If you’ve been in or followed the cannabis retail industry for any amount of time, you know of Native Roots. The dispensary behemoth is arguably the first legitimate enterprise-level operation in the space, with nearly 25 locations throughout Colorado and three stores across Canada in their ever-expanding empire. But as with any successful venture, Native Roots’ journey to dominance presented plenty of challenges along the way — and finding a technology partner that could support their incredible scale was certainly one of them.
A Lack of Viable Options
For Alex Bitz and Chance Harrison, finding a POS that could handle Native Roots’ intensive needs was a nagging problem. The company’s Director of IT and Business Intelligence Manager, respectively, knew that the tech platforms they’d been using just weren’t cut out to support an operation of Native Roots’ magnitude, but finding a truly enterprise-grade solution proved difficult in a still-fledgling industry.
Following an untimely crash of their original point of sale, Alex and Chance recall migrating their entire system to another solution in roughly three days — no easy feat given the company’s then 17 retail locations. But it wasn’t long after completing the implementation process that the pair began noticing the severe deficiencies in their new POS.“We saw pretty early on that they were just a very immature solution, both from a technical and organizational standpoint,” Chance says.
A Matter of Scale
“Native Roots grew really fast, and the other solutions just weren’t built for enterprise business,” Alex adds. “They were more catered to small mom-and-pop operations. But when you’re at 17, 18, 20-plus stores, it’s much harder to manage those stores with the other POS providers."
“For instance, our previous POS didn’t allow the setup of product and inventory from a global level,” Alex continues. “You had to go store by store, so we had two to three people working full-time just managing our inventory and products.”
From a lack of APIs to facilitate integrations to a backend system laden with deficiencies and questionable-at-best data dependability, Alex and Chance were hard-pressed to find any aspect of their POS platform that didn’t leave something to be desired. As for compliance-mandated reporting, Alex recalls struggling to get the needed data from their vendor — and to make matters worse, the data they did receive was often inaccurate, meaning even more work for the Native Roots crew. And when it came to customer service, “they definitely over-promised and under-delivered,” Chance says.
A True Enterprise Software
Determined to find a partner that could provide the enterprise-grade POS technology they desperately needed, Alex and Chance soldiered on in their quest, researching every provider on the market. In late 2019, they discovered a solution that appeared to fit the bill. A subsidiary of a long-standing and well-respected leader in the wireless technology retail space, Cova immediately stood out to Chance and Alex as the built-for-enterprise-cannabis software they’d been searching for.
“One of the big reasons why we chose Cova was their structure and where they came from,” Alex recalls.
But Cova had much more going for it than just a well-respected parent company. Chance and Alex took note of the platform’s carefully designed infrastructure and knew it had the capability to provide what they needed. According to Chance, simply the fact that the budtender functions were developed separately from the administrative functions showed that Cova truly understood the nature of the cannabis retail IT environment and how to maximize efficiencies throughout the operation. “We knew right away they had the resources, experience, technical capability and support to meet our needs,” he says.
Mature API and Backend Infrastructure
The more Chance and Alex discovered about Cova and its capabilities, the more confident they were that it could fill all the needs lacking in their previous cannabis POS solution. Without open APIs, Native Roots frequently received data riddled with errors — and that’s when they were able to get their data at all. However, thanks to a clean, mature API and backend infrastructure, Cova was able to quickly deliver reliable data to Native Roots and facilitate full integrations with other software. Plus, its sophisticated architecture gave Alex and Chance more control over their assets and significantly improved data governance.
Fast, Efficient, Reliable
From customer experience to inventory management and everything in between, Cova has helped Native Roots increase efficiencies, automate tasks, and save time and money.
“With Cova, inventory and product management takes no time at all,” Alex says. “We’re talking five or 10 minutes to do what was taking an entire week with a small team of people. Even making a sale is quicker, just because of the system itself and the backend.”
Cova makes it a snap for budtenders to find a product, add it to the cart, and check customers out with just a few clicks. Other solutions — like Native Roots’ previous platform — are inherently slower because of complicated sales flows and cluttered backend infrastructures. To top it all off, Chance and Alex agree that Cova’s support team is the icing on the cake.
“One of the big things that sets Cova apart is the people there,” Alex says. “We’re very demanding, but whenever I call, they’re available. They understand our needs and try to address those needs as fast as possible.”
Of course, performance and customer service mean nothing if your dispensary POS can’t keep you compliant. Cova understands that no license means no business, and they’ve built their platform with a suite of features that improve the customer experience while simultaneously keeping you in line with cannabis regulations.
“Some of my favorite features include automated Metrc reporting in real-time, so we don’t have to push those out at the end of the day,” Chance says. “Data governance and record-keeping are so much simpler, too, with the ability to scan customer IDs to check them in and manage customer profiles."
“That was a huge problem with the last solution — there was literally no control on having duplicate customers,” he continues. “We scrubbed the file for two hours and still had something like 265,000 duplicate records.”
Chance says that Cova’s ability to capture customer meta-data from an ID scanner not only helps with customer data management but also with compliance and preventing “looping” — an illegal scheme that involves customers visiting multiple locations and purchasing more than the daily limit.
“We feel very confident that nobody can come into one of our stores and buy more than the legal purchase limit,” Chance says.
Take Your Dispensary Operation to the Next Level
Whether you’re a single-location retailer or an enterprise-level operation like Native Roots, Cova has the resources and know-how to help you maximize your cannabis retail venture from end to end. Discover all the ways in which we can help you take your game to the next level — tap below to book a free demo today!