Software might not be the first thing you associate with cannabis. But the cannabis industry is growing so fast that mom-and-pop notebooks and spreadsheets just can’t keep up. If you find yourself in this budding space, you might be wondering what the right tech tools are and when they might be needed. And the questions don’t stop there. In fact, the biggest one might also be the most challenging to answer: Is there something out that will fit your needs, or do you need to wade into something custom? Let’s find out.
The cannabis industry has had explosive growth, and it looks like it will keep growing. Fortune Business Insights says “the global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with hemp witnessing a positive demand shock across all regions amid the pandemic.” They project market growth from $28 billion in 2021 to $197 billion in 2028.
With growth comes opportunity – and competition. To maintain and grow your business, it’s important to make your business efficient and stay aware of upcoming trends.
The cannabis industry has grown up amid laws and restrictions that are different around the world and even between many places across the U.S. That’s created a “wild west” feeling, where everyone senses the rush but isn’t quite sure of the constraints or rules. That is one of the reasons why many software solutions don’t come from “big tech” – they come from small companies that can meet custom needs on more localized levels.
There are a few ways that these customizable software solutions can help businesses grow:
Some software is primarily, or partly, aimed at connecting dispensaries, distributors, and cultivators – so, some of these products might work for all three businesses, but here’s a list of some of the options dispensaries should consider:
Eaze and GreenRush are two of the many companies trying to become the GrubHub of cannabis. Like GrubHub and UberEats, the leader often varies depending on how many people are using the app in your area. The familiar theme is that dispensaries work with drivers who indicate their availability, and then customers use the app to request deliveries.
Social networks like MassRoots give customers a platform to find strains, dispensaries, smoking buddies, and post content. Dispensaries can post content and connect with customers on the platform, too. Tökr takes this a step farther and analyzes a customer’s shopping history to show them relevant products, prices, and dispensaries.
Cryptocurrencies offer an option for dispensaries that want to offer cashless payments, and MTRAC or MoneyTrac Technology offers a range of solutions that include kiosks which customers can use to pay in dispensary. The company even has its own cryptocurrency, “MTRAC-TOKEN.”
Companies like New Frontier Data are conducting and publishing regular market research, and they can also do custom research for your particular business. Their Equio software is one of the products that can give you live data to help manage your sales, inventory, and more.
As we get into the nerdier side of software (is there an un-nerdy side?), we also get into products that can make your business fundamentally more efficient and profitable. These are the programs that will impress your accountant, or potential investors, or maybe convince your accountant to become an investor.
CRM systems like Baker basically give you one place to manage all of the ways that your customers interact with your business. That means they not only help you track sales, but many also help you plan your social media and other marketing, maybe schedule follow-up emails and announcements, and basically help you stay on top of all of the customer information that you can’t keep in your head.
Whether you’re purely a distributor, or you’re a dispensary or cultivator who wants to manage your inventory, the right software can make all the difference in your efficiency and profits. This is where you can look at one solution that spans your business.
Enterprise resource planning systems like LeafTrade are a step beyond a CRM. They manage almost everything, from inventory and orders to staff and accounting. Since they have all of your business data, they often let you analyze your business performance, provide growth goals, and project your results. They can also be critical for documenting and reporting your compliance per your local requirements (which is big). Tools like LeafTrade can even automate some of the technical tasks that you’ve been doing – like generating reports or sending notifications.
Some ERP systems include CRM functions, and others work with separate CRM systems. As you might guess, there are too many options and features to fully describe here, but some of the other cannabis industry ERP options are LeafLink, Flowhub, Headset, 365 Cannabis, Viridian Sciences, NexTec, SYSPRO, and Quantum Leaf.
While ERP software might be where cultivators spend most of their time, there are also some other solutions that can play a unique role for their businesses:
Companies like Steep Hill Labs can help cultivators measure potency and safety in their cannabis products. Steep Hill does its own lab and field testing, but it’s also developed QuantaCann software that can test strains in mere minutes.
Medicinal Genomics has a service called StrainSEEK that maps, sequences, and registers the DNA of cannabis strains. It stores the details in the Bitcoin blockchain and its public Kannapedia database. That way, growers who can’t patent their unique strains can still claim intellectual property protection if a large company later tries to duplicate and sell their strain.
There are a lot of companies manufacturing cannabis accessories, but companies like Convectium offer filling, capping, packaging, and sealing hardware and software that can help cultivators create and sell new products ready to ship to dispensaries.
As advertising expands from social media to point-of-sale digital displays, companies like Eyechronic can help cultivators, dispensaries, and others in the industry develop the tech side of advertising, menus, and videos for kiosks, reader boards, tablets, and other display sizes.
As the cannabis market grows, it also becomes more complex. There are new products and customers, but there are also new competitors and regulators. While software providers like those above are already paving the way, the reality is that this is only the beginning of an even bigger cannabis tech boom.Whether it’s something you’re working on addressing right now or are just gearing up for, knowing when to choose or develop the right software for your business is never easy. Luckily, the team here at VAULT has worked in this space extensively, and even built LeafTrade. So if you have an innovative solution but need a technical team to help build it, or just think the way you’re doing things can be more efficient, we can help design and develop the software you’re dreaming of. Contact us today for a free product discovery session.