The Panther Group
pos dispensary

Choosing the right POS system for your dispensary

It’s no secret that sitting through demos to discover the best point-of-sale (POS) and integration options for your business is time consuming and the subsequent follow-ups can be overwhelming. However, selecting the right POS is one of the most important tools for  maximizing operational accuracy and throughput efficiency.

A slow cash register, ineffective hardware, inaccurate manifest transfers or compliance reporting, and lack of safeguards or reports can cripple a retailer and even lead tobankruptcy.”

As a previous dispensary manager who operated twelve POS terminals and a previous POS saleswoman, I know what questions to ask and what challenges retail technology providers need to solve for. With this in mind, I set out to save cannabis retailers from the time-suck of scheduling and sitting through demos. I evaluated the twelve most prestigious cannabis POS providers, analyzed reviews, and compiled the data here for you.

When selecting the best POS for your retail concept, the first step is knowing the state compliance/reporting software provider for your state market(s) and the POS companies that are compliantly integrated with that state software. The table below lists the twelve most used cannabis POS providers in the first column. In the second column you’ll find the states they’re fully compliant with.

It’s worth noting that each of these reputable POS providers are equipped with the nonnegotiables: a point-of-sale system capable of tendering transactions, tracking transaction history for state compliance and data analytics, transferring and receiving products, limiting purchase quantities, verifying customer ages, and running reports.

From there, it’s important to keep in mind the vision of your business. Do you or will you offer deli style or delivery for your customers? Will you need a fulfillment area or distribution facility? Are you cultivating and/or manufacturing your own products? Refer to columns 3-7 to see which POS providers facilitate each.

In column 8, I’ve scored each POS company with a $, $$, or $$$ to denote their price points in relation to each other. For a price quote, you’ll need to visit their website or reach out to them directly.

In column 9, I’ve listed the number of 3rd party SAAS companies that each POS company is integrated with.

In the final column I’ve listed the key differentiators of each POS provider; in each demo, I asked them to help me understand what sets them apart from their peers within the industry.

You’re now faced with a choice: schedule demos with the POS providers that fit your general needs or continue reading to get additional information about these twelve POS companies.

Meadow POS system at The Higher Path in LA

A more thorough look at each point-of-sale company

Meadow

I met with Meadow’s head of partnerships, Ryan Bush. In the demo, Ryan explained Meadow’s commitment to “creating a successful and sustainable cannabis industry in California and beyond.”

In addition to providing an all-in-one platform that eliminates the need for nearly all third party integrations, Ryan says, “Meadow teamed up with top legal teams in cannabis to create and launch the first open-source fundraising tool customized for cannabis businesses, the Cannabis SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity).”

When discussing Meadow’s key differentiators, Ryan said that what truly sets Meadow apart is their ability to empower “dispensaries to process sales, manage menus and inventory, deploy strategic marketing campaigns, retain and reward customers, run delivery, and create exceptional shopping experiences from one central command center.”

Meadow is an excellent choice for single to multi-store operators in select markets who want to offer their customers a consistently branded but diversified ordering experience without investing in 3rd party integrations.

Treez

Treez offers a “better customer experience” with their seed-to-sale, omni-channel and open API offerings topped with the added reassurance of SOC 2 Type I Compliance, according to a recent press release, “validates the company’s cloud infrastructure as compliant in its business processes, policies and procedures in ensuring the security and data processing integrity of customer information.”

One of the key differentiators of Treez’ platform is that it “connects essential brands with their retailers through a centralized brand catalog with real-time market insights.” Another huge perk is that they offer retailers the ability to shop via a $4 billion gross merchandise value (GMV) catalog without the pressure or scheduling commitments of traditional brand-to-retailer introductions. The fact that this catalog includes brand and product information for budtender education gaps is even more advantageous.

Though multiple cannabis SAAS providers recently laid off a significant portion of their workforce, Treez’ recent completion of a $51 million Series C has allowed them to expand their team, open an engineering hub in India, and is likely why they can allocate enough resources for 24/7 customer support.

Treez is a leading option for any type of dispensary operation, but does depend upon third party integrations for ecommerce, SMS marketing, in-store digital signage, etc.

