The Pop’s Cannabis team is comprised of a great deal of industry-leading talent when it comes to technology, retail management, and cannabis knowledge and expertise. The owners of Pop’s Cannabis got an early start in finance education over the years from their parents. Their fathers really helped them along the way, so they chose to honour them by naming their cannabis retail stores across Ontario, Pop’s Cannabis.
Change is always constant in new and evolving industries and the cannabis industry is a prime example and while it may not be easy, most often it’s necessary and with it comes growth, experience, and an ability to refine your focus and pivot when necessary. This holds especially true for the Pop’s Cannabis management team who, prior to legalization in Canada, have served in the retail, hospitality and cannabis industries.
The Pop’s Cannabis team is authentic, and this is shown in their ability to prioritize people and experience when making decisions. They aspire to provide a quick, convenient, and simple approach to the cannabis retail space in the communities they are a part of, so customers can easily access all their cannabis needs. They are a trusted resource for educating staff and customers with a high level of cannabis knowledge.
Training staff so they are comfortable with the process of operations is critical not only to stay compliant, but to effectively sell and maintain consistent sales growth. As budtenders are always consumer-facing, they require a great deal of knowledge that not only extends to the varying types of cannabis knowledge, but they must also ensure that legal requirements and regulatory protocols that are in place are understood, taken seriously, and enforced at all times.
With the store owners’ operating license on the line, it’s imperative that cannabis retail staff are well-trained with these factors in mind. Greenline makes it easy for retailers by having automated functionality in place at the point of sale to conform with compliance regulations such as age restrictions and the Canada-wide 30-gram weight limit.
With each new store opening, Pop’s Cannabis developed a training plan where they ensure all new staff members are confident, not only with the POS system, but with the full retail sales framework. Budtenders, in addition to acquiring cannabis knowledge, need to learn the nuances of retail, how to talk to customers, how to sell product, how to overcome objections in sales, learn regulations, and much more. It’s an endless list of retail duties which includes the ability to connect with your customers and keep them coming back. You can teach anyone about cannabis products and retail strategy but it’s the human factor, the ability to engage, educate, and connect with consumers within their community that will define the path to increasing sales and effectiveness. When hiring new employees, Ryan Black, Senior Brand Manager for Pop’s Cannabis, offers some useful advice,
“We always look for character first, who that person is at their core and if they are able to have an authentic conversation. Will they make the investment to genuinely connect with our guests. Those are the kind of skills we look for when hiring. You don’t have to necessarily be a guru of cannabis to be a budtender, and it’s obviously very helpful if they do have that, but a lot of that can be taught. The important thing is you always want to look for budtenders who are willing to learn.”
Setting up their budtenders for success from day 1 is very important, Pop’s Cannabis implemented a training program for all new employees. The training program covers everything from policies, procedures, and compliance to cannabis training. The staff are also guided through ‘a day in the life of a budtender’ where they have an opportunity to use the Greenline POS software prior to starting in their new roles. Budtenders learn how to build baskets, how to search for products, how to pull up the product details and more. Pop’s Cannabis came up with a clever game of ‘Guess Who’ for budtenders to associate their customized menu with the various strains and properties. This method provides an avenue to help budtenders learn what questions to ask the customer regarding their preferences starting with consumption method, strain type, past experience(s), THC/CBD value, and what the customer is looking to experience with their cannabis use. Ryan says,
“These open-ended questions allow for a dialogue between guest and staff providing effective collaboration in selecting products best suited for each unique guest.”
Much of the ease-of-use of the system, for budtenders at the point of sale, lies in managing the flexibility in the initial catalogue setup at the back of house.
When setting up the catalogue on the back end, Greenline allows for categories to be colour-coded so different products can be found instantly. Pop’s Cannabis deliberately set up their training so that it aligns perfectly with Greenline and their customer model. Ryan adds,
“It’s a really easy platform to teach someone how to use. The one comment that we constantly hear from our budtenders is how everything is so easy to find in the system”.
The strength of any POS system lies not only in the strength of its features, integrations, and ease-of-use, but also in the strength and speed of its support network to answer your questions and keep you operational and compliant. Lorne Weinberg, Senior Operations Manager for Pop’s Cannabis, said,
“When we were searching for a POS system, we went with not only what was familiar to our team, but also a system that provided the solutions we required. We really like the story of what Greenline is, a fully-compliant, scalable system with a focus on delivering operational simplicity to Canadian retailers. Greenline has a flexible technology system with the capability of producing ongoing enhancements to suit cannabis-specific retailers.
