Dispensary tips

Your 420 tech stack: mission-critical tools to keep sales flowing

April 7, 2022

In-store, your POS should stand for Point of Simplicity

Your 420 may not be smooth sailing if you’re riding on choppy waters. The boat that powers you should be sturdy and equipped to handle the storm, much like your point of sale (POS). If you manage a dispensary business, you’re already familiar with the operational challenges that may come your way—from tracking sales, to managing inventory, to staying compliant each step of the way. 

Avoid manual, repetitive work

Without a purposefully-built, industry-specific POS system in place, employees must do a lot of work manually. While human error can happen in any sales job, those in the cannabis industry can get reprimanded with expensive fines for regulation errors. Your POS system should save you time and stress, but also act as a failsafe for potential mistakes. 

Internet outages can happen, even during a cannabis holiday. That’s why your POS system should be able to process sales without an internet connection. Quality systems will continue to process orders and simply sync the data when the connection is restored. Your budtenders shouldn’t even notice a difference between offline and online mode.

A premium POS system saves you countless hours, enables staff to maximize sales, improves the customer experience, and helps you with record keeping and compliance. 

Cannabis is not one-size fits all

Because each state and the entire country of Canada operates differently, dispensary owners need a POS solution that enables process customization. Whether it’s analyzing sales, adding to security, or integrating with your existing tools, your POS should automate tasks and save you time, especially on 420. 

If you serve medical and recreational customers regularly, you may also want to take advantage of real-time allotment checks to prevent budtenders from mixing up the different sales limits for each customer type. Automated overselling warning can pop up directly in the register to warn your staff to recheck that order before submitting the purchase.

Integrated inventory can make it hands-off, even in the heat of the holiday

If there’s a day to clean out inventory, it’s April 20th. That’s why you need to ensure your inventory stays updated on every possible channel. Whether customers are purchasing online or in-store, when a product is gone it should be reflected on the online menu exactly when the last item is purchased. With real-time inventory on both your POS and ecommerce tools, you’ll never have to deal with a frustrated customer because you ran out of their favorite product. 

POS integrations enable dispensary owners to take advantage of powerful marketing tools. Discounts, loyalty programs, and ecommerce capabilities are quickly becoming the shopping norm in the cannabis industry. Dispensary owners need automatic inventory reconciliation to prevent stock outages.

Lower the wait times with a fast POS

Our data shows that reducing wait times by even just a few minutes lends itself to customer satisfaction. At this point, your staff has been trained, but it’s still important to use a tool that’s intuitive and follows a logical flow. Our new POS navigation makes features easier to view and use.

Since 420 tends to be an all-hands-on-deck event for dispensaries, automating the work of back-of-house managers can make them available to help with front-of-house needs. Your POS should offer automated traceability, meaning it should sync your sales data to your state’s seed-to-sale tracking system, minimizing manual inventory checks along the way. Without managers having to update product information individually, they have more time. On 420, make sure they use that time to speed things up on the sales floor.

If your POS isn’t fast or reliable, your store could be leaving revenue behind. There are creative ways to organize your sales floor in the interest of time. 

Use online tools to your advantage

Your ecommerce tool should offer tried and true order fulfillment options. Consider making a separate “fast lane” for customers picking up a pre-filled ecommerce order. Leverage in-store kiosks and allow seasoned customers to make their orders without the help of a budtender. Allow customers to pre-order their products for the next day with after-hours ordering, and prepare these pre-orders in the morning for speedy sales throughout the day. You could also consider allowing customers to schedule orders in advance for pickup and delivery, and set maximum order limits so your staff can easily manage order fulfillment. Utilize messaging services to help customers with order changes, product substitutes, or special instructions. 

