15 min read
How to Choose the Right Cannabis POS Hardware?
Running a successful business in any sphere requires thinking through every little detail. In the cannabis industry, you should be more meticulous as it is the object of close law enforcement’s and regulators’ attention.
The essential factor is to choose the right cannabis business POS. Choosing the wrong one can come at the cost of wasting money and time. It concerns both software and hardware. Many business sides depend on POS hardware speed and efficiency. For instance, customers’ satisfaction and a budtender’s performance.
This article will talk about the tips for choosing the proper hardware for your cannabis dispensary business.
What is POS?
A POS stands for Point-of-Sales. It is the technology used mainly by retailers to accept payments from customers.
A POS system includes software and hardware, the commerce platform and the cash register, and other tech things that enable transactions. Sometimes, the POS system has more functionality than just processing transactions. Besides this, it can also manage customers and employees, promote products, and help with inventory audits and reports to Metrc. They also include such features as:
- Details of a product;
- Ordering products online;
- Discounts, special offers, promotions;
- A queue of customers;
- Customer profile, purchase history, and preferences;
- Debit payments.
A POS system can be considered the heart of your business as it is the point where sales, payments, inventory, employee performance, and customer management meet. It shows you the strong and weak points of your cannabis business. Since you obtain an amount of data of your business operations, you can analyze them and make certain conclusions. Consequently, you reveal what can be enhanced at your dispensary.
Moreover, some businesses increase their sales due to the POS system features. It is also essential to consider implementing POS technology into your business.
Nonetheless, these features cannot operate appropriately without suitable hardware to maintain them. Hardware should have a high capacity to let all the functionality run without errors.
We will discuss the POS system in detail to let you understand what it is and help you make a smart purchase decision.
The Main Reasons You Need a POS System
There are many reasons your cannabis dispensary business needs a POS system. Here are the main of them:
- Manage all locations. Many business owners have multiple locations. Therefore, they need a tech solution to manage them from a single device. A POS system can become a helping hand. For instance, IndicaOnline makes the management of a cannabis business available on various devices: from laptops to smartphones.
- Inventory organization. Managing inventory is a significant part of any cannabis business. A POS system can simplify tracking batches, edibles, plants, and other cannabis products. Counting them by hand is time and money-consuming. For your business to grow smoothly, your employees should interact with customers as it is their primary task.
- Marketing. Modern POS solutions are equipped with marketing tools to bring you new customers and retain existing ones. They allow you to send SMS or Emails directly from the POS system. You can promote your products, create special offers for specific customers, and notify them about items they are waiting for.
- Loyalty programs. One of the best ways to increase your customers’ satisfaction is to develop a loyalty program. A cannabis POS system has patient profiles within the system, and if a customer leaves their loyalty card at home, they will be glad to know that they still receive a loyalty reward.
What are the Main Parts of POS Hardware?
Let’s explore the major components of POS hardware you will need to make your cannabis dispensary business functional and efficient.
A POS terminal is a device that operates POS software. Modern POS terminals can be computers, laptops, tablets, and even smartphones. The main requirement is internet connectivity.
Many businesses opt for portable tablets that a budtender can move around with. They can access inventory and customer profiles and process transactions anywhere on the dispensary premises.
Barcode scanners are essential parts of retailing as they quickly scan cannabis products at a budtender checkout. Quick and easy reading provides a smooth sales process. You will need to enter product IDs by hand without barcode scanners which can result in errors and time-wasting.
They also can help when it comes to inventory management if you do not have a dedicated RFID scanner.
The cannabis industry is powered by cash as cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. That is why you need a cash drawer to store your money. It is better for your business to find a POS-compatible cash drawer that connects to the POS via Bluetooth or USB.
A label printer is another hardware essential to have on hand. To stay compliant with the law and regulations, you need labels necessary for seed-to-sale tracking. Labels include all required by law information about the product. Choose the label printer that will help you fit all the information on a label as it is often tiny.
Receipt printers are necessary for any dispensary. Receipts are proof of legal purchases. Nonetheless, they are required by law as you need to include detailed information on every receipt. The information can be the following:
- Store name and address;
- Product name and category;
- Tax codes;
- Warning to keep the product out of children reach;
- Warnings for pregnant women;
- Warnings about mixing cannabis with alcohol;
- Warnings to prevent a person from driving impaired.
