How this cannabis tech firm is placing information right at your budtender's fingertips
When it comes to customer relationships and brand management, the cannabis industry is in a unique position. Retail tools and other CRM software exist to track seed-to-sale and increase conversion, but there is a new demand growing among dispensary owners and their employees. In an industry where knowledge is one of the most valuable commodities, cannabis employees need a way to connect and share their unique experiences with cannabis brands.
Budtenders—the title given to cannabis employees working the dispensary counter—are often the ones to make the final sale. According to a study completed by Best in Grow, a software company based in Colorado, budtenders dictated over 90 percent of what customers bought from the dispensary. And as cannabis starts to come out of the dark and enter into more and more retail markets, these budtenders are going to play an increasingly important role in the way we all shop for legal pot.
A new kind of cannabis software for a new type of retail experience
After recognizing the critical role these budtenders are starting to play in the cannabis industry, the team at Best in Grow came up with a retail solution. The tech company launched its version of brand management software in March, introducing the first ever people-centric software tool to cannabis.
“We wanted to give the dispensary professional tools they need to run a smooth, compliant, customer-centric environment,” Jake Levin, co-founder and COO of Best in Grow, told PotNetwork. “It’s a tool that budtenders can use every day. We built it closely to Facebook, and it functions like a social network. We wanted to build something that feels familiar.”
The Best in Grow technology does feel familiar, but not in the way people may expect. It is not a point-of-sale or seed-to-sale tracking software. While it can easily be integrated into these types of programs, it works as a social network that connects budtenders with fellow employees and managers, as well as with the brands that are on their dispensary shelves.
With the new software, budtenders now have product knowledge right at their fingertips. They can share their personal experiences with certain brands across different dispensaries, ask for product feedback, track sales trends, and ultimately garner a better understanding of which particular products customers desire. Dispensaries and brands both can then modify their sales approach to meet the needs of their customers better.
Understanding the evolving role of the dispensary budtender
Best in Grow is at the forefront of an evolution in cannabis retail. Dispensaries are not the typical retail store, and budtenders are not the average retail employee. CRM and other retail software programs are working to keep up with the evolving role of the budtender, and the team at Best in Grow is doing their part to help reframe the way the cannabis market looks at these employees.
“People work in dispensaries because they love weed and want to share their knowledge,” Jake explained. “And brands are obsessed with winning over the hearts and minds of these budtenders.”
This puts a unique responsibility on the shoulders of the budtender. These retail employees represent a source of knowledge for customers re-discovering cannabis in a legal sphere. They are not only representing the dispensary where they work, but they are also representing the products with which they have the most experience. And it is this experience that has the power to influence the customer’s shopping decisions.
“It’s all about what you touch, feel, and who you talk to,” Jake said. “It’s less like a retail outlet and more of a place to discover cannabis.”
What happens when the budtender does not have experience with a certain product? This is where Best in Grow steps in. Budtenders can connect through the network and get insight from other budtenders or even the brands themselves. With the new software, Best in Grow is encouraging budtenders to share their knowledge and their experiences with one another to improve the whole dispensary experience for the customer.
Looking to the future of cannabis retail
Best in Grow’s new brand management software is a dispensary management software, too. Employees can connect through the network, but the network is also designed to manage schedules, assign tasks, and otherwise maintain the administrative side of the dispensary itself. In the coming months, the team will be launching new sales tracking tools that can help budtenders stay on top of their sales goals and keep track of which products customers are buying.
Moving forward, Best in Grow will be pioneering a new kind of educational tool that Jake describes as “native learning.” It takes budtender training to the next level by providing hands-on workshops and management training that pulls from the budtenders’ daily experiences to improve the way they learn from one another.
At the end of the day, Best in Grow is designed to be a knowledge-sharing tool. As the market expands and the expectations around budtenders start to change, a social network of knowledge will be one crucial way dispensaries can stay on top of the latest trends.