When it comes to cannabis retail operations, owners often ask whether they’re better off with a dispensary point of sale (POS) or seed to sale software system. Of course, seed to sale platforms were originally meant to accommodate vertically integrated businesses — those that cultivate, process, distribute and/or retail cannabis. Largely designed during the earliest days of legalization when most companies were vertically integrated and only operated one location, seed to sale systems worked well in the primitive cannabis ecosystem in which they were created.
However, the industry has evolved rapidly in the near decade since the dawn of most of these platforms. And in the modern cannabis landscape — one with a growing list of retail-only businesses and multi-state, multi-location operations — the truth is you’re probably better off with a cannabis-specific POS in your retail store.
Why Cannabis Retailers Prefer POS Over Seed to Sale
If you’re a relatively small, vertically integrated operation with a single grow and retail location, then seed to sale software just might work for you. But at the enterprise level, a seed to sale platform simply can’t compare to a POS solution in terms of functionality and features that are specific to the demands of a dispensary or cannabis retail store.
For vertically integrated operators, using seed to sale software means sacrificing on customer experience and critical features like robust sales reports that help you optimize your operation — and your bottom line. A cannabis POS worth its salt will not only help keep your customers happy and coming back for more, but will also easily integrate with your cultivation and processing software for a seamless operation.
Of course, if your business is strictly retail, then a seed to sale system is not only unnecessary, but also not cost effective. Despite what you may have read or heard, the truth is that seed to sale software is NOT needed in order for you to remain compliant with traceability and reporting requirements. As long as your POS is capable of properly managing your cannabis inventory and integrating with the government’s traceability system for reporting purposes, you will be in good standing from a compliance perspective.
Ultimately, regardless of whether you’re a vertically integrated cannabis business with one or several retail locations or a single-site, standalone retailer, a quality POS will provide everything you need to deliver a better customer experience, enhance and streamline inventory management, and keep your operation compliant with regulations.
Below, we’ve put together a list of the three biggest areas in which seed to sale systems fall short for cannabis retailers.
Three Shortcomings of Seed to Sale Software for Cannabis Retailers
1. You pay for features you don’t need instead of the ones that matter
As a cannabis retail-only operator, signing up for a seed to sale subscription means paying for features and functions that you simply do not need and will not utilize. It just makes fiscal sense: why pay for things like crop tracking and yield forecasting if you’re not going to use them?
What’s worse is that not only will you be paying for things you don’t need and won’t use, but you’ll also be missing out on key features that will truly help you elevate and maximize your operation. For instance, with Cova, you have access to a full suite of retail-specific tools and features, including:
- ID scanners for verifying customer age and photo ID validity
- Digital menus and kiosks for enhanced customer experience and education
- Full integrations with government traceability systems like Metrc — meaning no more manually logging in to send compliance reports — as well as popular third-party sites like Weedmaps and Leafly and a host of other cannabis technology platforms.
2. There’s less expert-level support readily available
Of course, if you are a vertically integrated operation, you’ll need cultivation and processing software along with your retail platform. But here again, seed to sale systems fall short when it comes to providing expert-level support when you most need it. Very rarely will you find seed to sale support personnel who are adept at retail, cultivation, and processing software as well as the nuances involved in operating in each of these sectors.
What does this mean for you? More time waiting on the phone with customer support — and more potential downtime for your entire system if something goes wrong. Which brings us to number three…
3. The more you scale, the less stable the platform becomes
Here’s the truth: old-school seed to sale systems are not known for their reliability. In fact, there have been numerous documented seed to sale system failures, outages, and crashes that have cost retailers significantly in lost sales.
Even worse, these platforms only grow more unstable as your business continues to scale. Once again, this is due to the fact that most seed to sale systems were designed during the industry’s infancy — before the days of mergers and acquisitions and multi-state, multi-location operations.
Cova’s proven cannabis retail platform, on the other hand, powers more than 20,000 locations of all sizes and verticals with virtually no downtime. And even in the event of a Wi-Fi outage in your store, you’ll continue to keep lines moving and sales transacting with our offline mode.
See Cova in Action with a Free Demo
If you’re ready to see exactly how Cova can boost your cannabis retail operation to new heights, contact us today to book a free demo — we’d love to show you what we’re all about.