February 17, 2023

Switching Cannabis POS Systems: A Guide for Dispensaries

By
Lindsay Crafford
February 17, 2023

Breakups are never easy. But when it comes to cannabis point of sale systems, sometimes they’re necessary.

For many dispensaries, the POS they originally fell in love with eventually begins to lose its luster. Things have started slowing down, the interface looks outdated, and customer support is inconsistent (at best).

Put bluntly, the honeymoon phase is over.

If this sounds a little familiar, it might mean that you’ve outgrown your cannabis POS system. And that’s okay! Not every relationship is meant to last forever, and you might be ready for bigger and better things.

But before you start contacting providers for demos, there are a few things to know about switching POS systems. From getting out of your current contract to migrating your menu, there are some important steps involved in getting set up with a new cannabis POS system.

We’re here to make the transition a little smoother by covering everything you need to know about switching POS providers, including 8 red flags it might be time to switch, and how to actually make the transition.

First thing's first.

Is it time for you to switch up your cannabis POS? 8 red flags

1. It doesn't sync product data to your Ecommerce menu

As a cannabis retailer, how much are you focused on cannabis education?

It goes without saying that budtenders need to be proficient in the properties of the plant—but more importantly, consumers want to know what they're signing up for when they purchase cannabis. A well-rounded understanding of the products you're selling (and their effects) leads to more informed purchase decisions and a better shopping experience.

As such, it's critical that your cannabis POS system and Ecommerce solution "talk" to each other. Inaccurate or incomplete product profiles can cause consumers to be hesitant to purchase new products or brands. Even worse, it might convince shoppers to not return to your dispensary at all. No retailer wants that!

Highlighting terpenes, cannabinoids, and strain types on your ecommerce menus demonstrates to your customers that you're a trustworthy source of information.

Did you know? Dutchie POS stores batch test data at the inventory level, transferring and displaying accurate THC levels, and terpene and cannabinoid profiles on your ecommerce menu. And unlike other POS providers, our real-time integration with Metrc increases operational stability, provides peace of mind, and helps maintain compliance by automatically reporting actions directly to Metrc.

2. It's difficult to use and maintain

Cannabis POS systems vary in complexity. While it’s good to have a POS that can help you complete more advanced tasks, if it’s too difficult or time consuming to complete transactions, run reports, or audit inventory, it’s not going to be a great fit.

A user-friendly POS ensures your team is spending their time helping customers—not learning the ins and outs of a complicated tech investment. Plus, when your budtenders feel comfortable using a tool as important as your POS, productivity skyrockets.

If you’re looking to switch from your current POS, ask your team what they like (or rather dislike) about it. What are their primary frustrations around using the software and hardware? Is the software confusing? Are there too many dongles? Does everything look and feel just a bit outdated? Your budtenders are your primary brand ambassadors, so give them tools they’ll look forward to using every day.

3. The support resources are lacking

You could have the most perfect POS with endless potential, but if no one is available to teach you how to use it—or deal with problems as they arise—all you’ve really done is add extra work to your plate.

Your POS partner should offer comprehensive support to get the most out of your system, like onboarding, product training, guides, and, most importantly, 24/7 support. Fast, reliable support lets you take full advantage of your POS’s capabilities, which ultimately drives better business results.

4. It's not scalable

Cannabis compliance regulations are constantly in flux—which means your system should be flexible enough to adapt to new situations. And in 2023, having a POS that integrates seamlessly with other tools like ecommerce and payments is essential.

If your current system can’t seamlessly integrate with the other platforms you use for your business, it can slow down your operations significantly.

If flexibility is a key issue, consider a comprehensive cannabis retail management platform like Dutchie. With Dutchie, you can configure your cannabis POS system to suit your business’s unique needs, and add on other functions or integrations as you grow.

5. It doesn’t capture relevant business insights

It’s no secret that data helps you make more impactful decisions.

A cannabis POS with robust built-in data collection capabilities will not only give you visibility over your dispensary’s sales performance, but also help you communicate more effectively with customers, get visibility over your team’s performance, and identify opportunities for continued growth.

6. It has poor inventory management capabilities

Here's a scary thought: research suggests that between 70 and 90% of stockouts are caused by poor inventory management practices. What’s worse, studies have shown that retailers can lose up to 43% of their customers to a competitor because they didn’t have an item in stock.

Poor inventory management strategies can lead to expensive (and complicated) problems. And if you fail to manage your inventory adequately, these problems can go completely unnoticed—until regulators start auditing your retail license. If that happens, it may result in fines, license revocation, and even criminal proceedings.

