for California Vapor Pen brands
Let's start by looking at the repeat purchase rates for the average Vapor Pen brand in California. As we can see, the average Vapor Pen brand in California will see about 45% of customers come back to buy their products again after six months. 32.6% of those customers will repeat the purchase along with other brands, while 12.6% will come back and only purchase from that particular brand. That's actually a pretty big deal. Think about this in comparison to beer or other consumer goods. Can you imagine drinking the same brand of beer, over and over again? Some people do (and we politely consider them to be weird), but in general, individuals have varied tastes and like to try new things. Taking that into consideration, Vapor Pen brands in California have fairly high brand loyalty.
In this graph, we're comparing two specific brands with the average California brand. We can see that STIIIZY and Plug Play have exceedingly high brand loyalty. The unique thing about these two brands is that they both have proprietary batteries, which drives more of their customer to re-purchase their brands specifically. That said, 51.4% of STIIIZY customers and 58.7% of Plug Play customers are still purchasing from other brands. This means they are buying other batteries in order to consume other cannabis cartridges. Proprietary hardware is a unique feature to Vapor Pens, since we don't really need anything special to consume Edibles and Flower. In fact, Flower often has much lower brand-only repeat purchase rates because of this. We see other dominant factors drive loyalty in the Flower category, such as price and availability.
Here we look at three more California Vapor Pen brands, but with lower brand loyalty. Remember, we said low brand isn't a bad thing, it is just a different strategy. For example, Legion of Bloom fills Pax pods. Brands that fill Pax pods will often see customers switch with other brands that also fill Pax pods. This is because customers tend to be loyal to their Pax batteries, but not necessarily to the brand filling the pod. Therefore filling Pax pods might result in lower brand loyalty, but it could be a great strategy that can open up the brand to a larger pool of consumers with Pax batteries.
What other Vapor Pen brands are consumers buying?
Now, let's look at switching behaviors. In this graph, we have taken all the customers of Legion of Bloom to see what other brands they are shopping for. As we can see, nearly a quarter of Legion of Bloom's customers returned and purchased a STIIIZY product. This is a great analysis to do because it can help you understand your brand a little bit better, but it can also help you understand your customer and how they are thinking about your brand.
When we look at switching behaviors, we are actually looking at the brands and products that serve as good substitutes for your brand. For example, you might be a Gummy brand that finds that your customers are often switching your product out for Gummies made for sleep. That might be an indication to add a product to help with sleep to your line up, or even acquire a brand that specializes in this. This is a great place for a brand manager to start thinking about how to consider expanding the product portfolio.
How much are customers spending on Vapor Pens?
Finally, let's talk about wallet share as it applies to brand loyalty. Usually, we would stick to looking at wallet share within one category, but sometimes it's useful to look across product categories. For example, when we look at Vapor Pens, it might be useful to look at all inhalable categories since consumers might be switching Vapor Pens for Flower or Pre-Rolls.
Before we look at wallet share specifically, it's important to note that that the majority of your sales are coming from repeat purchases. We see that in this graph for California Vapor Pen sales. Within a six-month period, customers who make four trips or more make up only 15% of customers, but 57% of the total revenue. This is important to think about when you're considering wallet share and brand loyalty, since these are the customers you want to target in order to increase your revenue.
Now we look at the wallet share of the average Vapor Pen customer. We can see a bulk of the customer's wallet, nearly 40%, is spent on their top Vapor Pen brand. This is yet another indication of the high amount of brand loyalty in the Vapor Pen category, which we don't really see in other cannabis product categories. Knowing this information is critical for Vapor Pen companies when they're thinking about their branding since it is important to provide customers with a great experience the first time they try your product, otherwise they might not come back!
Building the right brand loyalty strategy looks different for every brand, and getting a strategy in place is essential to ensuring your products end up in your target customers' shopping bags. And once again, having high or low brand loyalty is neither good nor bad, as long as it's part of your overall strategy. Headset provides the tools you need to create a strategy that helps you achieve the right measure of brand loyalty that your business needs to succeed. Sign up for a demo today to learn how you can leverage Headset data to create the perfect brand loyalty strategy.
Brand loyalty is a strategy, high or low brand loyalty can be good or bad depending on your goals. It is important, therefore, to make sure your brand loyalty measurements are reflective of your goals, or you might need to change your strategy.
Vapor Pen brands in California have high brand loyalty on average, about 13%, different from most other categories.
Proprietary hardware makes the Vapor Pen category unique and is a strategy that can lead to higher repeat purchase rates and increase brand loyalty.
Filling Pax pods might lead to lower repeat purchase rates and brand loyalty, but can open your brand to a wider pool of consumers who utilize Pax batteries.
Looking at switching behaviors is a great analysis for brand managers in order to see how consumers are thinking about your products and how your brand is considered amongst the alternatives. This is a great starting point to see how you can expand the product portfolio.