The 4-2-0 on ecommerce: organize your digital shelves

You probably see strong sales when you put care into organizing products on your in-store shelves, and the same opportunity exists on your digital shelves. You can elevate your digital shelves with a few simple updates:

  • Increase the visibility of your 420 product deals by customizing their placement on your menus. Dutchie Ecommerce retailers can do this by creating custom homepage sections or by embedding homepage sections directly onto your store website.
  • Personalize the experience by creating a custom digital shelf for your staff’s favorite products. Having this stamp of approval will build trust in the product brand.
  • If you have an assigned online menu specialist at your store, ensure they are using high-quality images that show off products and their packaging to quickly attract customer attention.
  • Provide accurate potency information. Be sure to verify that the potencies for each product entered into your POS system are correct. Any adjustments will automatically sync with your online menu.
  • Prioritize your in-house or partner brands, and bring them to the top 3 most-clicked spots on the menu.
  • Add more product photos! You can now add up to 9 photos to each Product Detail page. Learn more about the advantages of doing this and how to create the image variety shoppers want here.

Delivery can be devastating if you don’t get it right—verify your 3rd-party integrations

You will need your tools to integrate with a software service like Onfleet, or another provider for last-mile tracking. The reason being, since cannabis still sits in a gray area of legality, state officials need to know where every package is going and when. Similarly, a lot of states will require you to print turn-by-turn directions to accompany your delivery manifests. Delivery manifests are online forms that track each sale from your POS to your state tracking system like METRC. In most states, not carrying the paperwork or having the customer sign it at the door makes the sale not compliant and a red flag to regulators. You also don’t want your driver getting pulled over without the proper paperwork. Other states track this digitally, so check your state’s compliance rules when creating a SOP (standard operating procedure).

Here are three examples of how the laws change across the US:

  1. In Arizona, only medical patients can receive deliveries. Recreational users must go into the physical store. Drivers will need to verify medical cards through both the original order mechanism (like an ecommerce solution) and again with their ID at the door.
  2. In Oregon, the recreational and medical markets vary drastically in purchasing limits. A recreational customer can only buy an ounce of flower per day, whereas medical patients can buy 8 ounces a day. Be sure the proper customer type is getting the proper package size—luckily ecommerce and POS solutions can include these parameters and keep your business safe.
  3. In Massachusetts, dispensaries can outsource to courier companies, but they need to pair two employees with every delivery and wear body cameras for visibility during the drop-off.

Take these security and compliance measures into account in each state, for each purchase. If you choose to run delivery on 420, you should consider organizing bulk orders with LeafLogix’s Enhanced Delivery feature. Enhanced or bulk delivery just means that a batch of multiple delivery orders is taken by the same driver, just along a longer route that dictates the order of each stop. This style of delivery makes the most geographical sense. If required in your state, the manifest will need to match. Delivery is available in almost every legal state, with the above nuances in mind, so understanding these rules is still worth your time when you think about the revenue potential.

Having the right tech is just one piece of the 420 puzzle

Professional, scalable POS technology is essential for smooth sailing on 420—but it doesn’t stop there. To get the most from every revenue opportunity, you’ll need a plan of action that addresses marketing strategy, promotions, staffing, in-store aesthetics, and more. In our Ultimate 420 Survival Guide for Cannabis Retailers, you’ll learn the key components for a successful day of retail sales, including:

  • Deals, discounts, and promotions: marketing strategies that build excitement and FOMO
  • The in-store experience: layouts and floor plans that keep customers happy, plus eye-catching merchandising
  • Staffing: how to communicate with, train, and support your team leading up to (and during) the big day
  • Post-holiday sales performance: how to review and analyze consumption trends and sales performance—and plan for next year.

Get the guide ->

Don’t let sluggish tech rain on your 420 parade

Your tech stack is the foundation of your retail operation. Having a single source of truth is the best way to handle any potential 420 madness. Your tools should sync quickly and accurately to reflect proper sales data. From in-store to online, Dutchie’s technology offers control when you want it and flexibility when you need it.

Book a demo ->

About the author
The Dutchie Squad