B2B platforms are a lucrative tier in e-commerce technology that differs from the typical business-to-consumer model most people think of when they are thinking of shopping online. Instead of selling directly to a customer, B2B specializes in the wholesale selling of products to individual businesses or retailers.
When it comes to cannabis, B2B platforms can connect retailers with an extensive network of brands and wholesalers. Many cannabis businesses have to be up and running within days following new legalization laws. This means having product on shelves, which can be difficult if said products were considered illegal only weeks before. B2B platforms bridge that gap and can help cannabis businesses streamline their business model fairly quickly in a new market.
Which pot stocks are streamlining cannabis with B2B?
Last week, Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSXV:RIV) announced a collaboration with Leaflink, Inc. The two companies will be working together to leverage Leaflink’s existing B2B platforms for the international cannabis market in a new venture aptly called Leaflink Services International.
“The number of brands and products within our new cannabis economy has been explosive, making it difficult for retailers to deal with multiple parties in an increasingly fragmented market,” explained Canopy Rivers President Narbe Alexandrian in a statement last week. “As regulated cannabis consumption and distribution proliferates around the world, LeafLink International will introduce the industry’s leading SaaS-enabled marketplace to the global stage to create a new standard for expediting the cannabis supply chain in regulated markets.”
Leaflink currently operates the largest online marketplace for wholesale cannabis. They connect more than 950 cannabis brands with thousands of cannabis retailers in the U.S., and they offer customer relationship and inventory management services on top of its product and brand menus. More than $900 million worth of product flows through Leaflink’s marketplace every year.
Through this new joint venture, Canopy Rivers has an exclusive license for Leaflink’s platform in all non-U.S. marketplaces and will integrate their own network of cannabis companies into Leaflink’s existing Rolodex. The goal is to extend their wholesale reach into the global cannabis community, and the platform has already launched in certain Canadian markets.
Eaze, the pot delivery company based out of California, is another brand tapping into the ease of cannabis B2B. In October, Eaze co-founder Keith McCarty raised $5 million in seed financing for his new company WAYV. WAYV is a B2B platform that connects California-based retailers with California-based brands, promising next day delivery and real-time inventory updates.
B2B takes the confusion out of cannabis
Although more locally-based than Leaflink International, WAYV is touching on what is most important to the regulated cannabis market: trust and transparency. As cannabis laws and regulations change, retailers need to know that they are buying a licensed, regulated product from a licensed, regulated brand. At the same time, customers need to know that they can trust their favorite dispensaries. That is where B2B technology comes in.
“Technology is highly scalable, it's highly replicable, you can ensure certain behavior, and also provide the transparency along the way,” McCarty said on a podcast interview back in January. “So trust and transparency kind of go hand-in-hand just to how we look at it. One, we need to do and deliver on what we say . . . and then we need to provide them transparency and update them along the way. That's both on the retailer and the brand side.”
Both WAYV and Leaflink work to protect retailers and consumers by ensuring that the brands in their marketplaces are adhering to any state and international cannabis laws. The automated technology will automatically update with regulatory, as well as inventory, changes to keep retailers as up-to-date as possible.
What’s on the horizon for cannabis B2B?
On April 13, Eaze will be sponsoring the 2019 State of Cannabiz Conference in Los Angeles. The event will be a legislative update and B2B expo with speakers across the spectrum of cannabis, including CEOs, consultants, and brand ambassadors. Investors interested in the future of B2B in the cannabis market should note which trends this upcoming conference touches on and how that will affect the future growth of cannabis technology.