You've sorted out all your compliance issues, got a good supplier, and hired reliable staff for your store. Your cannabis dispensary looks all set up. You might even be ready to pop a bottle of champagne to celebrate your new venture. But do you have a cannabis dispensary POS system in place?
In this business, a regular point of sale system just won't cut it. Well, it might help you complete transactions, process payments, and even manage inventory. But that's not enough.
If you want a more efficient sales process and no legal and financial hurdles down the road, then you should probably get a cannabis-specific POS system. We'll keep you in the loop about what it can do for business. But first, it’s important that you know what a dispensary POS system is.
What is a Cannabis Dispensary POS System?
Dispensary owners and other cannabis retailers use a cannabis-specific point of sale system (POS) to streamline their business operations at the point of sale. It's a vital component of any cannabis dispensary as it helps manage sales, inventory, and customers - all at the same time.
Having an all-inclusive POS system in your dispensary can help you improve your customers' experience tremendously. You can also leverage the abundance of tools and customer data in this device to make more informed business decisions.
Benefits of Using a Cannabis POS System
Now let’s dive into the benefits of using a dispensary POS system for your business.
1. Stay legally compliant
One of the biggest hurdles of running a cannabis dispensary is staying compliant with state laws. Noncompliance can cause you to lose your business license. Or worse, you could end up serving jail time. You wouldn't want your dream business to go up in smoke, would you?
Compliance requirements vary from state to state. But having a reliable cannabis-specific POS system can help you stay compliant with regulations, regardless of where you live.
Depending on your state, you're required to report your sales numbers daily, weekly, or monthly. So you can imagine how hectic it is to gather all your receipts for that period, then add them together. This process is not only tedious, but you might also make a mistake that might be interpreted as noncompliance.
A dispensary POS can handle all the reporting for you. This saves time and eliminates the chance of human error.
2. Track your inventory
Running a cannabis dispensary is quite hectic. First off, you sell multiple products that need to be weighed and packaged accurately. Then there's the issue of inventory tracking. Many states require that dispensary owners track their inventory from seed to sale. This can be a hectic and time-consuming process.
But with a reliable dispensary POS system, you can track your inventory seamlessly. This enables you to order new products as required and adapt to the changing market preferences on a whim. You also get to free up some cash that would have otherwise been tied up in slow-moving products.
Cannabis-specific POS systems come equipped with high-tech features. These include:
- Accurate inventory reflection -shows real-time inventory value
- Automated inventory reconciliation systems - helps reduce stock discrepancies.
3. Give your customers the experience they deserve
The majority of customers — up to 86% — are willing to pay more if it means getting a better customer experience. Cannabis dispensary POS systems help you offer improved customer experiences by streamlining transaction processes. This comes in handy in an industry with so many banking restrictions.
Cannabis POS systems also come embedded with tons of other useful features. These include queue management systems and accurate product information databases. They enable your budtenders to offer valuable product insights to customers.
A better customer experience means that you'll get more returning customers. So it's totally worth investing in one of these systems.
4. Create a detailed customer database
A cannabis dispensary POS system uses big data to collect and analyze vital customer information. With all your customers' buying habits at your fingertips, you get to know more about their product preferences and interests. This makes it easier for you to stock up your shelves with the right inventory.
You can also integrate data from your cannabis dispensary POS to a CRM platform to help you create custom newsletters, loyalty programs, and other outreach campaigns. This translates to better customer relationships.
5. Gain strategic insights
As stated above, cannabis POS systems can put a lot of valuable information in your hands. First, you gain insights into which of your products are doing well and which ones are underperforming. Secondly, you get to notice various staffing issues that often go unrecognized. You can then solve these problems before they erupt into damaging issues.
And lastly, a good cannabis dispensary POS can help you track sales, inventory, and any other piece of relevant data that can be useful to your business. When you track and follow this data, you are better positioned to make more informed decisions and develop effective strategies to grow your business.
6. Enjoy business stability
Have you ever worked somewhere where systems go down regularly, leaving you no option but to wait until they are restored? That sucks, right? As a cannabis dispensary owner, this is even more frustrating and can be damaging to your business. You need a system that will track and retain all your sales information and handle large amounts of sales traffic.
Cannabis dispensary POS systems are perfectly tailored to handle high amounts of sales transactions and store bulk data without any downtime. This brings some stability into your business. You also get peace of mind knowing that your systems will remain active, even at busy times.
7. Do digital marketing campaigns
Aside from helping you run your cannabis business seamlessly, some dispensary POS systems also come equipped with useful marketing tools. These include targeted SMS notifications and email marketing. You can use these tools to market new products and promotions. These digital marketing campaigns can help grow your profits tremendously while improving your relationship with customers.
8. Manage multiple stores
If you own and operate multiple dispensaries, you know how challenging it is to keep track of operations. Luckily, a cannabis dispensary POS system can help you solve many of the issues associated with managing a multi-location cannabis business.
