The tasks that software automates tend to be mundane and time consuming. Cannabis dispensary software automates some of those mundane and time-consuming parts of running a cannabis dispensary, especially when it comes to Track and Trace. This automation allows dispensary employees to focus on improving other parts of the business while maintaining a good customer experience.
Five ways software helps cannabis dispensaries
In this article, we share the benefits of using software that:
Makes patient and customer registration easy
Ensures budtenders don’t sell to underage customers
Stops budtenders from overselling to customers
Automatically reports to your traceability system
Makes it easy to manage and audit inventory
1. Easy and Compliant Customer Registration
Software can help streamline the customer and patient registration process. Gone are the days where receptionists had to handwrite all of the customer and patient information.
Imagine going to a doctor’s office. Typically, there are many forms that need to be filled out, IDs that need to be checked, and information that needs to be verified. In many states, visiting a medical dispensary is similar to a doctor’s visit. Cannabis dispensary software can simplify this by auto-filling information with the swipe of an ID. Plus, an efficient registration process improves the customer experience because customers won’t have to wait as long.
Software can also verify each patient’s medical status and patient card. Dispensaries can even build in programs to the software to notify customers months before their medical card expires, so they may renew them before coming in. In some states, there is a state registry where every medical patient must register. Software can check that database in real-time to verify that person’s medical cannabis card status during check-in and the sale.
2. Age and Transaction Limits
Many cannabis dispensaries train their staff on ID verification. Even with training, there are always situations where budtenders misread and miscalculate dates and sell to underage customers, resulting in a fine or even putting the store’s license at risk. Software can completely remove this risk by having staff swipe IDs to verify them.
One of the easiest ways to lose your cannabis dispensary license is to oversell to customers. With robust dispensary software, an owner can oversee every single transaction and trust the software to automatically prevent non-compliant sales. In other words, the software puts in protections to error-proof many aspects of the business. It can calculate in real time how much product can be sold to a particular customer, which reduces or completely eliminates the risk of human error when selling. With dispensary software, gone are the days of employees manually calculating transaction limits and having to worry about overselling.
3. Track and Trace
Dispensary software that is integrated with the state traceability system also ensures proper seed to sale traceability, or track and trace, reporting. While budtenders must prevent over-selling, every sale must also be sent to the state in real time or at the end of the day for tracking purposes. This gets complicated with multiple tracking numbers and products that are associated with particular plants. With thousands of items and transactions, the likelihood of error increases exponentially—especially when managed manually. When sales are rung up on the register, a POS that integrates with the state traceability system recognizes what the government is tracking and automatically sends reports to the state traceability system error-free and without human intervention.
Each item in a dispensary should get a specific barcode that identifies what it is and tracks what the state needs to know about that product.
Let’s say a retailer is selling pre-packaged eighths of cannabis. In inventory, that one product makes up three and a half grams of cannabis, but the state looks at it as three and a half grams of product from Plant A. Robust dispensary software would then create a barcode that represents that specific association. Then, from the moment product is received, all anyone has to do is scan a barcode and all seed-to-sale tracking is automatically recorded by the dispensary POS. The entire store can then operate faster checkouts with accurate data reported to the state.
This can also be applied to inventory. If a dispensary is doing an inventory audit, rather than manually count packages or products, employees just need to scan all the various products and allow the software to do the calculations. If anything is lost, an inventory person can report it to the government along with the reason it went missing.
The key is to take human error out of the equation. When a product is received, there’s an important process of associating how the product is mapped into the traceability system. From that point going forward, it’s just a matter of scanning barcodes.
A downside to being in such a young industry is that some suppliers may not barcode items. In this situation, dispensaries may need to print barcodes for the items they stock. However, the total amount of time saved by barcoding everything coming into the store is a lot more cost effective than the amount of time needed to manually record and report everything being sold in the store. It’s front loading the work, so errors and total work are reduced dramatically overall.
It’s surprisingly difficult for people to count hundreds of products. People double count or miss items all the time. Software makes the use of barcodes extremely accurate.
Software also adds the benefit of helping retailers know what to audit and when. A retailer for example, carrying over 300 different cannabis products, each with different state package IDs, has difficulty counting everything. Cannabis dispensary software like Green Bits learns and predicts which items in a store will need to be audited and when. It uses algorithms to predict which items are more likely to be off in inventory and will automate the auditing of those high-priority items on a more regular basis. It then tells staff which items need to be audited on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis to keep accurate records.
Software can also group products together, such as a box of 100 eighth bags. This way a staff member doing inventory wouldn’t need to count every single package, they could just scan one barcode on a box. This feature stretches even further if multiple items are boxed together in back-stock, making it easier to scan boxes rather than hundreds of individual products.
In this article, we shared how dispensary software can:
Make patient and customer registration easy by auto-filling information after scanning IDs.
Ensure budtenders don’t sell to underage customers by automatically blocking a sale if the customer isn’t over a certain age.
Stop budtenders from overselling to customers by automatically enforcing transaction limits.
Automatically report to your traceability system by integrating with systems like Metrc, Leaf Data Systems, and BioTrack.
Make it easy to manage and audit inventory by sharing and implementing best practices such as barcoding all products and ensuring all products correctly map to the state traceability system.