If you’re planning to enter the cannabis industry, here’s something you’ll need to focus on: Researching and implementing the best cannabis software solutions possible. Cutting-edge point-of-sale (POS) and register solutions are becoming a more common sight in the retail world, but they aren’t an optional upgrade for marijuana dispensaries. For dispensaries, this technology is absolutely a vital piece of equipment—as essential as your physical storefront and the products you fill it with.
If terms like “METRC” and “seed to sale” are new to you, today’s post will help you get oriented. A survey of some of the most popular and best cannabis software solutions, it’s designed to provide you with options, ideas, and a solid grounding in the implementation of these essential pieces of the cannabis industry puzzle.
How to Open a Dispensary: Tracking From Seed to Sale
These days, it’s rare—but not unheard of—to encounter an old-fashioned cash register in a café or boutique. In the cannabis world, which requires stringent tracking and tracing of products at every single touchpoint, that doesn’t fly. It’s functionally and legally mandatory to track sales accurately and closely.
Because the cannabis industry in the United States is still very much a state-by-state affair, there are a number of competing seed-to-sale and POS solutions. Here’s an introduction to a few of the most prominent options.
METRC: In the world of seed-to-sale tracking and compliance, METRC is an undisputed giant. METRC, in use by no fewer than 15 states—including California, the world’s largest legal cannabis market, is short for “Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance.” As such, METRC isn’t a POS system but an overarching end-to-end tracking solution that in turn interfaces with various POS platforms.
This raises an important point: Whichever POS you end up using, it will have to integrate seamlessly with your state-mandated tracking plan. Given its ubiquity, there’s a fair chance it’s METRC.
Flowhub: With a focus on POS, inventory management, ID verification, and dispensary analytics, Flowhub is another heavy hitter in the retail cannabis world. Though the company only began processing retail sales in 2016, it has risen to prominence quickly. By the end of 2021, high-profile partnerships with Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and others had brought the company’s valuation to over $200 million. If you’re shopping for a cannabis software solution, Flowhub will probably land among your considerations.
BioTrack: With an enviable position as the only vertical seed-to-sale cannabis software that’s fully integrated with METRC in every state that employs the platform, BioTrack is another comprehensive option, not only for retailers but for cultivators, processors, and other operators. If you’re operating in a vertically integrated environment, BioTrack is one of the strongest contenders in the field.
Leaf Logix: Another comprehensive seed-to-sale solution, Leaf Logix self-describes itself as the industry’s only native platform that services all cannabis business types. Able to serve cultivators, processors, distributors, and marijuana dispensaries with equal depth, Leaf Logix’s platform also provides accounting and financial support. Take note, as this is a potentially important factor given the challenges many cannabis businesses face when it comes to accessing basic financial services.
MJ Freeway: Like most of the platforms we’ve named here, MJ Freeway prides itself on providing legally-compliant software solutions for several types of cannabis businesses. In the case of MJ Freeway, this includes delivery—an important facet of the industry that’s only grown since the advent of COVID-19. With the capability to set schedules and draft delivery routes, MJ Freeway offers a powerful partner for cannabis businesses that are on the go.
How to Open a Dispensary: ECommerce Solutions
While POS solutions for in-person transactions are an essential part of the equation, there’s also the large (and growing) segment of e-commerce sales to consider. The following companies are among the leaders in this vital segment of the cannabis universe.
I Heart Jane: Described as a “fully integrated, turnkey” solution for e-commerce, I Heart Jane offers a flexible and intuitive platform for customers and retailers alike. As recent trends illustrate, the ability to support touchless or remote transactions is seen as a major upside for retailers looking to acquire and retain customers.
Dutchie: With a platform functionally similar to I Heart Jane’s, this Oregon-based software company offers easily scalable solutions designed to work within single-location, multi-state, or vertically integrated environments. Regardless of the setting, Dutchie’s interface remains sleek, intuitive, and flexible.
How to Open a Dispensary: Loyalty Counts
Earning (and retaining) customer loyalty is a big deal in retail, and nowhere more so than in the realm of marijuana dispensaries. Here are a couple of software platforms designed to help you manage and leverage this hugely important factor in setting up your business for success.
springbig: With a stated goal of helping cannabis dispensaries and brands stand out and gain traction, this provider of marketing software focuses on increasing retention, boosting sales, and building loyalty among cannabis consumers. This is no easy feat in a fast-moving and highly fluid industry, but springbig delivers. The springbig platform includes customer relationship management (CRM) software designed solely for the cannabis industry.
TokeIn: Another cannabis-specific CRM system, TokeIn offers retailers flexible tools such as customizable loyalty and rewards programs. Relying on lightweight and highly effective SMS marketing, among other tools, the platform allows clients to easily track and manage this vital point of contact with their customers.
How to Open a Dispensary: Moving Beyond Cash
For any customer-facing enterprise, this is where the rubber hits the road: Payment. While marijuana dispensaries have historically had few (if any) options beyond cash, that’s changing—slowly. Here are a couple of the leading options.
Cannapay: Given how underserved the cannabis industry remains when it comes to financial services, Cannapay’s breadth of services come as very welcome news. Offering everything from standard credit card payment options, branded reloadable cards and even armored car pickup for the cash payments still prevalent in the industry, this Washington-based company functions as something of a one-stop shop for cannabis retailers.
CanPay: This platform allows consumers to use their debit cards securely to make purchases. While late and overdraft fees have earned some former customers’ ire, CanPay still stands as one of the very few practical alternatives to cash transactions in the industry.
How to Open a Dispensary: In Conclusion
With the number and scope of software platforms for marijuana dispensaries only growing, we hope this survey of some of the leading options provides some clarity.
If you’re preparing to enter the cannabis industry, we’d like to offer something more: Expert guidance and counsel. Since 2009, Bridge West has helped more than 400 current cannabis business license holders all across the United States navigate the daunting array of rules, regulations, and pitfalls when applying for and securing a license. Reach out; we’d love to talk.