January 26, 2018

Beyond Vending Machines: A Robust Retail Solution from Grasshopper Kiosks

Combining the complex regulatory requirements of the cannabis industry with the pace of today’s world, Grasshopper Kiosks has taken the traditional vending machine and given it a modern-day makeover to help streamline the retail process in many dispensaries.



This week, in an interview with Rob Neely of CannabisTech, company CEO Martin Kaufman spoke about Grasshopper Kiosks and how their advanced vending solutions can enhance the retail operations in the legal cannabis industry. The kiosks provide control and authorization of the entire purchasing process using smart technology. “There’s a lot of control in smart technology,” Kaufman stated. 

 

The Functionality

Grasshopper Multi-dispense Kiosks and Lockers are designed to be secure, inventory storage and dispensing machines to help dispensaries and distribution centers streamline their processes and speed up the buying process. Armored, hermetically-sealed, and humidity controlled, these kiosks can be used for multiple functions on the retail floor, or in backroom operations for inventory control and security.

 

Retail Floor

While some consumers want to speak with a knowledgeable cannabis adviser at the dispensary, others may prefer the advantages of kiosk. In addition to the consumer who is just trying to save time, Kaufman reminded certain anxiety disorders can make face-to-face interaction uncomfortable for some patients, and kiosks provide an alternative purchasing option in this situation. ADA compliant to accommodate all patients, the kiosks are designed to be user-friendly and easy to use.

The small footprint of Grasshopper kiosks provides ample, secure storage space for product on the retail floor, as well as, provides an additional sales outlet for the business. Tracking ROI, Kaufman stated they have seen these kiosks produce as much $7400 in a single day. In fact, in demos, people stated they felt drawn to the technology, they wanted to use it just to “play” with it. 

 

Online or Phone-Ahead Order Pickup

In certain cannabis markets, customers can order online or call-ahead to have their items ready for pickup when they arrive at the dispensary. Kaufman stated many times this means bags of product sitting in a backroom with someone’s name on it. Grasshopper’s Locker, provides a more secure storage solution for call-ahead and online orders. Similar to Amazon Lockers, each of the 36 drawers are secured by digital code allowing the customer to easily access just their own order which has been previously filled by a dispensary employee. Consumers can login from any device, pre-order and pay, then the Locker dispenses the product based on a code or a geo-fencing from their smart device.

 

Inventory Control

When used in the backroom operations of a dispensary, Grasshopper Kiosks offer refrigerated product storage and adjustable climate control to help maintain product quality. In addition, when paired with Teller-Assist or Controlled Access modules, these kiosks can limit access to valuable inventory and prevent losses from theft, as well.  With adjustable slots to fit nearly any product, the Grasshopper 3600 offers space for up to 36 items, while the 6000 will store 60 unique products and hundreds of items in inventory.

The Locker is also valuable for distribution centers. Kaufman describes how the Locker can help streamline this operation,

“Imagine an inventory clerk at a distribution center who is fielding orders from the internet and then aggregating them to various drivers. The drivers have an access-controlled area to pick up their order via their code, essentially providing compliance tracking showing exactly when product leaves the facility.” 

 

The Software

While the hardware is impressive, the software is what really sets Grasshopper apart. Similar to the online shopping experience, at the kiosks customers use a large touch-screen display to shop and build a shopping cart of products available. When their shopping cart is complete and paid, whether it’s one item or multiple items, the machine dispenses all of their products at once.

Two years into developing, Kaufman said it is constantly evolving as compliance continues to change and rules improve. The software controls and authorizes the entire purchasing process, plus tracks all the data for sales reports and compliance. Completely customizable via remote management, managers can program discounts, promotions, advertisements and even control time of day shutdown and operation.

While automated kiosks could never entirely replace a knowledgeable budtender, they clearly have their niche in the legal cannabis space. Kiosks can save consumers and sales staff valuable time, providing a quick, simple alternate purchase method. In addition, as back-end inventory control, Grasshopper kiosks and Lockers provide an extra layer of security and tracking.