Perfecting a Product’s Positioning

Today, cannabis consumers enjoy more choice than ever. In legal cannabis markets, diverse formats, strains, sizes, brands, and product effects allow consumers to customize their cannabis experience – a major upgrade for consumers accustomed to lack of choice in the illicit market. At the same time, it can be overwhelming to make all those choices.

To make it an easier choice, distinct product positionings help consumers find what they are looking for, while also emotionally connecting with the product instead of thinking through the nitty gritty. Put simply, a positioning is the space a product takes up in the mind of the consumer. For example, we previously covered the relaxation product positionings; in the minds of these consumers, these cannabis products exist to help them relax. To understand what options consumers are seeing on shelves, we explore the products that dominate the top product positionings.


Cannabis Skincare for Self-Care and Beauty

The Beauty & Personal Care positioning includes a majority of topical products. 67% of products positioned as such are topicals. Similarly, 47% of products positioned for self-care are topicals. Both positionings lend to this product type; applying lotion is foundational to personal skin care, especially for face routines, and taking time out of your day to care for your skin is a simple way to practice self-care.


an image of proof thc face serum

One of these topicals positioned for beauty & personal care is Proof Face Serum. Its product page says:

“Our serum is perfectly moisturizing for normal to dry skin, packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients, including generous amounts of both THC and CBD for anti-aging, skin health, and radiance


When a customer looks at a dispensary menu with skincare in mind, they don’t need to think about the precise THC:CBD dosage that’ll suit their beauty needs; they are presented with a moisturizer for most skin types that will leave their skin radiant.


Video Games & Vapes

Products positioned for use with video games is a small segment overall but vapes dominate the category. 84% of cannabis products positioned for gaming are vapes. Especially when compared to smoking, vape pens allow users to quickly take hits without having to fumble with a lighter – perfect for some THC between respawns. Though the video games positioning makes up less than 1% of the cannabis market, it continues to grow – from July to August, share of shelf for these products grew 74%.


All Natural Edibles

Lastly, we look at the natural positioning. 11% of cannabis products on shelf are positioned as “natural.” Consumers are accustomed to options that are “non-GMO,” “additive-free,” and “plant-based” when shopping at the grocery store, so the option should be there at the dispensary too. Cannabis edibles most frequently have this positioning; as chocolatey and sugary as they can be, edibles make up 30% of this positioning.


an image of 420 bar milk chocolate toffee with cannabisOne natural-positioned edible hitting shelves is Evergreen Herbal Milk Chocolate Toffee. The product is described as “decadent milk chocolate blended with crunchy toffee bits. Fair Trade 38% Cacao. Gluten-Free, All-Natural.” The box indicates the cocoa is fair trade, it specifies the toffee is gluten-free, and the font on the box is reminiscent of a protein bar rather than a chocolate bar. So when browsing a display of chocolate edibles, a consumer knows this product is a natural option without having to read the ingredients list.


There are plenty other cannabis positionings to explore in the Innovation Insights portal, but these few provide a picture of how different product types lend to certain positionings. When new products hit shelves, the strength of their positioning could make or break whether consumers connect with the product. It's crucial for brands to effectively position their products so they resonate with the exact consumer segment they want to target.


Last Updated: 10/01/2020