I’m positive that if on January 1st, 2020, someone asked you if you thought we’d see legal cannabis home delivery in Ontario this year, that most of you probably would have (unfortunately) said no…
Considering the fact that in Canada, recreational cannabis has been federally legal since October 2018 and it took until January 2020 to get edibles on retail shelves — it’s a fair assumption for why you’d pump the brakes when it comes to home delivery suddenly being allowed.
Ontario cannabis retail reality
Well, facing a global pandemic, emergency measures have gone into place, forcing businesses deemed non-essential to temporarily shut down, and essential businesses to take precautionary measures, seeking out contactless solutions to support their operations and help serve their customers for the time being.
With how quickly regulations shifted, dispensaries needed to act quickly to try and provide for the overwhelming demand they were facing amid COVID-19 lockdown scares.
Phase-one of emergency measures allowed for curbside service, where customers could reserve ahead and come pick up their products during a timed window. Retailers found solutions that could get them live right away and able to support pickup requests, however, now that home delivery has been approved, the retailers who adopted a pickup solution are left seeking how they could piece together the delivery side of things to help their store do it all.
So, what do you do now? Switching from one software to another can be a hassle, and you probably don’t want to continue switching down the line either.
Choosing cannabis retail software
So how do you go about choosing cannabis retail software? There are a number of factors that come into play.
Invest in complementary software that will support your store now and post-COVID-19
Stacking software can be the best approach for your store to allow each solution to carry out tasks under their own specialties while working together as one to create a seamless experience for your customers.
There are great options on the market that not only support delivery for your store but also specialize in a number of areas to help you build relationships with your customers, improve in-store efficiencies, while also maintaining compliance.
Future-proof now so you don’t have to down the road
Gearing up to support your dispensary for the long-term is definitely a consideration that you want to think about now while you’re doing the initial set-up. The reality is that in the future, dispensaries will have to compete with one another while selling the same products, meaning that to really succeed, they have to find points of differentiation and set-up their store to be a great experience both online and in-person.
So the solution you choose to add to your business shouldn’t just support the basics, but it should also provide you with tools that aim to improve your operations and impress your customers.
Build the relationship your store has with your customers
Consider how you’re going to keep your customers coming back for more in the future.
The long-term goal for dispensaries is going to be to convert single purchases to recurring, and reaching out to your customers based on how they like to shop is a great way to start.
Aim toward choosing cannabis retail software that can track consumer interest or purchasing trends so you have the ability to run campaigns or initiatives that directly relate to what they buy, and how they buy it.
Marketing like this also just helps you keep in touch with your following, share your brand’s story, and what you have for them that they’re going to love when they visit the next time.
Improve in-store efficiencies
Like we said before, some solutions simply give you the basics and leave the rest up to you. When we work with our retailers, we not only give them the tools they need, but we help to understand their store’s flow, and how we can best work together while pleasing your customers. This could mean something like implementing a fast-lane for pickup orders, different timing options when it comes to home delivery, or understanding how employees approach each order and what can be improved in the process.
We want to ensure that a dispensary team doesn’t just have the tools to excel, but that they’re being used really make a difference for both the in-store and online customer experience.
Flexible Rulesets to Ensure Compliance
Compliance should never be a question mark when it comes to choosing cannabis retail software for your store.
The solution you add should be able to dynamically change along with the regulations in your area, so you can continue optimizing your store to its full potential with rules that are custom for not only your store, but also your area, and what’s legally allowed to be done.
Being able to support the full suite of e-commerce tools, including pickup and delivery, means that when regulations change, it takes simple adjustments to get your store ready for anything, including when regulations change back to normal post-COVID-19 or continue to evolve over time as the industry strides toward maturity.