The Canadian online dispensary marketplace is ultra-competitive. New dispensaries keep launching every day. So to position your business for success, you need to have the right technological solution at your disposal to navigate the murky water of the cannabis retail industry.

We say this because customers tend to patronise dispensaries to order products quickly, pay for the goods, and have the order shipped directly to their doorstep.

So if you place a premium on customer experience (which you should), then you should only partner with a service provider that understands the cannabis retail game and has all it takes to help you score.

That is why we have come up with tips on choosing the right software or technology solution for your cannabis store.

Enjoy!

Top 8 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Cannabis Tech Service Provider

There are hordes of software for online dispensaries. However, not all of them deliver on their promises or are precisely fit for your business model.

With that in mind, here are 8 crucial factors to look for while shopping for software to run your online dispensary.

1. Industry Compatibility and Expertise

Not all the e-commerce software you come across has experience dealing with the Canadian marketplace. So, when vetting cannabis software for your dispensary, it would be best to go for a majorly built software for the cannabis industry.

Alternatively, the tech service provider should have relevant experience working with an online dispensary like yours.

So, before choosing software, pay close attention to what it does. Find out if it is adept at pivoting dispensaries whose structure and business models are similar to yours.

You also want to check the brand’s track record. Scrutinise their portfolio, review case studies, and attend their webinars if possible. That way, you can ascertain if they are suitable for your needs.

2. Functionality

Basic operations like optimal inventory management, fast transaction, and quick order delivery are pivotal to the success of an online dispensary. Therefore you need to go for software that can perform these operations efficiently.

Else, you run the risk of losing hard-won clients when you mess up.

Let’s take inventory management, one of the hub-and-spokes of a successful online dispensary.

A reputable software should have a web-based inventory management application integrated into its front-end POS and easily accessible from multiple devices.

This way, it can quickly provide comprehensive reports of the dispensary and guide the owner to proficiently manage their inventory, product pricing, catalogue, employees, etc.

3. The Social Proof

There are loads of software providers in the Canadian cannabis retail industry. This begs the question of how to know credible developers to trust with your dispensary. Well, the simple answer is social proof.

Social proofs are outcomes of previous dispensaries managed by the software. It gives you the confidence that the product will solve your problems. Examples include case studies, testimonials, and other customer reviews.

By all means, also ensure that you inquire about vital information like how long they have been in business, their customer base, and what these customers think about them.

4. Pricing

The annual cost of the software is always a crucial point of consideration. You are in the business to make a profit; therefore, you want to go for software whose pricing fits your budget and offers great value for the money.

So, do your due diligence by checking all the software’s pricing tier lists before subscribing. And here are important questions that can guide you to make the right choice:

  • Does the software have tiered pricing options?
  • What does each pricing tier entail?
  • Can you customise the pricing to meet your dispensary’s unique needs?
  • Is there a discount offer to test the package before making a total commitment?

5. Customer Service

An e-commerce store’s customer service is a little more dynamic than a brick and mortar store because you don’t benefit from physical interactions.
Thus, handling order fulfillment issues, server downtimes, delivery challenges, and software outages are a lot trickier.

That is why you must opt for a cannabis tech solution that offers responsive customer service and helps you manage any challenges that might arise.
You also want to ensure that the software’s customer support team is available around the clock, easily accessible, and friendly.

6. Compatibility for the Future

The idea is to run your dispensary on software that is easily scalable and compatible with your future needs right from the very start, especially if you’re in the business for a long time.

This will require some planning and projections, though.

So, an excellent place to start would be to think of the features and capabilities you intend to have when you expand your business. Then, find out if the software can manage them.

7. Ease of Integration

You will likely need multiple software to run your online dispensary smoothly. Therefore, it would be best to go for a cannabis tech solution that integrates seamlessly with other aspects of your business operations, like your accounting software, social media networks, and e-mail marketing tools.

Usually, different cannabis software offers various modes of integration. So, ensure that the providers specify the model their software runs on. The common ones are:

  • Add-ons and extensions
  • Task-specific solutions, or
  • Multipurpose connectors.

Each of these options come with their pros and cons. So you would need to decide what works best for your business model before settling for any of them.

A pro tip is to ensure that the software you choose quickly fits into your IT infrastructure and tech stack, as this could help you maximise your current tech investments and business processes.

8. Read The Fine Print

We live in a constantly evolving world that necessitates trying new things to stay relevant and ahead of the competition. As such, it’s wise to have an exit strategy for when the market dynamics require that you hop on another software.

Thus, before you settle for a tech solution, you should read the fine print of all the contracts you might be committed to.

Steer clear of brands that charge for early terminations, and be sure to clarify the terms of commitment. Get a lawyer if possible.

Top Technology Solution for Canadian Online Dispensaries

1. Sway

Sway Is a comprehensive software and hardware suite that runs in the cloud and is hosted exclusively on servers in British Columbia.

