Best Cannabis Technology Solutions for Dispensaries
The updated list of the best cannabis industry software and cannabis tech companies
Over the last few years, the cannabis industry has been growing steadily - a report by Grand View Research states that the global legal marijuana market size was valued at USD 9.1 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.7% from 2021 to 2028.
While that highlights business opportunities for dispensaries, it also creates the added pressure of being able to deliver seamless customer experiences and manage business operations efficiently to meet demand.
That's where cannabis technology comes in.
In the last decade, cannabis technology has served manufacturers to better harvest, guarantee quality, and helped businesses to adhere to the cannabis industry's compliance.
Today, cannabis technology has forayed into different areas of the industry, thus helping farmers and cannabis dispensary owners to run their operations smoothly.
But with so many technologies around, it can quickly get overwhelming for cannabis dispensaries to choose the right solutions.
In this article, we aim to help you understand what cannabis technology is and the must-haves you need to get in place to run your business smoothly.
What is cannabis technology for dispensaries?
Cannabis buyers expect an easy shopping experience, whether online or in-store, at dispensaries. But how can you create a smooth shopping experience for your customers?
Cannatech, or the cannabis technology space, has bloomed in recent years. Take a look at the tech stack available in the space from the February 2022 issue of Marijuana Venture magazine:
But do you need everything you see in the cannabis technology stack above? We think not.
So in this article, we are sharing some of the key areas in which having a cannabis technology solution will only add to your dispensary business growth.
Best cannabis technology solutions for dispensaries
The following list of cannabis technology solutions covers a varied spectrum of functions that a dispensary needs to look into:
1. Point of sale (POS)
A cannabis POS solution like Treez does more than enable smooth transactions at the point of sale. Its features can help you manage customer details, update inventory, connect with your state track and trace system, and help you adhere to all the compliances.
It also comes with advanced features like multi-store management and analytics that help you track the performance of different dispensary locations and budtenders and identify consumer preferences.
Like any other product, buyers increasingly choose to buy cannabis online. Dispensary ecommerce should include online menus, an online ordering facility, and a delivery service.
Some key features of dispensary e-commerce are — letting you upload high-quality product images, real-time inventory sync, accurate product information, SEO-optimized menus, prescheduled specials and deals, convenience for customers, and good search sort and filter options. Some popular ecommerce options are Leafly, Dispense, and Weedmaps.
3. Cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution
If you are vertically integrated in cultivating and manufacturing cannabis, you’ll need a comprehensive tool for growers, cultivators, extractors, testers, and distributors. These include ERP and seed to scale solutions.
Some of the key features for this category of cannabis technology are that it should be able to integrate with hardware like scanners and scales, streamline full-scale operations, log cannabis seeds, plants, and packages, track the plants across different stages, etc.
Some of the cannabis technology solutions we recommend in this category include Canix and Distru.
4. HR and payroll
To run a cannabis dispensary well, you can't manage everything alone. You need to hire people who can conduct specific tasks. And for this, you must pay them, offer benefits, and pay taxes.
Investing in HR and payroll software is an excellent idea to have everything systematized. Look for the following features while selecting HR and payroll tools - payroll management, time off requests, timekeeping requests, employee scheduling, and tax compliances. Some popular HR and payroll tools are Gusto, Greenhouse, Wurk, and SparkPlug.
5. Security system
Having strong security is a must not just to safeguard your cannabis dispensary business but also to adhere to the compliance guideline that is a mandate in many states.
Key dispensary features to look for - monitors building interior and exterior, manages a log for review, protects employees and customers, has an easy notification feature, keeps your business compliant, and prevents theft or malicious intent.
Some of the leading names in providing cannabis dispensary security systems are Solink, Sapphire Risk and Cure8.
Any business must have an accounting tool that helps you with all the capital assets in the company. The cannabis dispensary business is no different.
Accounting software for cannabis dispensaries can help you track your expenses, track outstanding invoices, pay bills on time, and create P&L balance sheets without relying too much on spreadsheets that may get difficult to manage as your business grows.
Some of the tools that can help cannabis dispensaries with accounting include Intuit Quickbooks, Sage Intacct, Xero, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central / GP (Great Plains), Acumatica, Odoo and Freshbooks.
7. State reporting
Many states have a mandatory traceability requirement that you must produce to stay compliant. So invest in a cannabis POS like Treez that seamlessly integrates with the state’s track-and-trace system and keeps your records up-to-date.