Obviously, you will want to ensure that your receipts are compliant and have the necessary information included. Otherwise, you will receive fines and penalties.
RFID is the abbreviation for Radio Frequency Identification. It is a wireless system that includes tags and scanners. Tags and scanners communicate with each other with the help of radio waves.
Tags are essential for any cannabis dispensary business because they help manage inventory and speed up inventory audits. Many companies conduct inventory audits manually. This way of cannabis product management is quite money and time-consuming. The counting inventory process is monotonous, and the human’s attention decreases with time. It results in costly errors and the necessity to recount everything again.
Modern RFID scanners can count inventory extremely quickly. For instance, the IndicaOnline RFID tech solution reads tags in a matter of seconds with 99,5% accuracy. It allows you to count goods every day or even several times a day. As a consequence, you have a reduced level of products with expired dates and spoilage.
Scales are one of the crucial elements for a dispensary POS system. What concerns scales, you need to remember the following things. They should be legal in your state and certified with NTEP (National Type Evaluation Program). The certificate proves that the scales show the correct amount of the weighted product. And we remember how important compliance is in the cannabis industry.
Good scales will help you be sure that you sell an exact amount of cannabis products. Commonly, it is thought that an ounce is 28 grams. But it is 28,349 grams. It is hard to be so accurate without proper scales.
Moreover, you can find scales integrated with your POS system. It will help as you will not need to input data manually. The scales will send the weighted amount directly to the POS system, eliminating the risk of an error.
iPad or any other solution for ID verification
The majority of states require dispensaries to verify the customers’ ID or any other document that should prove their age and the right to purchase at the dispensary.
Some dispensaries check a customer’s ID right at the checkout. Others prefer to have a receptionist who checks IDs using welcoming guests technology. When a customer is verified at the reception, their name appears on the screen showing the queue to understand how many people are ahead of them. It allows buyers to freely mingle around the dispensary collecting products or consulting with employees.
However, some dispensaries prefer to arrange a particular room where customers wait for their turn. When a customer pays off, a budtender calls another customer. Probably, such measures reduce the level of shoplifting.
Here are some tips to help you choose the right cannabis POS terminal.
User-friendly POS systems contribute to a better sales flow and increased customer satisfaction. The POS’s hardware and software should be developed to maximize the quality of customer service by providing smooth transactions and having all necessary information within the system.
Additionally, when choosing a POS system, you should check if it is easy for your staff to work on. Will the onboarding be quick and easy? Or will it take some time? These are the essential questions as the faster your employees learn to use the POS, the sooner you will have more transactions and, consequently, more profit.
Suppose you are running a dispensary independently, or you have only a budtender employee. In that case, it can be difficult for you to be productive as you need to manage the store, control inventory, check finances, solve problems, and more. The store equipment must help you to be productive. That is why you should look for simplicity in the POS system.
Think about it. If a POS system has outdated features and an awkward and complicated interface, you will not provide a better experience to your customers. It will be difficult for you to complete essential tasks accurately and quickly.
Actually, the POS system is one of the most, if not the most, things to think about when running a cannabis dispensary business. You do not want your customers to wait in long queues or feel frustrated. Remember that some of them will want to leave a comment online. Consequently, it can influence other people’s decisions when they choose what dispensary to shop.
Generally, companies provide their customers with a demo version of the POS system. It means that you can test several of them and then choose the one that most suits you.
The price of the POS system is another factor to consider when choosing the system. Some of them will be efficient when used by multi-store chains. Single-store businesses may not need all of their features. Nonetheless, if you want your business to scale, you will need an appropriate POS system.
Do not forget to check for additional expenses. They can include costs for employee onboarding, importing data, installing hardware, and technical support. Be meticulous when it comes to details.
Moreover, ensure that the POS you choose will allow your business to grow and expand.
There have been cases of POS damage when cannabis stores use them. Even the best cannabis POS system can have performance issues. Look through reviews of a cannabis POS system in consideration to find out how reliable they are.
Additionally, a cloud-based POS system stores data on remote servers operated by a third party. It can come at the cost of data breaches and ransomware attacks. That is why you need to ensure that your POS provider takes measures to protect your dispensary and customer data.
Moreover, protecting customers’ data is required by law. And you need to be compliant to avoid fines and penalties that can be costly.
