BOULDER — A Denver tech company that helps marijuana dispensaries communicate with customers is expanding to Boulder.
Citizen Toke’s short messaging service, or SMS, texting platform that goes by the same name lets dispensaries send deals to returning and new customers. The service is in beta testing and three Boulder dispensaries — The Station, Elements and MMJ America — are among the first to try it out.
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Dispensaries offering specials to clients is nothing new to the industry. But what Citizen Toke is trying to do differently, said CEO Patrick Burke, is to bring more attention to the deals, which in turn will make them more effective in bringing in new customers.
Citizen Toke gamifies its offers: A dispensary will send out a text blast to customers on Citizen Toke, and they have 60 seconds to save the deal, or they lose it. They then have until the end of the day to redeem the deal. Dispensaries can change the amount of time a deal is available to suit their needs.When signing up for Citizen Toke, users put in their ZIP code to get deals from dispensaries near them.
The sense of urgency draws more attention to using the platform and using the deals, Burke said. Because not every person who gets the deal will be able to claim it in time, dispensaries don’t have the pressure of having too many people coming in with coupons trying to claim their deal. With a limit on how offers can be redeemed, Burke said dispensaries only offer “amazing deals” on Citizen Toke.
“There is a lot of noise in the cannabis space for deals,” Burke said. “You recognize a dispensary you know or a product you know and look for a deal. Or maybe you’ll see something that catches your eye, and maybe you get it or not.”
That abundance of run-of-the-mill deals, Burke said, means that very rarely are they effective in bringing in new customers. But he said by simplifying the system — just a text service that people can opt into, with no app to download — and by only offering the best deals, Citizen Toke thinks it’s created a program that can bring people to a dispensary for the first time, and keep them coming back.
Citizen Toke is already being beta tested in Denver dispensaries, and now Boulder residents can try it out.
“We feel that Boulder and the people that live in Boulder are the right demographic for this type of thing,” Burke said. “There’s a mix of students and working class, as well as the connoisseur type. Boulder likes to be innovative and that culture is exactly what we’re looking for. Denver is the same way.”
People are encouraged to try the platform and provide feedback to Citizen Toke’s social media.
Within a year, Burke is hopeful Citizen Toke will be available outside of Colorado and that dispensaries who use it will be able to offer to an even wider audience.
“We’re running the beta platform to get users and dispensaries excited for what we are offering them,” Burke said. “It’s unique. I have not seen a gamified deal like this except for Groupon. We plan to expand to other states and expand our platform.”