The Apex Trading team has been in the B2B cannabis industry since 2014. That was when the first recreational cannabis market came online in Colorado. Today, there are now 11 states with adult use or recreational cannabis and 33 states with medical marijuana. We’ve had a front row seat to watch the expansion and maturation of wholesale cannabis that’s taken place. We’re proud to say, we’ve been there every step of the way to support the cannabis industry, our clients, and the plant. While most can agree that the evolution taking place in wholesale cannabis is a good thing, it also presents numerous challenges to new and established producers/brands alike.
One area that we constantly see fluctuation, which can immediately impact your bottom line, are wholesale cannabis prices. There are numerous factors that can contribute to upward or downward price pressure – think seasonal harvests, regulatory changes/bans, over-abundance of supply/license holders, innovation & technology – some of which can be controlled by the producer/brand, while others, not so much.
When we look back at the past five years of B2B cannabis, especially in markets like Colorado and Oregon, the most successful producers are those that deliver consistent, quality products under an established brand and identity. No matter where you fall within the value chain (value-top shelf), retailers want to work with cannabis producers that are reliable and offer consistent products to their B2C cannabis shoppers. On the production side, creating consistent, high quality products often comes down to the facility, equipment, staff, and material inputs (bio-material, nutrients, ingredients). From a sales and branding standpoint though, it’s all about your brand appeal in conjunction with your sales and marketing teams.
Here are a few questions you should be asking yourself to ensure brand success: Is your logo recognizable? Do you have a tagline that people will remember? Do you have attractive packaging that is distinguishable from competing products/brands? Is your sales staff knowledgeable about your business and product(s) and do they provide customer service that clients will remember? Does your marketing team properly leverage all the potential channels to gain a following and generate brand awareness?
All of these questions are important to consider, whether you’re just starting out, or you’re a cannabis business that has been around for multiple years. Look no further than a state such as Oregon for proof of how vital establishing a brand is. In 2016, there were thousands of Oregon cannabis cultivators, extractors and product manufacturers. In 2020, there are only a few hundred left. Oversupply and downward price pressure forced many wholesale cannabis businesses to close during Oregon’s first two years of recreational sales. However, now pricing is back on the rise and those that were able to remain in existence were either a) very well funded and could stay afloat or b) kept operations tight and ran lean while establishing a brand that cannabis dispensaries wanted to carry and consumers wanted to purchase. If you look at today’s market, almost every farm has a logo, website, and strong social media presence.
Building a well-known cannabis brand isn’t only important in your state. When you look at the growth of multi-state operators, whether through licensing agreements or not, all of these MSOs have invested heavily in building a well-known and reputable brand. This is also the case with exits. If you look at the acquisitions over the last several years, the companies that established their brand were in a better position for acquisition than those that had not.
Apex Trading offers wholesale cannabis management software to help you streamline your inventory, order and sales processes, but we also have an intimate knowledge of B2B cannabis across the country. When you’re part of the Apex Trading family, you not only get access to all of the software tools, but to our expertise, as well. And, even if you’re not an Apex Trading client, please feel free to reach out – we’re happy to help, because we really want this industry and the people in it to thrive.