Cova

Upon scheduling a demo through Cova’s website, I received a confirmation email and additional resources from their senior account executive, Darren Spindor. Before seeing the demo, I knew Cova has an average 13-second wait time for customer support calls and “powers 20,000 locations of all sizes and verticals with virtually no downtime—even on April 20…

One of the key differentiators of working with Cova is their dedication to education, whether on the budtender or the C-Suite level. Cova provides their dispensary partners with robust guides and eBooks to help manage your entire operation, making the switch from legacy to legal a much less daunting task.

Cova is invested in ensuring industry opportunities for social equity license candidates by hosting a free Social Equity Seminar on how to open a dispensary in New Jersey and New York while also providing A Complete Guide to Opening a Dispensary For Cannabis Social Equity Applicants.

Cova is the one of the most cost-effective and superior options for retailers of all sizes who don’t grow or manufacture their own products, retailers who have limited retail management experience, and retailers with their sights set on expansion into Canada.

KlickTrack

KlickTrack’s origin story is possibly the most impressive; the Drummer from Blues Traveler, Brendan Hill, and Steven Kessler opened the only dispensary on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Paper and Leaf, and quickly discovered the challenges of managing a fully compliant dispensary with subpar point-of-sale systems. They set out to create KlickTrack together so they could oversee their own dispensary operations and compliance reporting.

I met with Howard Steinberg, KlickTrack’s head of partnerships, who elaborated the importance of their co-founders’ industry experience: “We were built by dispensary owners with a unique perspective of what dispensary owners need.”

They’re one of the first cannabis POS companies to patent their state compliance API procedures, which they call their Compliance Translator. This Compliance Translator streamlines inventory intake by tapping into state compliance traceability platforms to import information from vendors in real time.

KlickTrack is also one of the few POS providers who include in-house white-labeled ecommerce services and in-house CRM and SMS marketing services. Their intent is to ensure your dispensary’s brand is at the forefront of your customer experience; your online ordering website won’t look like everyone else’s who uses third-party ecommerce platforms like Weedmaps and iHeart Jane.

KlickTrack is the most cost-effective option in this article’s line-up and is a solid choice for boutique to multi-store retailers who do not cultivate or manufacture products, but do offer delivery service for their customers. It’s a perfect solution for owners who want to establish brand recognition and customer loyalty within their community.  

Dauntless

Dauntless has contracted with Korona POS, designed by COMBASE USA, for exclusive rights to Korona’s software in the US cannabis industry. Korona has established itself as “The fastest convenience store POS system” with nearly 11,000 retail clients.

In addition to providing a robust POS software, Dauntless has revolutionized POS hardware by including a front-facing touchscreen that displays retailer-managed advertisements to their customers standing in front of their point-of-sale.

Retailers can sell this advertising space to brands or use it to promote their own sales and vendor days. This advertising screen technology is available with or without the full Dauntless POS system, making it a great add-on to any POS.

With the industry’s marketing limitations, any retailer looking to enhance their customer outreach or brand partnerships should chat with Dauntless. The Dauntless POS system is an ideal option for high-volume stores.

Flowhub

FlowHub’s app-based POS gives customers a very efficient experience: the customer’s ID is scanned at the door and automatically added to a queue in the POS, budtenders select the customer when they get to the register and can build out their cart from there. The customer’s past purchases, loyalty information and even notes about their product preferences are easily accessible from their account.

FlowHub is one of two in this line-up that shared their dedication to using customer input for their upgrades and features. I met with one of FlowHub’s account executives, Brenna McEvilly, who explained, “Everything we do is based off the feedback we get from our customers to make their lives easier and more compliant.”

FlowHub also provides their retail customers with training resources and SOP templates to make dispensary management a “flow state” experience.

FlowHub is ideal for multi-store retailers without cultivation who want a simple user interface, operational support, third-party integrations, and a streamlined customer experience.

Proteus 420

Proteus 420 is an all-encompassing seed-to-sale solution with in-house features for every aspect of a cannabis business including white-labeled websites, loyalty and SMS marketing, a gap compliant accounting system, and even supports online order payments via ACH.

One of their biggest differentiators is their enthusiasm for creating custom coding projects for their clients so your user interface, reports and analytics, overall features and your branding are exactly as you envision them to be. Their website boasts, “We can tune it to your needs, no matter what they are.