It boasts an in-store and online POS system with one printer included per store (online ordering tickets and printing in-store receipts).

With Sway, you can enjoy an inventory scale that measures inventory by weight and QR code reading by the camera installed on the scale.

This way, you can quickly eliminate up to 60 labour hours a month from inventory on 500 SKU’s.

Here is an overview of the sway software:

  • Provide a one-stop-solution
  • Seamless integration
  • Excellent POS and inventory management
  • Guaranteed compliance and data security
  • Multi-location management

2. Cova

Cova is used by at least 1,000 dispensaries of all sizes and scales. It boasts a built-in verification system that simplifies check-in processes and guarantees compliance.

The software also offers excellent inventory management, multi-location management, in-store functionality, and a loyalty program.

More importantly, it’s also highly intuitive and user-centric.

Pros

  • Limitless users
  • User-centric


Cons

  • Not a one-stop solution
  • Not pocket-friendly for small businesses

3. Dutchie

Dutchie provides a convenient way to order cannabis products from the best dispensaries near you.

They allow you to explore the top marijuana stores, decide on the best cannabis products, place an order online and have it delivered to supported locations within a few hours.

Dutchie software has a host of features in addition to the pre-built and fully optimized checkout scaffolding that allows you to create any menu experience and enhance your business processes.

Here are the perks and downsides of Dutchie in a nutshell:

Pros

  • Good site speed
  • Good support

Cons

  • Not a one-stop solution
  • Multi-store Integration issues

Overall Best: Sway

Sway offers a one-stop solution if all the services that dispensaries need run efficiently.

It boasts an improved uptime, highly efficient sales channels and keeps customers’ data private and secure.

The software is widely coveted for its proprietary intelligent inventory management system that stands out from other technology solutions that have ever graced the Canadian dispensary marketplace.

Summarily, Sway proprietary software eliminates the need for low-quality plugins, multiple independent service providers, and manual installation.

Why You Need To Get Sway Cannabis Software Now, Not Later

So what’s so special about Sway’s cannabis software anyway? Why should anyone with an online cannabis dispensary want to use this new software? Here is why:

A One-Stop Solution

One of the best features of this software is that it has everything you need to start or scale your online dispensary.

What this means is that with Sway’s first-of-its-kind technology innovation in Canada, dispensary owners can finally get every tool they will ever need to run their business in one software.

Here is a full list of services provided by Sway:

  • Marketing tools (direct and e-marketing)
  • Customer relationship management
  • Ordering (e-mail, phone, fax)
  • Returns management
  • Payment (integrated online and offline payment solutions)
  • Logistics
  • Consulting
  • Shipping
  • IT services
  • Delivery
  • Billing
  • Warehousing
  • Returns management

POS

With traditional cash registers near extinction, dispensaries need an excellent POS system to run their stores. And Sway software comes to the rescue once more.

The software offers industry-specific POS systems that can handle multiple registers across several locations if you choose to scale.

Additionally, it has built-in payment processors or third-party integrations. As you would expect, it’s compliance-driven and has fantastic features that make transactions and business operations convenient, effective, and very simple.

On top of that, it integrates seamlessly with other third-party software packages, even though you don’t need one.

SEO Plugin

Sway also boasts SEO plugins that increase your business’s online visibility. This SEO tool makes your business rank for the correct snippet during local and international searches.

It’s also equipped with the right tools that enable you to complete your Google my business address quickly so that your brand can appear on Google Maps and more people around you can find your store.

If you leverage the SEO plugin effectively, it could be the single most essential tool to drive traffic to your website and boost your business relevance, authority and credibility.

Compliant

One of the biggest challenges you will face as a dispensary owner is compliance issues because of the grey area that the cannabis business straddles.

That is why you need a built-in tech solution like Sway cannabis software that ensures automated compliance.

As a cannabis-specific tech solution, Sway helps you stay abreast of the ever-evolving Canadian cannabis landscape and enables you to run your business smoothly without the fear of running into legal issues.

Top-Notch Business Intelligence

Beyond helping you navigate compliance issues, Sway helps you monitor your online dispensary and provides real-time data that helps you arrive at better, more informed decisions that keep you afloat in the competitive cannabis online dispensary space.

More businesses are settling for sophisticated tools in their bid to handle the competition. If you don’t get a top cannabis tech solution like Sway, which comes with metrics, proprietary analytics and in-depth report, you run the risk of being left out of the race.

Takeaway

The cannabis technology solution that you opt to work with will significantly affect the success of your dispensary.

We understand this. That is why we’ve developed an innovative solution with the built-in tools you need to succeed in the fast-paced cannabis retail industry.

Our software handles everything you need from POS, home delivery, traffic generation via SEO to inventory management and experiential customer service. Click here to start your 7-days trial.