Today, the most popular traceability platform solutions being used are Metrc and Biotrack.
As purchasing cannabis online is gaining popularity, you need to explore various payment options that are safe and secure for your customers to use. When choosing payment methods, look for solutions that integrate easily with your cannabis POS or are offered by the POS. For example, Treez enables cannabis dispensaries to provide debit card payments and ACH.
9. Loyalty and CRM
A customer relationship management tool helps you identify your customers and communicate with them to boost brand loyalty. However, a CRM is not mandatory unless you run a fast-scaling business with different departments.
A cannabis POS solution like Treez helps you easily manage customer data, giving you the information you need to upsell and cross-sell your dispensary products at the point of sale.
Some other tools we recommend for loyalty and CRM functions include Alpine IQ and Springbig.
Digital menus and kiosks
Digital menus and kiosks help improve the customer experience. With a digital menu and kiosk, you can showcase your current product inventory, the hero products, and highlight offers. Digital kiosks can be used either for educating customers or can be completely transactional in nature.
Some tools to consider for cannabis dispensaries to set up digital menus and kiosks include Peak Beyond, Seed, and Divvy.
- Your cannabis POS is a hub for data. But to grow your brand exponentially, you should leverage that data and invest in a comprehensive data analysis tool. With solutions like Treez, you can also gain a deep insight into your individual stores’ profits and budtenders’ selling stats and your discounting strategy’s performance
Some of the other cannabis dispensary analytics tools include Headset, BDSA and Happy Cabbage Analytics.
- Online presence
One of the best ways to grow the online presence of your business is by investing in different channels like mobile apps, social media channels, and websites. However, many states restrict how you promote your cannabis dispensary online, so refer to your state's requirements before spending on an online presence. A cannabis POS solution like Treez helps you with omnichannel selling.
The last part of the cannabis technology that a dispensary needs to look into is the final step of logistics - delivery of products to the end-consumer. Working with individual carrier partners can increase the manual work of coordination between the dispensary and the consumer, and also risk packages either getting lost in transit or not arriving in a timely manner. This is where technology can not just help find the right logistics partner, but also give you and the consumer an ability to track orders in real-time.
One of the best delivery technology solution providers for cannabis dispensaries is OnFleet.
Best practices to follow when building your cannabis technology stack
Now that you have a fair idea of how your cannabis technology stack should look, let’s understand the best practices to follow while choosing the tools:
- Make an informed decision
Buying software is a lifetime investment. So evaluate your needs, the challenges you want to solve, and what will be the best option for your stakeholders before making a purchase decision.
- Customer support is important
To make the most of the cannabis technology you invest in, you may need some additional support to set things up. Do they have 24/7 support on call? How long do they take to address any concerns? What are the different ways to reach out to the customer support? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you make a better decision.
- Take time to evaluate
Don't jump in and sign a vendor just because someone said so. Take your time to evaluate the vendor. Check their presence on social media and what your peers are saying about them, read the fine print, and take multiple demos to make an informed decision.
- Choose cannabis-specific vendors
Remember, you must stay compliant while improving your business operations and workflow. So, choose a cannabis technology solution that continually updates its infrastructure per the industry and state compliances.
- Check for integrations
Pick tools that can be integrated easily with your existing tech stack. You can save time and resources and reduce manual interventions and errors while moving data between departments.
- Pay only for what you use
There are hundreds of tools out there, and probably not all are useful to your cannabis dispensary. So focus on buying only those tools that are needed for your business. And then streamline your use to get the most out of your investment.
- Involve your employees
No matter how promising a cannabis technology solution looks, your employees are the ones who will use those tools. So ask them what tools they need to do their job more efficiently and effectively. Involve them in the decision-making process to see a better tech adoption in the team.
- Be mindful of ‘all in one’ tool
To level up your cannabis technology stack, you need tech vendors with robust integrations and not just an ‘all in one’ model. While investing in one tool may look like a good idea, we recommend choosing solutions based on their best capabilities.
Having the right set of cannabis technology solutions is no longer just a good to have. Dispensaries need to proactively identify their business needs and consumer preferences and build their functions to deliver seamless customer experiences with the help of technology.
With cannabis technology solutions like Treez, you can streamline your point of sale, customer data, business analytics, and multi-store management and find avenues to grow your business.
Book a demo to learn how to incorporate Treez into your tech stack.