A Complete Guide to Starting Ecommerce & Delivery at your Cannabis Retail Store


What is Cannabis Ecommerce?

Cannabis ecommerce is an extension of your retail business into the online world and requires listing your dispensary inventory and merchandise on your own company's website or a third-party marketplace. Cannabis consumers can then browse cannabis products online and purchase them either for store pick-up or delivery.

As consumer behavior and preferences are changing fast, dispensaries are increasingly providing their customers the convenience of buying cannabis online or ordering for delivery, wherever it is allowed by law. For many cannabis retailers, this revenue stream now contributes to a significant portion of their sales and has afforded them new opportunities to grow their business without adding another brick-and-mortar location. This trend is here to stay, and dispensary owners must adapt to changing times and pivot strategically to add cannabis ecommerce and delivery services to their offerings if they want to stay competitive.


Benefits of Cannabis Ecommerce and Delivery

Having a cannabis ecommerce store will allow you to tap into a wider audience, especially people who may not necessarily want to visit a dispensary and prefer curbside pickup or delivery to their doorsteps. With a robust platform to sell cannabis online, your customers can search for and order cannabis products through your ecommerce store instead of visiting your dispensary. This avenue of sales also provides a great opportunity for customer retention, as many regular customers who already know what they want could easily place an order on your website and have it delivered to an authorized location, and you would gain their loyalty even more with such convenient services. Overall, investing in cannabis ecommerce and delivery will reap a great return in the long term, as you will see an increase in sales and profits along with enhanced online brand visibility and recall.


Why do Cannabis Retailers Need Ecommerce?

Having a cannabis ecommerce website adds to your brand value and helps in the following:

  1. It allows your customers to see the entire menu and make more informed choices on the cannabis products they want to buy. There is a higher probability of them purchasing more because they can see everything that is available at your dispensary.
  2. You have more opportunities to market and remarket to customers that visit your cannabis ecommerce store, with email marketing and retargeting tools.
  3. You can get more actionable data from analytics software to guide you in making more informed decisions about your marketing and your business as a whole.
  4. Having your own cannabis ecommerce store increases your visibility online, especially if you have a custom ecommerce website with product pages. These product pages can help you rank for significantly more keywords on Google Search.


Cannabis ECommerce and Delivery Regulations

Regulations for cannabis ecommerce and delivery vary from state to province across North America, and there are local municipality restrictions as well. Many provinces in Canada have only recently allowed private retailers to start selling cannabis online and provide delivery services. There are also limitations on how much cannabis can be purchased at a single time- usually around 30g of dried cannabis or equivalent. In the US, some legacy states like California already have a thriving cannabis ecommerce space with over 50% of consumers purchasing cannabis products exclusively through delivery.

Check your local laws and regulations before you decide to launch your online cannabis store or offer delivery services, and consider all marketing and advertising restrictions as well. In the US, since cannabis is still not federally legalized, businesses have to face banking limitations as well, and there can be obstacles with online payment processing, while cash collection on delivery has its challenges. Navigating all these regulations is not an easy task, but once you’ve crossed to the other side, the grass will be greener indeed.


Let us dive into the following chapters for an in-depth understanding of Cannabis ecommerce and delivery, and how to choose the best platforms:

Setting Up Cannabis Ecommerce Website

When it comes to setting up a website and choosing an ecommerce solution for your online cannabis store, there are options galore in today’s world. Broadly speaking, depending on your budget and needs, you have three options available for your dispensary eCommerce website.

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What to Look for in an Ecommerce Platform

With stringent regulations, cannabis retail is quite different from other industries, and cannabis business owners must navigate various restrictions to stay compliant. Hence, many considerations must be taken into account while choosing an ecommerce solution for your dispensary.

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Cannabis Delivery Models and Landscape

As a dispensary owner, you must adopt delivery technology efficiently to succeed in the dynamic cannabis industry. The two most common delivery models are the pizza delivery model and the ice cream truck model, and you can choose between the two when deciding how you want to offer your cannabis delivery services, or even consider a hybrid model instead.

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What to Look for in Delivery Software

Depending on what model you decide to go for, your chosen delivery software must excel at it. Your cannabis delivery software solution must have certain features to help you succeed in your business goals, and there are various considerations that must be taken into account.

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How to Market and Grow Your Online Cannabis Store

Cannabis brands are generally restricted from using traditional marketing channels. Thus, cannabis retailers need to find creative ways to reach out to their target market while navigating limitations efficiently and using the right channels to grow their online dispensary business.

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