In 2021, 60% of cannabis purchases were delivered which is a 50% increase from 2020. With that type of sales growth, any dispensary, whether retail or medical, not offering a delivery service is missing out on thousands of dollars in revenue, while also running the risk of losing clients to businesses that offer a delivery service. Having a cannabis delivery option is necessary in today’s market. Not realizing delivery isn’t as simple as it seems, many dispensary owners try to implement one themselves. This is especially true when delivering a Schedule 1 narcotic.
From managing drivers to adhering to state regulations to building a robust app, adding a delivery service can feel like a second full-time job. And which dispensary owner has time for that? Thankfully, there has been innovation in every vertical in the cannabis industry, and when it comes to implementing a delivery and logistics service, it’s no different.
With tons of options, what should cannabis retailers look for when considering a third-party option to manage delivery?
Cannabis delivery is a relatively new vertical, but logistics have been around forever. Partnering with a company that has experience in logistics, supply chain, and chain of custody is critical to a successful cannabis delivery service.
Dispensary owners must be sure to gauge their new partners on their understanding of logistics and the cannabis industry. Besides compliance, understanding how to move products efficiently and quickly is the name of the cannabis delivery game. There’s always risk in any new business relationship, but in a complicated and heavily regulated industry finding a third party with logistics experience will prevent future problems.
An app that gives customers an excellent experience is essential when adding a delivery service to your dispensary. An app filled with issues and bugs will cause potential customers to find another business for their cannabis delivery. The more clean, robust, and user-friendly the app, the more likely you’ll have repeat customers.
The delivery technology that a third party brings to your business needs to integrate with point-of-sale systems and state-authorized seed-to-sale platforms to not only accurately manage inventory, but to provide a seamless shopping experience, cost-effective driver dispatch, and instant payment processing. Look carefully at your vendor’s capabilities. If all of this sounds like a lot, it is! It’s all necessary for a successful cannabis delivery operation. But that’s not all the delivery technology needs to accomplish. Knowing how long and when a delivery will arrive makes life easier for the customer and the dispensary owner. It also ensures dispensaries stay compliant with local laws and regulations that require the tracking of cannabis products. This makes having accurate GPS tracking software imperative to the delivery experience.
The most important part of any cannabis delivery is staying compliant with regulations. Cannabis retailers who attempt delivery on their own need to ensure their drivers understand these laws. Additionally, dispensary owners need to enforce them. Some states require handhelds for payment upon delivery. Is a lockbox in each vehicle required to store the cannabis product while being driven to customers’ locations? Can one driver make a delivery or do state regulations demand two people in the car?
When using a third-party logistics company, dispensary owners shouldn’t have to stress over any of these compliance issues, as the outsourced delivery business should handle any regulatory concerns. This dramatically reduces the risks of any violations, not to mention, lessening the stress on the dispensary owner.
Data, Data, and Data
A delivery platform should provide insights into each delivery. The data collected can be used to increase efficiency and lower costs for the dispensary. For example, if there’s a gate with a passcode, there are third-party delivery services that allow drivers to amend instructions and/or add details to help drivers complete delivery without having to contact the customer. This saves time and creates a seamless experience for the dispensary, the customer, and of course, the driver.
As mentioned previously, data can track delivery times and provide real-time updates for customers and dispensary owners ensuring the business stays accurate and compliant. Other data can aid in advertising efforts by allowing dispensary owners to geofence certain areas to offer products according to sales data collected from the cannabis delivery platform.
Many dispensary owners who implement a delivery service themselves “leave meat on the bone” by missing out on these data points. That can be the difference between a thriving delivery service and an average one.
Outsourcing Cannabis Delivery
By outsourcing cannabis delivery, cannabis retailers can focus more on giving dispensary visitors a unique experience filled with excellent product offerings without worrying about the stresses and logistics of delivering cannabis.
Stick to Your Core Business
A fitting example of this strategy is the use of food delivery services by many restaurants across the country. Whether a national chain or a mom-and-pop shop, many restaurants use Uber Eats, Door Dash, or similar services to deliver their products to customers’ doorsteps. These restaurants wanted to stick to their core business, but not miss out on expanding their offering in an extremely competitive market. That’s why they outsourced food delivery. Dispensaries must outsource as well because running a delivery service is like running another business.
Using a third-party delivery service alleviates a dispensary owner’s need to manage drivers and dispatch, maintain vehicles, source insurance, and handle orders. They also ensure dispensary owners can not only compete in a competitive industry, by gaining insights to earn more revenue and achieve more efficiency in their operations and at the same time, but also eliminate headaches.