The system allows you to add inventory, analyze metrics, track expenses, and manage staff in multiple stores. A dispensary POS helps save time and money that could be channeled into hiring more staff.
9. Facilitate faster sales
Nobody likes to spend an eternity waiting in line to be served. The more you keep your customers waiting, the more frustrated they'll be and the greater their chances of leaving.
But, with a cannabis dispensary POS, you can significantly reduce waiting time for customers and increase your business’ sales. By creating a faster and more satisfactory sales experience, you'll make your customers happy, increasing their chances of coming back again.
10. Create powerful loyalty programs
When your cannabis business is young, all you want to do is get customers. But, once you get them, a new challenge pops up: keeping them attracted to your brand. So, what's the best way to do it? The answer lies in loyalty programs.
Loyalty programs go a long way in turning first-time shoppers into frequent customers. Dispensary POS systems come equipped with loyalty program systems that keep track of your customers' buying habits and award them points and member-specific discounts.
As a bonus, you get to learn each customer's preferences. This gives you insights into what to market to them in the future.
Features to Look for When Buying a Dispensary POS System
Compliance is a major issue surrounding cannabis dispensaries in the US. If a dispensary wants to retain its legitimacy, it must accurately report every transaction to the regulatory bodies.
Depending on where your dispensary is located, you will be required to report your daily, weekly, or monthly transactions. The information reported includes everything from inventory, product data, customer data, and package information.
Law enforcement agencies use this data to detect any irregularities that might signal illegal marijuana activity. If any significant irregularities are detected, the authorities could examine your business further. And, if found culpable, you might incur heavy fines or suffer from business closure.
You can do your compliance reports manually, but you'd have to contend with the possibility of human error. To ensure the accuracy of your compliance reports, you should get a cannabis dispensary POS system with a controlled API push that reports each transaction accurately upon completion.
Despite its legality across numerous states in the US, cannabis banking remains illegal at the federal level. Currently, the federal government has not yet issued a Merchant Category Code (MCC) for cannabis dispensaries, so the available modes of cashless transactions are a bit limited.
When buying a cannabis dispensary POS, you should ensure that it is compatible with numerous payment solution providers for added convenience. This also ensures that your dispensary remains compliant with state-mandated cannabis sale rules.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping was more of a luxury than a necessity. But, due to the lengthy curfews and quarantine periods put in place, e-commerce became the backbone of many industries. This includes cannabis retail.
Cannabis POS system providers have different approaches when it comes to online ordering. Some work with third-party e-commerce providers, while others offer online shopping as part of their service offering.
Due to the rising popularity of online cannabis purchases, cannabis dispensaries must use a POS system that operates synchronously with different ordering platforms. The dispensary POS system should also be able to keep track of inventory and sales in the process.
Loyalty programs are effective in boosting customer retention, especially in the cannabis business. As more states legalize cannabis, the number of cannabis dispensaries across the country will continue to increase. In the same measure, the price of cannabis might also decrease. The resulting effect will be a substantial increase in competition among cannabis dispensaries.
But one thing is for sure: customers love discounts. For this reason, they will strive to spend more to earn bigger discounts. So, the next time you're out shopping for a cannabis dispensary POS system, make sure that it can help you create loyalty programs.
A good cannabis POS should also be able to help with sending customized promotional messages to customers. This boosts the efficiency of your customer loyalty program.
Inventory management is a hectic process for any business, and the cannabis industry isn't an exception. Keeping track of all the inventory can be pretty daunting. Even the most experienced retailers still struggle with this process.
Since most cannabis sales are made online, your dispensary POS system must track what's in stock and what's not. You wouldn't want to disappoint your customers by failing to fulfill their orders.
The best cannabis POS systems come equipped with an inventory scanner that enables you to add inventory statements effortlessly. These systems can also automatically adjust inventory value and make compliance reports after every sale.
Your cannabis dispensary POS system must have the ability to integrate seamlessly with seed-to-sale tracking systems required by your state. It should also integrate with payroll, accounting, and any other software that you use to run your business.
Seamless integration among these systems saves time and reduces the possibility of human error associated with manual data entry.
As a cannabis retailer, you cannot afford any downtime in your dispensary POS system. Therefore, you must have 24/7 access to customer support if you have any issues with the system.
When shopping for a cannabis POS system, ask the vendor if they provide the kind of customer support you prefer. Does the support team work 24/7 or at least during your dispensary's open hours? You should also go for a vendor that doesn't charge extra for support.
The Bottom Line
A reliable cannabis POS system can streamline your business operations and improve your service delivery. Some top-rated cannabis dispensary POS systems feature tools that make it easier to maintain compliance with state regulations, reward loyal customers, and track inventory. Investing in one of these will surely revolutionize the way you run your cannabis dispensary.