Cannabis has been deemed an essential service, and the government pushes to help keep their business going amid COVID-19

Navigating COVID-19 and Cannabis Retail Software

Danielle Poirier

4 Things to Keep in Mind

As COVID-19 ramps up in severity, businesses are being challenged with how they can continue serving their customers while prioritizing public safety. The government is actively addressing concerns to ensure that essential services, such as cannabis retail, have the flexibility and allowances to continue operating while limiting the spread of COVID-19. But there are aspects about the cannabis retail software that you choose that will make a difference if you plan to just use it for now or if you plan on investing in something that can benefit you in the long run as well.

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Cannabis has been deemed an essential service, and the government pushes to help keep their business going amid COVID-19

Acting quickly, some retailers are adopting software that can get them live as fast as possible, however many solutions are unable to support the scalability of regulations which are an apparent reality for the cannabis industry.

All things aside, to make an informed decision while being responsive toward the situation at-hand, retailers must consider equipping their store with an e-commerce solution that recognizes the regulatory environment in the cannabis industry, before, during and after the pandemic.

4 Cannabis Retail Software Considerations

1. Compliance still comes first, even with a new normal

Preserving your cannabis retail license may just be the most important thing to do once you open your shop, so going the extra mile to make sure that you’re doing everything the right way isn’t just worth the time and potential extra investment, but it’s going to equip your dispensary with exactly what you need to be successful in the long-run.

In times like these, equipping your store with something that fits your needs, for now, is one thing, but that doesn’t mean that cutting compliance out of the equation is a viable option. Although extreme measures are expediting regulations and ways you can do business safely, you want to ensure that when you’re considering retail software, that they emphasize compliance as a key factor for how they do business, and in turn, for how you can do business through them. Having software that is already compliant is very important for reporting, but also for when your customers go to shop. They’ll have the ability to see their legal purchase limits for what they can buy, while having the appropriate taxes applied, their ID checked or confirmed, and more — everything you need to continue doing business with the peace of mind that compliance is taken care of for you.

2. You’ll want to be able to make ruleset changes on-the-fly

Regulations in the cannabis industry change rapidly and have many nuances that make each region unique in its own way. So when we’re faced with a situation where new rules are being applied to support the retailers, your software should be able to support you just the same.

Retailers should take notice and understand that adopting software that can actively address each new rule and ensure that business is being followed compliantly under the rulesets is a critical factor in the decision-making process.

Whether that be an adjustment to how you accept orders (pick up only, delivery only), changes in taxation, delivery guidelines, etc, your software needs to be able to dynamically take each change and allow you to do business while complying with each nuance, seamlessly.

3. Cannabis delivery for touchless-transactions

Soon delivery-only operations may be the only way adult-use dispensaries can go about their business while complying with government-mandated lockdown procedures. So your software should be able to bring on couriers in your area with ease.

Your software provider should be able to onboard the appropriate amount of courier staff needed to fulfill your orders, so you don’t have to worry about a single courier getting overwhelmed or customers getting upset during a time when demand is so unexpectedly high.

COVID-19 is stressful for everyone, but especially businesses that are just trying to keep their doors open during a time of complete uncertainty.

4. Have a plan when inventory becomes scarce

Cannabis stores across Canada and the U.S, both online and in stores, are reporting unprecedented demand as the countries to enact physical distancing measures to help contain the worsening outbreak. Just like alcohol and toilet paper, cannabis is something people want to stock up on amid the lockdown we may face in the coming weeks.

With this, cannabis retail software providers should be able to support retailers with functionalities that either conserve or promote product turnover as supply and demand may be fluctuating. With capabilities to feature and disclude products, retailers are given the opportunity to control how their inventory diminishes. They could feature products that, otherwise may not sell as well, or choose products with high demand, to ration the ‘favourites’ that are bound to sell out quickly such as edibles and pre-rolls. This functionality will also come to be useful for stores that would like to have exclusive products for pickup only or delivery only.

Whatever the circumstances, retailers should strive for software that gives them the power to control how their inventory may diminish during times of uncertainty.

When Verda was founded, we promised to continually support small canna-businesses at whatever means necessary, even during the hardest of times, and this is a moment where we need to take action and do just that.

Keeping public safety as our highest priority, we will be dropping all of our fees allowing you to continue serving your customers, by adding a live menu, online ordering for pickup, and home-delivery in regions where regulations allow – all for free.

If your retail store has been impacted by COVID-19, please get in touch with us at @[email protected] and we can set up your store ASAP.

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