This is what made us jump on Greenline in the first place. We’re happy to be a part of what Greenline changed into because now it helps us manage our business from anywhere, and we can see the numbers that we want to see, and report them the way we want to report them. It’s a phenomenal system.”
When asked about support provided by the Greenline team Lorne says,
“Greenline Support is great, they let me know what progress is being made on whatever the issue is, and I can honestly say that I’ve never been happier working with another company to help me manage my own.”
Pop’s Cannabis monitors and streamlines their operations using the full functionality of the Greenline software. Some of the team members, in the early days of legalization, were instrumental in helping to build out some of the Greenline features to improve their business operations, which in turn, benefits all cannabis retailers using Greenline.
“Easily, probably one of the best features, Ryan says, is the parked sale barcode validation, because it’s an important feature for keeping our inventory clean and it prevents our team from making mis-picks.”
“Our operations manager holds all staff accountable at about an 85% scan rate and he audits them on a weekly basis where he tells each budtender what their scan rates are. It usually goes hand in hand where the budtenders that have more errors also have the lowest scan rates.”
Using the parked sale barcode validation feature in Greenline, budtenders can scan or manually validate the barcodes before setting an order as ‘ready for pickup, which improves accuracy when picking products and fulfilling orders. This is particularly important in the cannabis industry since much of the packaging is very similar, so it’s easy for someone to choose the wrong product when packing an order. If there is a missing product, over- or under-quantity, or an incorrect product, the Greenline system will let the budtender know. This information is shown when tracking online orders and the customer receives a text message once the order is marked as ‘ready for pickup’.
Pop’s Cannabis developed a creative approach to customer retention, while being mindful of Ontario marketing regulations, by creating a customer club. ‘Pop’s Culture Club’ is a program designed to attract customers, educate, and build a strong relationship base. Along with industry information on their website, Pop’s has educational offerings on how to use, and get the best use of, the products they sell. The Pops’ Culture Club helps them build lasting relationships with local consumers and provides an opportunity to share their latest news, offerings, and deals.
With 2 digital monitors in each of their locations to showcase their menus, Pop’s Cannabis uses Dutchie for their eCommerce platform coupled with BudSense for menu management creating a perfect combination to strengthen the effectiveness of both online and in-house ordering and sales. BudSense complements Greenline’s online integration partners by providing customizable digital and print cannabis menus synced directly to Greenline POS with full access to real-time customization and support.
Ryan Black commented on how the integrations have worked out really well for them and that they also use the Alpine IQ software system to achieve the functionality of their membership program for their customers, so they have an easy way to track customers, thank them for their business, and offer to have them sign up for the Pop’s Culture Club membership program.
In unison with Greenline reporting, Pop’s uses the Headset analytics platform to generate reports on industry data and high-level numbers most useful for ownership groups or backend staff managing inventory. The data provided by headset allows retailers to leverage their data in several useful ways including making comparisons with overall market trends in their regions.
For detailed cannabis information, Pop’s Cannabis uses both Leafly and Weedmaps with much success. Both of these resources provide consumers with information about strains, retailer locations, and current events. Directories are an extremely valuable way to put your store on the map and to help educate budtenders and customers.
As a result of their industry expertise, Pop’s previously used Weedmaps, so they were quite pleased when Greenline built an integration with Weedmaps for live online menus as it has always been a strong source for consumers to find a cannabis shop.
Pop’s Cannabis is no stranger to new store openings with 9 new locations across Ontario, open since June, and continued expansion planned for more stores this year and into next year.
To successfully scale their business, Pop’s Cannabis carefully built out an effective and high-performing team with a diverse set of skills and experience in retail, hospitality and cannabis.
They developed a solid formula to set up each of their stores as efficiently as possible, all while maintaining a consistent brand image and style.
Their cleverly designed service model features a well-thought out and highly curated menu which combines as an effective tool to both educate and help their customers make product selections, both in-house and online, providing a convenient and quick shopping experience.
Pop’s Cannabis trusts Greenline POS, with its reliable support system and powerful network of partners and integrations, to streamline and grow their operations. These are important factors to ensure the success of your business but no matter what size store, or how many stores you intend to open, ongoing success is ultimately reliant on having skilled employees to carry out your retail strategy and a well-supported, compliant, and easy-to-use POS system like Greenline.
With their smart service model and well-trained budtenders, Pop’s Cannabis makes it convenient for you to learn and to find what you want so you can easily ‘Pop in and Pop out’ to get your ‘Flower in a Flash’.
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By Lisa Martyn | Greenline, a BLAZE® company