Actually, compliance is the first thing you need to learn when starting a cannabis business. The cannabis industry has many regulations and requirements that you must follow to operate a business legally. Otherwise, you will obtain penalties or even a sentence in jail.
An advanced cannabis-related POS system helps its users stay compliant at every stage of their business. You need to follow many specific requirements: from the allowed amount of a cannabis product purchase to reporting to Metrc or Biotrack. It is hard to keep all the information in mind. However, you can obtain a POS system that is already compliant with your state laws and regulations.
It will show you all the necessary information to be able to sell the exact amount of ounces a customer needs. Moreover, the POS system helps reduce the risk of human error and be accurate when sending reports or conducting inventory audits.
Some of the POS systems have the functionality to streamline the inventory management process. The system can provide you with essential data about the best seller products among your customers. You can use these data to buy more of them and, consequently, boost your sales. Furthermore, you can analyze what products are not purchased and stop wasting money on them.
Moreover, you can use this information for marketing purposes. For instance, notify your customers about new products or best sellers by SMS or Emails. You can boost your sales using these features.
Also, check for reporting functionality in the POS system in consideration. Automatic reporting in real-time will save your time and nerves.
Hardware and software integration
It is essential for business efficiency to integrate all hardware and software at the dispensary. It simplifies the data transmission between devices.
When buying all the physical hardware, make sure that they integrate with the other tech solutions you have at your dispensary. Your accounting software, workforce, security software should integrate to provide smooth operations and customer service.
Do not forget to check if your solution can also integrate with online marketplaces like Weedmaps or Potify. They are another way to boost sales at your dispensary.
Today, innovative tech solutions appear on the market almost every day. It is easy to get lost among so many choices. However, you should determine what you need before going to the market. Only by having a clear picture of what you want, start choosing. It will probably simplify your research.
It does not matter what hardware or software you choose. One day you will experience troubles in performance. It does not mean that you have bought a defective tech solution. It is just a widespread occurrence that happens from time to time.
You will be able to solve these problems quickly with the help of the support team. They have probably dealt with similar issues a lot. That is why they will help you in a short period of time.
Nonetheless, when choosing a tech solution, ensure that you will obtain all necessary support while implementing and operating the company’s product. A small error in performance can cause the closing of your store. This can cost you financial benefit and even reputation.
Additionally, it is better for you to check the company’s support team’s operational hours as you can definitely run into problems if they are not available 24/7.
Fire, flood, earthquake, or general blackout – a lot can happen, and turn off your internet connection. Unprepared for extreme situations, technologies will lose your data and cause trouble for your business.
Be fully prepared for unexpected occurrences with the POS solution capable of operating in offline mode. Check out the IndicaOnline POS system: https://indicaonline.com/point-of-sales/. We have equipped our product with offline mode functionality. When there is no internet connection, all data is stored within the system. As soon as the signal is restored, the data will be sent to Metrc.
Such a solution saves you time, money, and nerves. You will be able to operate calmly when something unexpected happens.
How to Choose the Right POS?
We have spoken about essential components the POS hardware and software should have. Then, how do you choose the right POS when there are so many things to think about? Here are some tips to help you:
- Make up a list of your needs. It is hard to understand what is the best technology for you when you do not know what exactly you need. For this reason, you should conduct a little research and find out, for instance, what products other dispensaries you size are using. Additionally, figure out what are your local requirements. You may not need some technologies, but they may be required by law.
- Make a budget. How much money are you willing to spend on each technology for your dispensary? Start with identifying your budget and understanding what technologies are in your price range.
- Check reviews. Before purchasing the tech solution, find proof that it is well functioning and effective. Look for reviews and case studies on the company’s website, but do not forget to check them on third-party websites.
- Test demo. Do not buy the tech solution immediately; test it before to understand whether it is really the best solution for your dispensary or something that is not suitable for you.
- Test the tech support. Be aware of their working hours. Is a support team available 24/7 or only several hours a day? Is it an automated digital system, or can you talk to someone? What are the communication channels? How long should you wait for a response? Answers to these questions will help you understand if you can rely on a company’s support team or not.
In conclusion, starting a business requires a lot of work and things to learn. Do not hesitate to spend some time discovering every single detail related to your cannabis business.
Technologies help your staff be effective and productive. They automate many processes completing them for you. That is why they need to have high capacity. It is also better for you that the technologies you use will operate even in extreme situations when you do not have an Internet connection.