What is a Cannabis Point of Sale?

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What is a Cannabis POS?

August 10, 2017

Point-of-Sale; you’ve been told you need one, but why? Put simply, you don’t NEED one, but your life will be far more complicated without it. Unless you’re interested in creating dozens of spreadsheets to track metrics like sales and inventory and then manually monitor those spreadsheets for low-inventory levels and reordering needs, a cannabis point of sale is a must.  Not to mention the ability to identify high-performing products and employees to optimize your inventory sales.  Plus, by creating a wonderful customer experience, recording detailed sales analytics, and promoting a responsible cannabis industry, you’ll find that a cannabis point-of-sale is far more than just a tool to stay compliant. In fact, if you’re among the thousands of professional business operators, you likely understand the importance of a business intelligence hub from which you can make data-backed decisions.  In the longer scheme of things, tools that allow you to harness your data and make results-driven decisions are what set the statewide-known brands apart from the mom and pops.

Point-of-Sale systems come in all shapes and sizes and for all industries and products.  A solid Cannabis point of sale system should have 5 key characteristics, at a minimum, to get the most out of the intricate operations and supply-chains faced by a licensed cannabis business.

  1. Cannabis Specific – This cannot be stressed enough; make sure the system is designed in a way that facilitates the nuances of the cannabis supply chain. Some features you’ll need, which can’t be found in a standard restaurant or retail point of sale, include cumulative pricing for flower and oils, enforcing sales limits, weigh-heavy, and real-time integration with government traceability systems, where required.
  2. Security Focused – The cannabis industry has enough obstacles and challenges without creating additional headaches presented by the Internet of Things. Whether you’re server-based or cloud-based, your point of sale system contains sensitive information and so does your server. Should anything happen to that information, you’re at risk of breaching privacy laws for your patients and customers, subject to hefty fines for noncompliance, and not to mention exposing your sales numbers and customer info to competitors.
  3. Communications Driven – A good cannabis point of sale  records sales transactions and patient preferences; a great cannabis point of sale includes tools that use that information to create powerful marketing campaigns, resulting in loyal customers and word-of-mouth marketing. Finding a program that has off-the-shelf marketing tools like email and text marketing, loyalty and referral programs, member levels and discount features, can not only save time and increase value, but by integrating with real customer data, the personal customization is only limited by your imagination.
  4. Compliant Updates – The legal cannabis industry is built upon the Cole Memo, a document that outlines specific requirements that regulated cannabis markets must adhere to in order to avoid any federal intervention. State’s cannabis laws are changing state-by-state on a near weekly basis, so having a cannabis point of sale that addresses these changes on-the-fly and allows you to be flexible and stay compliant in a rapidly changing market is crucial. If a licensed operator fails to maintain a compliant operation or simply misses one of the newly enacted requirements, they risk their business and their license. Before falling in love with bells and whistles, make sure the system enforces compliance first.
  5. Available Support – What are you going to do when you need help setting up a feature or an employee accidentally changed a setting and the system won’t let you sell a product? Web, email, and phone are the big 3 when it comes to providing support resources for training or troubleshooting. Many point-of-sale services, especially in the rapidly growing cannabis point of sale sector, struggle to sustain their support structure, often resulting in increased wait times and stacked up tickets. A professional service provider should have a library of documentation available, especially when compliance-related updates occur, and a sophisticated support system capable of routing calls, emails, and tickets to the appropriate channels.

A cannabis point of sale system should not burden your operation; it should empower your team to make data-driven decisions, optimize your inventory and sales and create an exceptional customer experience that drives loyalty and positive referrals.

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