3 min read

COVID-19 Forces Cannabis Retailers to E-Commerce

April 30, 2020

The e-commerce revolution is showing no sign of slowing. According to Statista, e-commerce sales represented 14% of all retail sales globally in 2019. By 2023, that number is expected to reach 23%. In these times of COVID-19, consumers are increasingly choosing the Amazon or Postmates buying experience for a variety of reasons. With many states deeming cannabis retailers as essential, some dispensaries struggled to adapt to the new regulations because of a lack of digital infrastructure to meet the increased demand for online ordering of delivery and pickup.

The cannabis retailers that already operated deliveries or already had an online store were equipped to handle the unprecedented times. According to AdWeek, many dispensaries had to make the transition nearly overnight to keep up with safety guidelines and consumer demand, which was at an all-time high during the coronavirus pandemic.   

Why You Need a Digital Store 

From grocery stores to food delivery, online ordering is convenient for consumers. For online cannabis stores, consumers are able to browse menu selections at their own speed, leave reviews, and make informed purchasing decisions— all of which feels very familiar to any other e-commerce shopping experience. 

Online stores can be set up to handle both delivery and in-store pickup. In conjunction with an express pickup line inside the dispensary or a curbside pickup option outside of the dispensary, the “click-and-collect” method represents a brand new revenue stream for cannabis retailers. 

As mentioned previously, by 2023, e-commerce is expected to account for 23% of all retail sales globally— and this was a pre-COVID projection. With an online store, dispensary owners are able to capture this extra revenue stream while building brand loyalty with the customer. Can you imagine adding 23% to your sales just by adding an online store for your cannabis business?

E-Commerce Inventory Reporting

When choosing the right online ordering platform for your dispensary, there are many factors to examine. Before considering advanced features, it’s a good idea to have your online store connected with a strong point-of-sale system. IndicaOnline’s online platform, Potify, is synced with store inventory and your website so that current stock is reflected accurately online. 

Having your online store synced with your POS also allows for easy Metrc reporting. And speaking of reports, a good online store should have an ability to run sales reports, so that owners can decipher data and make informed purchasing decisions in the future. 

Potify Online Cannabis Store

In addition to inventory syncing and reporting, Potify is loaded with features for cannabis delivery and online ordering. With Potify, cannabis retailers are able to create a white-label custom URL for their cannabis webstore for free. Staff are able to upload high resolution photographs to Potify to entice customers. Lab results are also displayed on the product pages.

For cannabis consumers, Potify will feel similar to other online shopping experiences— with a few cannabis-specific features built-in. Strains are displayed in a “strain bank”, which customers can then filter to specific strains of indica, sativa, and hybrid. 

Consumer-driven reviews on the Potify digital platform give consumers a more personalized and social aspect of online shopping. There is also a cashback program where a percentage of every dollar spent will be credited to the customer’s account, which greatly increases total spend per transaction. 

COVID-19 accelerated the cannabis industry’s inevitable shift towards online ordering. Experts predict this consumer shift will be permanent, so it is important to implement an effective digital store as soon as possible. With IndicaOnline and Potify, your inventory, pricing, and product information will be synced together ensuring you capture online revenue without having to worry about manually updating menus and your website.