May 21st, 2018
One of the most crucial components of a successful retail cannabis business is the point of sale (POS) system. You need to manage inventory, money, and employees -- all while staying compliant with the rules and regulations of your particular state. The days of carbon paper invoices are long gone, so get used to the idea of shelling out some startup funds to do this part right.
Ask three high-level questions to start your POS research.
Question #1: Is this POS system user-friendly?
True story -- I was once at a trade show where the salesperson could barely walk me through their own demo, because it was so confusing. There were just stacks of buttons everywhere, and no logic to a transaction. This was a major brand! (Needless to say, I didn’t go with that one.)
Choose a POS that’s intuitively designed and easy to set up and operate. You might think user interfaces differ in style alone, but that’s not the case. A poorly designed POS that your budtenders can’t learn quickly is going to cost you a lot of money in the long run!
Life is too short to train all your new hires and then re-train them again and again. Think about it -- they’ll be happier and more confident if the register they spend most of their time in is relatively simple to master.
Don't ever skip the demo phase. Ask your salesperson to walk you through several different customer scenarios and see if they can a) do it or b) figure out how to do it quickly and easily.
Question #2: Will this POS provide the reporting I need in the back office?
Any system needs to process your sales in a reliable, stable, and compliant manner. These are the basics, and you should demand them from any POS provider. After that, you’re getting into more subjective territory. Start asking yourself and the POS salesperson some questions about your expected workflow as a dispensary owner or manager.
- Are there enough reports provided and/or an easy way to customize them?
- Conversely, am I okay with paying for bells and whistles I won’t use?
- Are the software developers responsive -- do they integrate feedback requests from customers in new releases?
- What is the process for requesting new features from the POS company?
- Does this POS integrate with other systems if I need it to?
- Can I log in and manage it remotely?
- How accessible is support if I need it?
Question #3: Does this POS create a positive customer experience and return business?
Walk through your customer’s path to purchasing and imagine them doing it in your store. You want a smooth, frictionless transaction and easy troubleshooting for any hiccups that may occur in the middle of one (think power outages).
What is the loyalty program, if any? Find out -- it can bring customers back to you more regularly. It’s also a definite bonus if you have customer purchasing history at your fingertips during the sale. Your budtenders will be empowered to customize the experience, and can upsell with a much greater likelihood of results.
Properly implemented, a good cannabis POS system can help
- you save a significant amount of time and hassle
- your staff maximize their sales
- improve your customer experience
- assist you with record keeping and compliance issues
Shopping for a POS is also an opportunity to take advantage of innovations that could give your profits a serious boost. A good POS system doesn't just streamline the buying process and provide a digital trail -- it guides your staff in smart upselling and rewards loyal customers to bring them back often.