Challenges that arise when running a cannabis dispensary aren’t unlike those that come up when operating any retail store, however with cannabis, there are the added elements of compliance and regulations that also need to be considered.
Cannabis dispensaries are heavily regulated entities and, as a result, are constantly required to submit documentation to prove their compliance with the regulations.
Some of the documentation required from dispensaries includes:
With all those regulatory requirements, staying compliant can be both labor-intensive and time-consuming without the aid of relevant dispensary technology.
That is why it can be helpful to implement dispensary specific technology, in order to succeed!
These are the 7 types of software and technology that you need to run a streamlined, compliant and successful dispensary.
Inventory management is the process of buying, acquiring, storing and keeping track of the inventory you will sell at your cannabis store.
Inventory management systems are important because they will inform you when you are running low on certain strains and products and invite you to order a new shipment from your supplier directly on the platform. They are also a key metric to utilize when ensuring you are adhering to compliance laws.
A great inventory management system should integrate with other systems you are using, such as delivery systems, client marketing systems, and of course, the metric inventory tracking system.
Without inventory management you could order too much, too little, or not keep track of your inventory – putting your business at risk for fines or worse.
Perhaps the most helpful technology you need in your dispensary is a POS system. Your POS system enables you to process sales transactions and the various modes of payment available to the customer. However, that is not all a dedicated cannabis dispensary POS system can do.
Your POS system could also be responsible for inventory management and compliance with the regulators’ requirements. A cannabis POS system can aid compliance by managing customer check-in, rejecting transactions after closing time, or when the daily sales limit has been reached. This can help you avoid getting penalized if your employees are not vigilant enough to enforce the regulations.
Furthermore, a compliant POS system will also automatically produce sales and customer reports that will be available for regulators to assess your compliance whenever they need to.
With an integrated POS system, you also have the ability to integrate your dispensary POS with your dispensary payroll, or your dispensary workforce management system. Having an integrated system will allow you to pull important sales vs labor reports, as well as create schedules based on labor forecasts. Saving you time and money.
To effectively manage your employees and extract maximum productivity, you will need a sound employee management system. Employee management systems, also known as workforce management systems, or scheduling and time tracking solutions, help you design shift schedules and track employee time logs. Great employee management platforms go even further than that.
Integrated employee management systems may also offer HR, scheduling, and time tracking solutions that can integrate with your dispensary payroll.
With an integrated system you can remotely schedule your employees, make schedules based on labor forcases, automatically clocked in staff hours thanks to facial recognition technology – and streamline employee approved hours to payroll.
And systems that integrate with your dispensary POS system also allow you to pool your sales and labor data to track your store’s performance in real-time, thanks to the POS integration.
If you plan to hire a team and pay them, you need dispensary payroll software! Your payroll software is there to help you manage employee payroll, calculate deductions and make contributions to the IRS directly.
If you are looking to streamline your operations, consider using a dispensary payroll software that can integrate with your employee management system — and your POS. The former allows you to automate actions like approving employee clocked hours and streamlining them to payroll, while the ladder will enable you to measure sales vs labor reports, and make smarter business decisions.
A great dispensary payroll software should be easy to use, compliant, and allow you to pay your staff via direct deposit while also making automated payroll tax deductions.
If you are in a state that allows dispensaries to have e-commerce stores, you should invest in a website with e-commerce functionality. This means having a marketplace on your website for customers to make purchases for pick-up or delivery from the convenience of their homes.
Your e-store should have all the compliance protocols of your brick-and-mortar dispensary. In addition, you should be able to gather KYC information from your customers to verify their identities and eligibility to purchase cannabis products.
Furthermore, your website should indicate other compliance information like your license number, your business hours, customer eligibility information, and the products you have in your inventory.
A customer relationship management system allows your dispensary to engage with the customers even after the sale is made. This enables you to know and serve your customers better.
With a system like this, you will maintain real-time information on your customers’ preferences and be better placed to give them the exact products they want to see. You can also use the data you gather to design customized and targeted marketing content for your customers.
As we mentioned above, retaining customers is one of the biggest challenges faced by most cannabis dispensaries in the US as more states legalize cannabis and give out more licenses. A customer relationship manager could help you increase your customer engagement and thus generate loyalty from them.
Most states in the US require strong security measures to be in place for cannabis dispensaries to remain compliant with the regulations. For that reason, you need a security system equipped with cameras that monitor both the interior and exterior (without any blind spots), electronic locks, and an easy way to notify the police in case of a security breach.
Furthermore, as part of your security, you should integrate track and trace technology into your inventory logistics so you can track your shipment from when it leaves the supplier’s stores to when it gets to yours.
The first step to opening a dispensary is getting a license, finding your location, and locking in your brand. But once you have done that, it’s time to start selecting the software you will use to run your operations. We hope this article is helpful in guiding you down the right path as you build out the operations to create a successful cannabis retail store!
Tommy Truong is the Partnership Director at KayaPush, with a passion for helping entrepreneurs scale their business with technology.
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