Jessica McKeil   |   October 15, 2018

The Crowded World of Cannabis POS Systems

In short order, Canadian’s will be enjoying the sweet smell of cannabis out in the open. With the federal government essentially allowing unfettered access to the plant through online, mail order, and in-store sales, it’s a move set to launch the trajectory of many other peripheral industries as well.
Jessica McKeil is a freelance writer focused on the medical marijuana industry, from production methods to medicinal applications. She personally found relief through cannabis for the treatment of her panic and anxiety disorder. She is lucky…

Point of sale (POS) systems are one of the peripheral sectors, paying particular attention to the launch of the world's largest recreational market. Legal dispensaries are a massive untapped market, and one with highly-specialized requirements. It’s usually not possible to purchase a POS meant for traditional retail, and use it within cannabis.

Dispensaries require more out of their POS system than just a straightforward way to process payments. Cannabis sales operate under a much stricter and complicated set of regulations than your typical retail store. Businesses not only need to handle payments, but track inventory, securely manage customer records, maintain a high level of compliance with local and federal regulations, and much more. A standard POS system may not provide the full scope of functionality required for a retail cannabis operation.

Cannabis-specific systems, with these features built-in, are fighting to gain a market share. Although the industry is already crowded with options, not all POS systems are designed with the same clients in mind nor core features. Any reliable system will come with an integrated inventory management system, an intuitive interface, and some form of automatic compliance reporting, but what other features stand out? Logical layout, ease of training and employee record keeping are a few areas of note, as well as data analysis, security, and integration abilities.

Here are a few of the companies getting attention in recent months, as well as the reason why they stand out from the crowd:

Cova - Cannabis Retail Software

In a move that will very likely please owners and customers alike, Cova announced its decision to move all cannabis-related data to Azure Canada-Central, located in Toronto. One of the many unknowns going forward is how dispensaries and associated cloud-based systems will protect consumer privacy, particularly from the fears about cross-border travel to the US. By moving all Canadian data into Canada, Cova has directly addressed these concerns.

Cova already provides full and seamless integration with BioTrackTHC, Leaf Data Systems, Metrc and soon, Canada’s own see-to-sale compliancy software. But, they’ve also built their POS system around an open API. Which means, as the industry shifts, the Cova POS can adapt alongside it, integrating with other systems and other applications.

Treez

Available in the United States, Treez has built-in all the features required for a cannabis POS System but has a few additions which make it stand out. The first is a set of data analytics, for both the front-end dispensary staff to have consumer buying history and trends at the tip of their fingers, as well as for management to analyze patterns across all areas of business.

The second stand-out feature is employee accountability, fully integrated into the Treez platform. Instead of investing in a separate system to track employee tasks, time and attendance, Trees incorporates it into the POS.

Greenline

A POS System born and bred in British Columbia, a long established cannabis market, Greenline serves strictly Canadian retailers. Their system works across multiple platforms and is capable of handling both brick and mortar sales, as well as online transactions.

Inventory management and compliance come part and parcel with any cannabis-focused POS system, but Greenline has developed a system capable of managing inventory between multiple locations. It’s a way to accurately paint of picture of product sales at each location, transfer between locations when needed, and still, maintain compliance with regional regulations. Considering the expected proliferation of corporate, and franchised storefronts, multi-location inventory management is undoubtedly a crucial piece to sustain seamless inventory and record keeping.

Green Bits

Green Bits, headquartered in Portland, Oregon is available to dispensaries across the U.S. It’s a POS system with all the necessary features to maintain continuous compliance, but also comes with a host of customer-focused features for boosting the customer experience. Not only does Green Bits seamlessly integrate with both Weedmaps and Leafly, to put you and your products on the map, it also comes with a consumer loyalty program to boost the retail experience. Greenbits focuses on improving checkout times, with instant access to individual customer records, and promises fast processing.

With so many choices, there is no clear winner in the race to secure market dominance. Cannabis retails sales are too new and untested, especially in Canada, but retail systems continue to evolve in a way that carefully balances consumer experience with industry regulations.

 

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