A cannabis POS with robust inventory management capabilities also helps you forecast what you’ll need and keep shelves stocked—virtually and in-store—with products that shoppers actually want. By spending resources on inventory that you know will sell, you’re simultaneously boosting your store’s revenue potential and keeping customers happy.

7. It can’t support your delivery operations

Cannabis delivery increased by 25% during the height of the pandemic in 2020. Since then, Cowen and Company revealed a prediction of legal cannabis sale increases of 20-30% each year starting in 2022—with the likelihood of surpassing $50 billion in sales by 2026.

Cannabis sales are only legal when tracked, so tracing and reporting each driver is key to running a successful delivery operation. If you offer delivery services, the right POS should guarantee you’re in compliance with state regulations.

Bulk delivery is the most popular delivery method in most states, so look for a cannabis POS that enables multi-stop deliveries. You’ll want to be able to easily plan routes, print multiple manifests, and assign multiple orders to a single drivers.

8. It doesn’t include integrated payments

Consumers don’t want to have to jump through hoops to have to buy their favorite cannabis products, so providing a modern retail experience is a crucial competitive advantage in the cannabis industry.

Leveraging cashless payments allow dispensaries and their customers to escape the cash trap while improving sales volume and reducing the risks associated with operating an all-cash business. By offering a more convenient, cash-free way to pay, you’re opening your dispensary up to more customers and bigger basket sizes.

Our data shows that dispensaries that accept cashless payments see an average increase of 25% in average order values, so search for a POS that accepts PIN debit or has its own built-in digital payments solution (or both!)

How to switch cannabis POS systems

If some of those warning signs sound uncomfortably familiar, it’s time to switch up your cannabis POS provider. The good news? If you’re switching from one modern POS system to another, the transition should be relatively seamless, with just six steps.

1. Migrate your menu

If you’re already using a cloud-based POS, migrating your menu will be pretty simple. Depending on the type of system you’re currently using, your new provider may be able to go in and extract all your menu information—you won’t have to lift a finger.

Even if your new provider is unable to go in and retrieve your information for you, your current provider should be able to export your data. This data can then be migrated to your new platform, and your menu can be set up with little hassle.

2. Check the compatibility of your cannabis payment processor

Following your menu migration, the next step is finding out whether your current cannabis payment processor integrates with your new POS system. In a best case scenario, your new POS provider will offer integrated payments like PIN debit and ACH banking.

3. Connect third-party integrations

If you currently use a cloud POS system, you may already have third-party app integrations setup for ecommerce, delivery, loyalty programs, and marketing automation. You’ll need to check with your new provider to see if these integrations are supported directly or look at new integrations partners with the same or similar functionalities.

4. Order new hardware (or configure your existing hardware)

The equipment that you need varies depending on your store set up. Some retailers require several devices, including payment terminals, cash drawers, barcode scanners and receipt printers. For others, having an iPad and a payment terminal is enough.

The exact steps for setting up your retail equipment depends on the specific device, so consult with your provider to figure out the right way to go.

Generally speaking though, setting up equipment like payment terminals involves:

  • Switching on the device
  • Connecting it to your Wi-Fi network
  • Pairing it to your POS system

5. Organize training

If you already have iPads or other tablets set up in your dispensary, training can start right away.Just upload your new software and set aside time at your dispensary to let budtenders and other staff get familiar with it. Provide them with resources—like webinars or training videos—or talk to your new POS provider about remote or in-store training options.

If you already have a cloud-based POS, training should be fairly straightforward and familiar for most budtenders.

6. Install your new POS system

With training complete, installation is the final step. Once everything is in place, you can go live with your new cannabis POS system without ever interrupting the customer experience.

The bottom line

Change is scary. But when it comes to switching cannabis point of sale systems, it’s almost always worth making the leap. Not only will you save yourself and your budtenders from countless headaches, you’ll also give your dispensary the competitive edge of a new—and integrated—tech stack.

About Dutchie

Dutchie is an all-in-one technology platform powering the cannabis industry with Point of Sale, Ecommerce, Payments, and Insurance. Through our technology, we’re helping cannabis businesses start, operate, and grow with confidence. With software that simplifies their operations, our customers can focus on what matters most—bringing the benefits of cannabis safely to consumers.

Request a demo today!

About the author
Lindsay Crafford
Sr. Content Marketing Manager, Dutchie