Bringing the dispensary to living rooms of cannabis customers

The jist

Uptok, a premier video commerce startup based in Chicago,  partners with a highly innovative cannabis operator, Mission Dispensaries, to pilot the ultimate online human-to-human shopping experience for cannabis customers. The results are game-changing for the future of Cannabis shopping.

Why Cannabis?
Why Video?
Why Now?

According to a report by Grand View Research, the global legal marijuana market size was valued at USD 9.1 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 26.7% by 2028. As consumers begin to explore dispensary offerings, they are met with an average of seven different “categories” of cannabis all with between 50-75 SKUs. This is where consultations with a knowledgeable budtender becomes critical for a quintessential customer experience.

A video commerce tool would allow budtenders to have face-to-face consultations with shoppers before they even step foot into the dispensary.


Innovation leader in cannabis

Mission is a multi-state medical and recreational marijuana dispensary operator with locations in Illinois, Massachusetts and Michigan. At its core, Mission is a pioneer; a brand willing to take risks in order to find their edge in the market. They do this by consistently investing in budtender education and enhancing their customer experience.


Live budtenders
on the website

Together Uptok and Mission designed a controlled pilot based in Mission's South Chicago location to prove the hypothesis that one-on-one live video sessions results in an overall enhanced customer experience.

Mobile or desktop users on the dispensary website that are defined as “serious shoppers” through Uptok’s intent algorithm are either invited to join a video call by a budtender or have the option to request a video chat or audio call. Users are able to text chat, screen share and place orders with budtenders.

The goal for budtenders was to leverage technology and offer personalized pre-order consultations and aid with post-purchase questions.

One of the things we were most looking forward to in this promotion was really getting to know our customers on a closer level providing more consultation opportunities with them.

This really gave them (budtenders) a personal approach that they hadn't been able to provide before. We were really excited to provide that to them!

Kristie Shaw
VP Store Operations
Mission Dispensaries



Pre-order from home

Pre-order helps customers avoid hassle and skip the line at the dispensary. This was an exciting element of video chat, customers went as far to say to budtenders that “they would definitely use this service again!”

Educate the customer

Video chat made it possible for budtenders to educate customers during throughout their shopping journey. An example of this, was a customer who picked up an oil earlier in the day use Uptok to ask about dosage and usage after pickup. It only took 2 minutes of advice for the customer to understand the right dosage for a great experience.

A friendly face-to-face chat

Many customers turned on their cameras and those who didn’t still appreciated seeing a human being on the screen. Tone of voice in calls that were audio only (for customers) were more conversational and friendlier than a standard phone call.

The training opportunity

Recorded videos offer a great opportunity for management teams to observe conversations and use it to train budtenders. Managers don't always have the opportunity to hear a kiosk conversation with a customer in the dispensary. With Uptok, managers are able to review calls and highlight opportunities of growth for the budtenders.

New customers acquired

Budtenders are able to chat with with curious website visitors that otherwise would have never set foot in the dispensary. One of our earliest calls was with a customer who had not been to the dispensary before. A quick consultation and details about an early bird discount got this customer excited about planning their visit later that week.

A Visual Proof of Identity

Consent management on the website before placing a remote order is a huge opportunity since the video can be used as a proof of identity. Dispensaries cannot take pre-orders via call, but they can on video.

Improved Customer Flow

Preorders made via video can help alleviate traffic bottlenecks and increase capacity to serve. The dispensary management immediately saw the opportunity to fast track customers who pre-ordered, ultimately reducing bottlenecks during busy times.

Increase Order Value

Highly skilled budtenders can upsell and increase order value through video consultations. Video helps budtenders better understand their customer needs and creates the opportunity to upsell by recommending new products.

Better Staff Utilization

One budtender can serve multiple locations at the same time making staff utilization more efficient. Because budtenders can easily access menus or inventory details from any location via their menu, a remote budtender can easily serve any or multiple locations at once.

I see massive potential in businesses that offer consultations and experts. The success of Mission’s pilot proves that medical and recreational cannabis is a niche where customers value consultation.

The opportunity to build a relationship with a new or early customer can bridge the gap between a dispensary visit and the digital exploration that precedes.

Emily Anastasiades
COO — Uptok Inc


It’s just the beginning

Mission is excited about the potential of video commerce within their industry. The Mission team is planning to expand the service to other locations across states.

The team at Uptok is excited by the validation of one-on-one video commerce presented during this case study. We are now gearing up to work with use-cases acrosss the board with cannabis and industries beyond it.