What is Dispensary POS Software?

Though marijuana is not yet legal in all states, the use of it or its products in some form is legal in 29 of them and Washington, D.C. This market is growing, and experts are predicting it will continue to do so. Worldwide, legal marijuana sales are an $18.1 billion-dollar industry. Although marijuana isn’t legal on the federal level yet, it is estimated that $14.4 billion of that comes from the United States – so it’s no surprise people are starting to see dispensaries pop up in their neighborhoods or cities. 

These dispensaries can carry a wide variety of products from medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, CBD products, vaping accessories, and more (depending on what is legal in each area). But what good is having a dispensary if you can’t purchase without cash – and for merchants, if they can’t accept payments other than cash? Only accepting cash can limit your income potential and limit your potential clients, as online shopping won’t be an option. It can also make keeping sales records difficult and time-consuming. That’s why dispensary it’s so important to invest in POS software.

Though POS systems are essential for every type of business, from restaurants to clothing retailers, dispensaries need specialized systems designed with their unique business needs and challenges in mind.

What is a POS?

POS is a term thrown around frequently, but business owners may not fully know what it is or stands for. POS stands for point of sale. It refers to the way customers make a payment for goods or services received from a store. Depending on the software you’ve chosen, sales can be made in the physical store, online, or even out on the floor using a tablet or smartphone.

Most POS systems come with two components:

  1. POS hardware, which involves the computing device used to make sales, such as a barcode scanner, debit card reader, printer for recipes and invoices, and cash register.
  2. POS software, which includes the system used to store information, calculate sales, process the sale, and even manage inventory and customer profiles.

The specifics on the exact hardware you choose for your company are personal and depend on the type of business you have and the way you do business in general. When choosing a POS system, you’ll need to consider all the options a company offers to decide if it meets your needs.

Dispensary POS Software is Unique

Dispensaries have a whole host of regulations they must comply with. For example, each state has its own unique regulations, which creates challenges for marijuana dispensaries that other retailers don’t have to face. That’s why choosing a POS system that has been developed specifically with the cannabis industry in mind is essential. Though you could probably use a general POS system, it won’t make your job any easier, and you’ll likely wish you found a dispensary POS system at some point.

Most dispensary POS software providers have benefits that are created specifically with cannabis companies in mind. For example, they’ll have compliance measures in place for taking payments and even helping report information as required (we’ll have more on that later).

Why You Need Dispensary POS Software for Your Cannabis Store

As you weigh the possibility of using cash or a non-dispensary-specific POS system, consider these reasons for going with a dispensary POS software system:

  • You’ll increase your revenue. Did you know the average debit card transaction is 60 to 70 percent more than a cash transaction at cannabis stores? That’s a significant increase and does a lot to improve your bottom line. You don’t want your sales to be limited by not offering the ability to pay with a card.
  • You can meet people where they are. When using a POS system, you often have the option to set your system up on a mobile phone or tablet. This gives your employees the ability to make sales wherever your customer is, making the process easier and faster. You’ve likely seen this model at many different types of retailers, but it is especially common in electronics and appliance stores. Wouldn’t it be great if your budtenders could meet customers where they are, answer questions, make recommendations, and complete the sale all in one place?
  • Many dispensary POS systems, like ours, allow you to create customer profiles. This makes it easy to track their purchase history, make recommendations, and keep in touch. With a customer profile, your team will be able to answer the dreaded question, “What strain did I buy last time? I really liked it.” Simply pull up their customer record on the fly and look back at their recent transactions.
  • It’s easier to manage your inventory. If your new CBD oil is flying off the shelf, your POS system can help notify you that you are running low and need to order more. Since the system can keep track of what has sold, you won’t need to constantly check the back to see if you are running out.
  • A dispensary POS system helps you stay compliant. As we mentioned earlier, dispensaries have a lot of regulations they have to follow. This includes submitting the appropriate amount of sales tax and even submitting reports to authorities about your sales and inventory. Can you imagine looking back through paper records and boxes yourself? A dispensary POS system can help you keep track of sales, prepare and submit compliance reports, and submit any other information your state requests. Keeping your license to operate is important, and a POS system created for dispensaries can help make it much easier to stay compliant and keep your license. Some states require daily reports, and a system set up to help can be a life-saver.

