Dispensaries of all sizes are seriously considering adding a delivery service to their offerings. This article will provide the information and tools to weigh your options and ensure the launch of your delivery service goes smoothly.
Does it make sense to provide delivery services?
Hopefully, your dispensary is running smoothly, having already gained the financial traction it needs to begin expanding. However, no matter what stage your business is at, failing to stay ahead of market trends and embrace easy-to-use tools can permanently leave your cannabis business in the dust.
The prominent and rising trend in the cannabis industry and throughout the consumer market has been delivery services. With Amazon leading the way, dispensaries and e-commerce platforms are taking advantage of this massive opportunity to offer customers a higher level of service and more ways to purchase cannabis.
But delivery services are not an alternative that will do away with dispensaries. Instead, they're proving to be quite complimentary. Many new customers like the in-store experience because they can ask questions and take a look at products before committing to a purchase. Even some veteran customers still prefer to talk with their favorite local budtender about the latest products and what new trends are taking off in the cannabis space. Dispensaries offer a tactile and interactive experience online ordering platforms are unlikely to be displaced anytime soon.
However, many customers—especially frequent and loyal ones—find constantly driving to a dispensary inconvenient. Others simply prefer a more discreet shopping experience. They don't want to be seen walking into a dispensary because of the stigma many associate with cannabis. In addition, many medical marijuana patients don't have the resources or mobility to travel to a cannabis merchant, making delivery options a godsend.
In an on-demand world filled with companies like Postmates and Uber, customers recognize that the technology exists to make buying cannabis easy. If anything, many consumers find it frustrating that progress has been stalled so much by regulatory roadblocks.
For this reason, dispensaries of all sizes are seriously considering adding a delivery service to their offerings. This article will provide the information and tools to weigh your options and ensure the launch of your delivery service goes smoothly.
Is there a way to test the waters before delivering cannabis goods?
Just like with any new tweak to your business, it's best to incrementally introduce new offerings in the proper order. Testing your hyperlocal market with an online ordering and pickup service is an excellent way to see whether or not a delivery service might appeal to your current and prospective customers. Alt Thirty Six is currently integrating loyalty programs that will allow you to track in-store and online orders to launch future marketing campaigns via text. Once you're ready to beta test your delivery service, targeting such campaigns at specific customer groups you think are most likely to request delivery is the best way to learn and adapt as you grow.
When you offer customers a delivery service, revenues dramatically increase by an average of 15% in the first 60 days. However, there are state laws, logistics, and startup costs to consider. Applying a smart strategy and using Alt Thirty Six will allow you to reduce many of those costs and maintain operational scalability. This is because Alt Thirty Six improves cash flow, eliminates the hidden costs of running a cash-only delivery service, and encourages customers to purchase more products at a greater volume with greater frequency.
Before you take any concrete steps to integrate a delivery service into your dispensary's offerings, take a look at your state website's current cannabis laws. California has special stipulations about procedures your delivery drivers have to follow. For instance, drivers must pass state-mandated background checks, and the value of all cannabis goods in a vehicle at one time can not exceed $5,000. Before the driver leaves your dispensary, at least one active online order has to be completed, and the driver must carry a delivery inventory ledger of all cannabis goods.
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Make sure drivers are also savvy to your business' standard operating procedures (SOP's) and state regulations. They should also have a strong familiarity with your brand and your products since they will be isolated with minimal oversight. They won't have any coworkers or managers to help them answer questions and manage the sales process in realtime. For this reason, it's a sound idea to hire delivery drivers from within your business. An experienced budtender who takes a noticeable initiative in their duties might be the perfect candidate. Such an individual has already gained a broader understanding of your business and familiarity with your clientele.
Your dispensary must also be the owner of any vehicles you use for your delivery service. Regulations don't currently allow for a delivery model like Postmates or Uber Eats. There's no ability to temporarily hire one driver as a contractor to complete one batch of deliveries. You need to hire the driver directly. If you decide to use an online platform to accept orders, it will simply connect you with customers requesting deliveries.
What payment options are available for delivery?
You'll also want to think about the logistics of accepting payments. Having your driver accept direct cash payments comes with a series of downsides. First off, it's a risky proposition. Once they've delivered the maximum amount allowed in one trip away from the dispensary, they'll have $5,000 in cash sitting in their car. This makes them a greater target for burglary and theft as they fulfill each order—putting drivers in harm's way. Whats more, it's contradictory to ask a customer for cash when they've requested a delivery. Doing so requires the customer to drive to an ATM, rendering your delivery service just as inconvenient as planning a trip to your dispensary.
Offering Alt Thirty Six as a payment option will help your business avoid many of the risks and pitfalls associated with cash payments and save you on startup costs. If you don't already offer Alt Thirty Six as a payment option in your dispensary, doing so is a great first step before launching a cannabis delivery service.
Depending on volume, you'll need to ramp up your inventory to ensure cannabis goods can be ready for drivers before any online orders come in. There's also the added labor cost of paying drivers and the cost of buying and maintaining deliver vehicles.
Having a fully compliant and easy-to-use digital payment option like Alt Thirty Six bypasses these issues, making it easy to finance inventory, pay drivers, and coordinate deliveries.
How can I streamline the checkout for my business and customers?
You'll improve customer and driver satisfaction rates by allowing customers to reward drivers for exceptional service with a digital tip. When customers make a digital payment in advance, this minimizes wasted trips for drivers and improves cash flow throughout the supply chain.
Since you know many customers are completing online orders for privacy reasons, they'll also appreciate the discretion Alt Thirty Six offers—allowing your business to be financially transparent while preserving the privacy of customers who order cannabis.
Make sure you have a system set up for keeping an accurate record of orders. This will give you the data needed to tailor your delivery service and product offerings to meet market demand. At Alt Thirty Six, we use blockchain technology and seed-to-sale integrations to achieve this end, ensuring state-of-the-art data integrity and seamless tracking.
Some customers may prefer to buy specific products in the store for guaranteed quality and freshness. Other patrons may gravitate more toward products that lend themselves toward delivery. Concentrates, for example, can often withstand the woes of transportation, making them perfect for incorporating into your delivery offerings.
You may also want to take note of any customers who have difficulty getting to your dispensary location due to an illness or mobility limitation. In cities like Los Angeles (where public transportation is limited), many potential customers can't get to a dispensary without paying for a taxi. Even if customers have cars and are physically mobile, congestion frequently leaves them sitting in traffic for hours just to refill their supply of cannabis goods. There isn't a single detail you want to leave out along the way, and a digital payment platform like Alt Thirty Six offers integrations that track all those details for you in a way no single employee could.
As the online ordering experience becomes more sophisticated, many customers with busy schedules and difficulty getting to a dispensary will prefer having cannabis delivered to their doorstep. That uniquely interactive and tactile experience dispensaries offer may become virtualized with better online customer support, virtual reality immersion, and many other unforeseen cannabis innovations. Make sure your dispensary takes advantage of the latest technology, starting with our digital payment solutions.
How can I start accepting digital payments?
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