At the moment, the marijuana industry is still a cash-only business model. It’s illegal to possess and/or sell marijuana in most states, and some banks are still wary about investing in cannabis companies even in states where medical and recreational use is legal. This means that debit and credit cards cannot be used to purchase medicinal marijuana, and handling this much cash puts a lot of dispensaries and their customers at risk.
So how are dispensaries rising up to meet this challenge?
Using software specifically designed with the marijuana industry in mind is one way suppliers, manufacturers, dispensaries, and users are all protecting themselves and their businesses. But this is more than just social media. You can’t just post pictures of your strains on Instagram to advertise your product, and with federal regulation still plaguing the industry, new software developers are working to meet the demand for new kinds of confidential currency exchange and marketing.
What Kind of Software are We Talking about?
Last week, we discussed the desperate move on Massroots part to embrace blockchain and improve the company’s overall growth. It’s also an attempt to improve the back-end experience for dispensaries and their customers. But with the impetus around cryptocurrency so volatile, only time will tell if this was a smart business move or not.
In the meantime, Massroots seems to be aware of the delicate nature of this process. CEO Isaac Dietrich recently told Leafly, “MassRoots has been making significant investments to our technical infrastructures that we expect to create substantial shareholder value.” These investments go beyond the development of their own coin. It includes improvements to their blockchain program that address the technical needs of their point-of-sale system and the verification of their peer-to-peer transactions, all of which will directly affect the dispensaries.
Other developers are stepping away from blockchain and cryptocurrency altogether. CanPay offers a cashless way to pay for medical and recreational marijuana without using digital money mediums. The app directly connects with users’ bank accounts, and dispensaries and retailers can accept payment directly from the app without the use of debit or credit card transactions. This eliminates the cash problems associated with the industry, and retailers can protect themselves while the legal matters work themselves out in D.C.
But what about a piece of tech that does the best of both worlds? Is there software that makes payment easy like CanPay and also boosts marketing and consumer relations like Massroots?
The answer is yes.
Springbig is a marketing software tool that directly connects with dispensaries’ POS systems and social media to do everything from advertising to establishing monetary customer reward programs. Last year they raised over $6 million to expand their technology developments, and they recently teamed up with Leafbuyer and Dispensarly to improve their customer acquisition programs. All of this is in an attempt to validate the industry and its retailers.
What makes Springbig so unique in this regard is the way they connect the marijuana industry with marijuana users. Dispensaries can take advantage of Springbig’s app and text their customers directly about sales and promotions. This reduces the risk of retaliation that public advertising can bring, and it builds a relationship between the customer and the retailer. That relationship is very important in a business where traditional methods of advertising aren’t guaranteed.
Of course, these are only a few of the software developers working to improve the reputation of the marijuana industry. But it goes to show how technology can and probably will be the game-changer for businesses as the country continues to move toward legalization.