The cannabis market exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic – and it’s not stopping there. In fact, according to Mordor Intelligence, the cannabis market was worth an estimated $22.9 billion USD in 2020, and is expected to witness a CAGR of 18.1% between 2021 and 2026. One of the hottest trends in this rapidly emerging market is marijuana delivery. Read on to explore the growth of at-home delivery, and what tech you need as a dispensary to offer this popular service.
The Rise of Cannabis Delivery
In 2014 the term “cannabis delivery” became a reality for medical patients in California when marijuana delivery giant Eaze was founded. Since then, the dream of being able to have an Uber Eats-style platform for marijuana delivery has been the goal of every cannabis retail operation in California and beyond.
However, the rise of delivery was met with many internal and external challenges. Externally, the combination of legislature and clarity in laws with payment processing and the inability to allow delivery apps to be distributed directly to your phone via Apple and Google posed an initial challenge. Internally, operators had to navigate drivers using their personal cars, the potential of drivers being targeted for theft, and the lack of tech-savvy operators to make it all work.
Luckily, as the industry grew, many of the internal issues worked themselves out. Legislation, although inconsistent, is working its way towards a more flexible legal environment for the cannabis industry. However, proper technology is still a challenge for everyone from operators to providers.
Currently, third-party delivery solutions tap into your current point of sale (POS) system via API integration. This means that you need additional hardware and software to communicate with your current systems, and you need to ensure that numbers from both systems match up. With busy schedules, most budtenders think it's hard enough managing the in-store POS, and two systems can create inefficiencies.
How COVID-19 Accelerated Marijuana Delivery
In April 2020, the industry felt a big relief: cannabis retailers were deemed essential businesses in most states where usage is legal. However, despite this win, regulations and social distancing meant that in-store traffic dwindled down to a fraction of what it was while cannabis demand during the pandemic skyrocketed, making delivery and curbside pickup essential. Retailers scrambled to make sure they were equipped with the solutions to empower e-commerce systems with delivery and curbside workflows and had to make sure their budtenders could use them effectively.
While brick-and-mortar locations have reopened or are reopening, marijuana delivery will likely be a long-term, growing trend, and to succeed dispensaries need to be equipped with intuitive, streamlined, and efficient systems.
What Tech Do Dispensaries Need for Marijuana Delivery?
The cannabis industry is growing exponentially and as more states legalize, the industry is transforming from an underground operation to an industry which will be worth $90 billion by 2026. So how does an industry sustain such growth in just five years? The answer is technology.
From sensors and data at the touch of your fingertips in cultivation, to robotic packaging in distribution warehouses, to retail management systems, your operation’s rapid growth depends on quality, scalable cloud-based technology. But what is the cloud and how does it work?
Cloud computing allows your company to run your applications without the need for physical hardware resources. Physical resources can not only become costly as you grow, but they also take up space and require engineering and physical effort to maintain efficiency. However, be aware that not every company offering a cloud-based software can automatically set your company up for major scalability and growth.
Cannalytic Data Group (CDG) for Marijuana Delivery
With its technological background and plethora of software engineers and architects, Cannalytic Data Group (CDG) – whose software is integrated with Star Micronics hardware – enhanced its existing POS system, Retail D.A.B (Daily Activities Board), with a built-in e-commerce platform which includes full curbside and delivery workflows. The solution enables dispensaries to process and assign orders, track drivers, and communicate with customers from the same system that their budtenders use for in-store clients. It also means that dispensaries know their inventory, sales numbers, and data are always accurate and don’t need to be reconciled from another system.
Successful Software Needs Successful Hardware
That’s where Star comes in. CDG proudly integrates its software tools with a variety of Star hardware including the all-in-one mPOP®, TSP654IISK linerless label printer, Value Series Cash Drawers, and more.
The technology behind CDG’s Retail D.A.B is built on the foundation of helping your business scale rapidly and access insights immediately. CDG does this by running its applications through Kubernetes (K8), an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. This means that Retail D.A.B runs on a system designed on the same principles that allows Google to run billions of applications a week, allowing increased scale without increasing dispensaries’ operations teams.