Casia Lanier   |   September 17, 2022

How One Data-Driven Distributor Is Helping Cannabis Brands Thrive

Companies like Nabis are meeting cannabis brands’ demand for more accurate data metrics to get their products effectively and optimally to market. From licensing to payment systems to demographic shifts, data analytics are breaking barriers to success.
Casia is a freelance writer based in NYC and Madrid. She is passionate about promoting emerging scientific and technological advancements in cannabis for a healthier future.

In the spring of this year, Nabis became the largest cannabis wholesaler in California, with a 15% market share in the state’s total cannabis sales. The new-found status was reached after raising $5 million and sparking a wave of strategic actions, including announcing company shares and driver partnerships with Teamster. These strategic moves are just a small part of what makes data-driven technology essential for cannabis brands.

Data and data-driven technology have the power to improve productivity and efficiency in both cannabis and ancillary markets, increasing long-term profits and viability across the entire supply chain system. The right data can differentiate cannabis brands from their competitors while offering time and money-saving solutions that echo across the industry.

DATA AT EVERY CORNER

The most challenging part about using data analytics and technologies to drive marketable action is knowing what kind of data is needed and how to access that data. Furthermore, being able to automize the collection of data and strategize efficient paths toward market visibility is essential for accelerating both brand and market growth.

Distribution and transportation are the most obvious problems to solve because they require much labor and money and are among the most logistics-dependent systems in the B2B market. This is true in every industry – not just cannabis. Most cannabis companies are reliant on self-distribution. According to the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the cannabis distributor to storefront ratio is nearly 1:1 in California, compared to the state’s alcoholic beverage industry, with a ratio of distributors to storefronts at around 1:50, indicating the presence of a profound supply chain gap.

When cannabis suppliers and brands capitalize on partnerships with data-driven distribution companies, it streamlines product delivery to consumers, allowing businesses to increase sales velocity. An example is Nabis’s partnership with The Parent Company (TPCO), announced in July. Thanks to the new relationship and an expanded fleet of 80 delivery vehicles, TPCO’s customers can realize 2-day shipping times and more frequent and multiple-product orders, enabling greater bandwidth for a more diversified portfolio, investment in research, development, innovation, and building of customer loyalty. Additionally, warehousing can better be managed by an on-sight inventory management team whose entire focus is readying orders for customer streams rather than a retailer taking away employees from their core roles or hiring additional logistics staff.

Product data is one of the simplest sets of data to organize in the cannabis industry. But assembling this data across many brands, retailers, and customer bases requires trackable streams characterized by ease of access on a large scale. Nabis prides itself on its software layer with its online marketplace. Its fully licensed platform hosts an extensive portfolio of cannabis brands and products, connecting brands, dispensaries, and customers within a single place. Within the platform, all participants can track orders and order status, payments and payment status, inventory, participating team members, personalized accounts, sales, available capital, and financing while maintaining individualized compliance protocols.

Artificial technology (AI) can further optimize the retail and delivery experience by helping anticipate supply and demand based on data from emerging trends so that dispensaries can quickly adapt inventory to consumer product preferences. Real-time cannabis data can be gathered via sales processes, where the rate, frequency, and amount of products can be recorded, and then feedback can be given to a specific retailer or dispensary account in the form of suggested restock dates or product excess.

This platform makes automation much easier because dispensaries can better construct a product roadmap and pinpoint market segmentation. Using that data, they can immediately adapt directly to the marketplace by purchasing more popular products or including more from a new brand with a unique offering.

INFORMING NEXT STEPS

It’s not easy to analyze an emerging industry, but the cannabis industry is more difficult than most because of its legal red tape and grey zones, which have traditionally made it a high-risk industry that has blocked out the development of comprehensive systems. Emerging cannabis regulations have left a large hole in logistics, which has resulted in a subsequent lack of sales and market data availability. But technology-driven companies that recognize the missed opportunities in retailer needs provide an abundant field of uncaptured data.

Understanding compliance and legislation give service provider-based cannabis businesses an upper hand because navigating those constraints is often what prevents retailers from efficient resource allocation. The focus on creating a business that works within the legal framework affords companies like Nabis an attractive market position as a holistic solutions provider that gets the product to retailers in the short run and drives brand and dispensary recognition and sales optimization in the long run.

When companies hack the logistics-to-data barrier, they can also begin to influence the social sphere of the industry from capital offerings to minority equity, ensuring the future vibrancy of the industry, destigmatizing BIPOC, LGBTQ, and veterans, and growing its reach. Companies that hack problems hack data and drive healthy competition on an even playing field.

 

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