Dispensaries Need Multi-location Inventory Management

Multi-location inventory management is critical for dispensaries. Cannabis stores must run a POS and inventory management system that can track product stock across multiple locations. Record keeping done by the management software must account for cross location product movements and sales from different inventories.

This applies to single location dispensaries as well as larger chain stores. In other words, multi-location inventory management doesn’t necessarily mean physically separate stores. Locations are defined by inventory management units. Take for example, this small dispensary. It consists of five inventory management units:

  • Main Warehouse / Processing area
  • Off-site Safe
  • Back of Store
  • Front of Store
  • Online Store

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Having multi-location inventory management keeps your product stock safe. If one location experiences theft or robbery, your losses will be minimized. Control and visibility is increased if your inventory management software tracks transfers, losses, purchases, and sales of inventory properly at each step. With that information, dispensary operators can see exactly what stock amounts are lost at what point along the product chain. This actionable data can help dispensaries cut losses and gain more revenue.

When choosing a software package to manage your dispensary there are several things to look out for:

  • Does the POS allow you to design your business’s inventory flow and manage stock the way you want? Or is the system structured in a particular way so that you need to change your inventory structure to adapt to the system? A good robust POS/administrative system conforms to the way you do business, not the other way around.
  • Can the POS track your inventory accurately throughout every step of the supply chain? Transfers, supply orders, and sales need to be instantly and accurately reflected in the POS/administrative software’s inventory tracking system whenever a stock movement occurs.
  • is the POS simple to use? How quickly can you edit/add/delete products, pricing, product categories, or make/fill purchase orders? An efficient and streamlined POS should be designed in a way that allows for these operations to be completed quickly with minimum navigation within the system. Daily operations should be easy and quick, no matter how complex the underlying code is; this speaks to good product design.
  • Is the POS easy to learn? This is closely tied to the prior point. Nobody wants to spend extra time teaching employees how to use a POS when they purchase the software. Ideally the new system should be approachable for someone with zero tech experience and simple enough to use so that on-boarding the new tech should only take a couple days to get your employees trained.

Besides these points, another important thing to look for in a software package for your dispensary is how adaptable the POS company is. Unless the program is absolutely immaculate and perfect in every way, the software must be structured to be adaptable and evolve according to either your dispensary’s growth or the rapidly changing legal atmosphere. Customization is key. Because of how uniquely dynamic the cannabis industry in Canada is, your business management solution needs to always be able to keep up with how fast the world is spinning.

Dispensary Internal Security with Event Logs

However, recording and tracking every action in your store creates a vastly unmanageable list. The key to a great event logging system for dispensary internal security is readability.

In summary, proper event logs should track all of the following:

  • What type of item was moved (tracking is not limited to products and can include cash movements and shift start/end)
  • Type of action performed (know if an action is a sale, transfer, update, purchase, or loss)
  • Time stamps for every action (see exactly when actions are performed to the second)
  • Employee tags for every action (understand who is accountable for that action)
  • Locational tags for all product movements (know where product is bought, sold, and transferred from)
  • Can assign additional notes to actions (for increased detail on why an action is performed)
  • Ability to filter by locations, employees, and products. (be able to find what you want when you want it)

Not only is event log tracking critical for smooth dispensary operations, it is also necessary for future compliance. it’s best to track absolutely everything if you feel any uncertainty about what compliance reporting requirements will be.

Be prepared to provide your cannabis governing agency any data they may demand of you. Diligent dispensary owners would get started with event logging as soon as possible. Having robust historical records will save you the pain of scouring excel files and manually creating reports.

A proper POS should be able to provide excellent dispensary internal security with event logs automatically.

Dispensary First Impressions

Dispensary First Impressions

How to make lifetime customers

Dispensary first impressions are key to attracting and retaining customers. Potential customers first encounter the storefront before even walking in. Therefore, the design and feel of your dispensary will need to be welcoming and attractive to entice potential customers. Having visited more than a hundred dispensaries in the past few years, I have found that there is a “sketchiness factor” that directly affects my desire to enter an establishment.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid. These things contribute to an uneasy, intimidating feeling that drives your customers away:
  • Visible security measures: barred windows, buzzer locks on doors, blackout blinds, security guards at the door, etc.
  • People loitering and smoking cannabis at the front door.
  • Poorly maintained storefronts: dusty windows, cracked glass, dirty signage, etc.
Good dispensary first impressions that create inviting and comfortable environments tend to have the following traits:
  • Large windows with good interior lighting.
  • Open, non-claustrophobic spaces.
  • Clean furniture, walls, and floors
  • Good ventilation and clean air inside the dispensary
    dispensary first impressions
    Uncluttered, open concept spaces with ample lighting make for a positive dispensary experience that creates repeat customers.

Create a welcoming space within your dispensary to draw potential customers. Firstly, the client must feel safe. Customers won’t enter if they don’t feel that your establishment is a safe space. Unfortunately, the legal atmosphere surrounding cannabis is still not 100% friendly. Because of this, many people still fear running into legal/criminal trouble while buying cannabis. Your store should be designed to put the customer at ease by fostering a healthy atmosphere with its physical appearance. The best stores convey to the client “we’re 100% transparent” through store appearance alone.

Employee-Customer Relations

The second thing that makes for good dispensary first impressions is the signup process. Never underestimate the power of friendly face time. Sure, leaving your customers clipboards with vague medical checkboxes may do the job. But stores can invest time and effort in polishing their signup process to great effect. Excellent customer on-boarding is a personal experience. It’s important to create that valuable connection between staff and client.

dispensary first impressions
Interactions with your budtenders shape the customer experience. Never underestimate the power of the first contact.

There are some telltale signs of a quality onboarding process. Signing papers and verifying ID should be quick and painless. Dispensaries that do this best will cover their legal obligations in a timely, efficient manner. Ideally, a store will minimize the time between signup and viewing products. Key to this process is a POS that can onboard customers within minutes right at the counter. You should be able to add customers into your database quickly and easily with webcam picture taking and simple digital forms.

However, the most important factor that makes for a good signup experience is employee-customer interaction. A passionate, informed employee is a dispensary’s best tool in retaining customer business. Providing recommendations, understanding a client’s unique needs, and providing clear product explanations make loyal, lifetime customers.

Never underestimate simple things like small talk; conversation can let employees figure out what products the customer may like while building relationships. It is these positive personal experiences that bring customers back for their second visit.