How to Choose a Dispensary POS System?

When it comes to choosing a dispensary POS system, you do have options. There are a few different companies that offer POS systems tailored for businesses in the marijuana industry. But, what should you look for, and how do you know if you’ve found the right one for you? Follow these steps to help you find the right system for your business.

  1. Write down your needs. Before you even start looking for a POS system, you need to think about what you want it to be able to do. Make a list of your wants before you even start. For example, do you want it to help you manage a loyalty program? Do you want to be able to accept payments on a register, a tablet, or both? Making a list of needs before you search will help you ensure you get precisely what you want. Don’t plan to do this in one day, though. Keep a pen and paper handy and jot down what systems you use now or what you wish you had throughout a week or month.
  2. What’s your budget? How much can you afford to spend on the initial setup and any fees that are required to run the system throughout the year? Knowing what you can comfortably spend can help you narrow down your list or help a provider you like to tailor a plan to fit your budget. On this same note, do they require a contract? If so, how long is it? You’ll need this information as you plan out your budget for the coming year(s).  
  3. Ask for a demonstration before you buy. If you’ve found a few potential dispensary POS providers, ask to see a demo and try their systems out. You want to make sure it is easy for you and your employees to use. This is also a good chance to see how easy the features they offer are to use. Do they have a testing period? If possible, have a few people in your store try it. The way you use your system won’t be the same as your employees. They may notice things you would not that can affect their ability to do their jobs properly and efficiently.
  4. Does it integrate with third-party software? Though most dispensary POS systems, like ours, offer a suite of features to help manage inventory, run reports, and more, there may be some things you need another system to handle. The ability for them to work together so you can do most everything in one system is crucial to streamlining your business. Many POS providers have partnerships to make this possible. Or, you may find that they offer everything you need, allowing you to keep all your business tools in one system.
  5. What support do they offer? Though technology is great and we rely on it heavily, things can and do sometimes go wrong. When something is glitching or not working correctly, will you be able to get ahold of them? Or, will they only be available for a few hours each day? Ask about the support services they offer, how you can get ahold of them, and when their support center is available for you to contact. Few things are more frustrating than when your system stops working = in the middle of a Saturday rush. But contacting your support provider only to find them closed can make this frustration even worse.

By taking the time to decide what you need before you start searching for a dispensary POS provider, you can ensure you find the right fit for you. As you come up with your list of potential providers, test out their systems and do some research to make sure they fit your business needs.

Let POSaBIT Help!

We hope you’ll start your search for a dispensary POS software provider with POSaBit. We have a whole suite of features that will benefit you and your company.

We understand compliance is key when it comes to running a dispensary. We are the only fully compliant provider of debit payments for cannabis retailers and are registered Money Services Business (MSB). We also have our Money Transmitted Licenses (MTLs) in every state. When you use POSaBit for your payment processing, you can feel confident your payments are being processed correctly and legally.

Part of staying compliant has to do with paperwork and submitting information and reports regularly. This can be a challenge to do on your own. Our management dashboard can help make this task easier and ensure your dispensary remains compliant with your state’s regulations.

At POSaBit, we also offer many software features to meet your needs and improve your customer’s experience. Let us help make online ordering happen for you (a must as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic). We also can help you manage your customer loyalty program, = customer account information, and so much more.

To learn more about what we have to offer your cannabis dispensary, schedule a demo or contact us.

Final Thoughts

Running a dispensary comes with unique challenges that many other industries don’t have to face. That’s why most POS software systems won’t work for your cannabis business.

Because having the ability to process debit cards is essential in owning a business today, you should look for a dispensary POS software system. This is simply a POS system that has been designed with the cannabis business in mind.

Though dispensary POS software will offer some of the same features as traditional POS systems, most offer some benefits that set them apart. For example, dispensary POS software should have programs set up to help you stay in compliance, whether that be with accepting payments for marijuana products or making it easy for you to send reports and information to the authorities as required.

As you look for the best dispensary POS software for your business, take time to first think about what you want and what you can afford to pay. Then, do your research and try out your top picks. If possible, involve others in the testing process to ensure the system is usable for everyone.

Once your dispensary POS software is set up, you can enjoy the many benefits it has to offer your store.