They also incorporated a way to assign tasks through the register with time sheet tracking per task to ensure efficiency and accountability.

Proteus 420 is the best solution for medical and recreational MSO verticals in need of a truly customized solution for their business.

BLAZE

BLAZE is ready to make you the Amazon of the cannabis industry. They’re a robust seed-to-sale solution with cutting-edge delivery/courier features for delivery zones, order assignments, and inventory tracking.

BLAZE’s CEO, Christopher Violas, says that BLAZE incorporates “a different set of empathy” into their company culture and strives to find employees with proven industry experience.

Their interface solves for budtender product knowledge gaps, increases throughput organization-wide, and helps track your actual COGS. They’re one of two POS providers who encourage customer input for their development roadmap: submit a suggestion, other clients can up-vote your suggestion, and the most up-voted projects get added to their roadmap.

BLAZE is the best option for delivery-centric MSO verticals who want detailed reports and accountability for all locations, from a hierarchical view down to the granular product level. Though they’re among the most expensive solutions in the industry, they’re also the most comprehensive.

MJ Freeway

MJ Freeway is the OG POS provider in the cannabis industry. One of their goals is to solve business problems within the cannabis industry, which is immediately apparent when you visit their website and see their state market research and consultancy options, blog posts with deep dives on business practices and data analytics, and webinars designed to help license applicants.

MJ Freeway isn’t just an all-inclusive seed-to-sale system, but a true partnership where you can learn from industry experts to improve, grow or begin your cannabis business. Tell them what you’re looking to do with your business and they’ll curate a tech stack just for your needs.

MJ Freeway is an intelligent choice for those new to the cannabis industry, especially for those new to retail or cultivation in general, as they’ll fill any educational gaps you have. Give them a vision for your business and they’ll give you the resources, knowledge and support to succeed, for a price.

Dutchie

Dutchie is obviously a leader in the cannabis tech sector, having secured their place in the industry with their ecommerce SAAS for retailers and then acquiring Greenbits’ POS system and LeafLogix’s seed-to-sale SAAS. But did you know Dutchie also provides cannabis business owners with insurance? According to their website, “Dutchie is committed to remaining a low-cost insurance provider while you look to expand your business operations.

One of the key perks of choosing Dutchie is that your dispensary lands within their extensive search engine. Many consumers are familiar with the Dutchie name and website, where they enter in their address to access a list of dispensaries near them. That’s a database you want to be a part of.

At the very least, every retailer should meet with Dutchie to discuss their ecommerce integration for increased online ordering exposure. If you’re seeking a well-known seed-to-sale package worth a $200 million investment or insurance options, you might as well request a demo of their entire suite of services.

GrowFlow

GrowFlow offers a 30-day free trial including free data migration and onboarding, which is somewhat unheard of in the cannabis industry.

Their services include cultivation SAAS and retail SAAS and use the two platforms to contribute a Live Marketplace for their clients. Their website explains that “retailers can order the best cannabis products anytime, day or night.

Through their podcast, GrowFlow also helps cannabis business owners better manage their operations, investment conversations, cost-effectiveness, and compliance. GrowFlow was recently acquired by Dama Financial, who has an entire suite of cash management and payment solutions.

GrowFlow is a profitable option for retailers who need a steady pool of brands to select from, enjoy using third-party integrations and have high volume in-store sales.

POSaBIT

Their website describes them perfectly: “The first dispensary point of sale to provide unlimited freedom to do business exactly how you want.

One of POSaBIT’s key differentiators is their POCKET POS for streamlining delivery transactions, which will also allow you to implement their “linebuster” technique of tendering transactions before the customer reaches the counter.

POSaBIT has a plethora of payment integration options to minimize the amount of cash you’re handling and ensure a positive customer experience.

POSaBIT just secured a large CAD raise of nearly $5 million. Ryan Hamlin, the CEO and Co-Founder of POSaBIT, remarked on their place in the industry compared to their competitors, “At a time when our competitors are pulling back and reducing headcount, we are marching forward. We continue to engage with large multi-state operators and reaffirm our 2022 revenue guidance of USD $37 to $40 million.

POSaBIT has a sleek POS hardware setup and is an ideal option for non-vertical retailers in need of additional payment options, in-house services that eliminate the need for third-party integrations, and building customer accounts with notated preferences and order history.

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