This year has had quite an impact on the retail industry and the Canadian cannabis retail experience is no exception. During the beginning of the year, cannabis retail stores in certain provinces were allowed to provide delivery, one of the features the illicit market has offered for a long time, only to have it taken away and then allowed again. Click-and-collect was also introduced and allowed to stay, providing consumers with the option to make their purchase online and only come to the store to pick up their cannabis products. With both of these purchasing processes, the consumer misses out on the in-store experience and the influence of budtenders and brand displays.
Online transactions mean that the consumer must be marketed to on the retail website. The majority of Canadian cannabis retail stores provide digital menus and ordering systems that are supplied by one of two technology companies – Dutchie or Buddi. These two cannabis retail online menu products have seen themselves form a nice oligopoly in the space, making the choice for cannabis retailers fairly simple.
We’ll look at how the two softwares matchup against each other and what cannabis retailers, brands, and consumers can expect when using each.
For Cannabis Retailers
Dutchie’s slogan is “Online ordering, made for dispensaries.” The Dutchie platform offers cannabis retailers a complete solution for both pickup & delivery for $250 a month per store. The automated online menus come with the industry’s largest product library, are easily embedded in a cannabis retailer’s website, integrates with most POS systems, and has built-in compliance maintaining features such as age-checks, purchasing limits, and more.
Dutchie helps retailers make smarter data-driven decisions by giving them a robust suite of analytics and insights. The analytics feature provides insights into product sales trends allowing cannabis retailers to track and optimize.
Dutchie provides the ability to maintain a product catalog with the ability to edit and the new front-end interface gives retailers a polished and content-rich display for customers, both online and in-store via mounted tablets. Aside from some subtle tweaks to the grouping and categorization and allowing for more customization, Dutchie generally seems to be appreciated by cannabis retail operators.
”Dutchie has been an instrumental part of our digital/online and in store experience. Its turnkey ability to seamlessly integrate into our Covas POS system and Squarespace backend has saved us significant time, effort and cost. It’s a must have for cannabis retail operatorsMike Dunn, Owner of 1922 Cannabis Retail
For Cannabis Brands
Dutchie doesn’t allow brands to advertise on the online menu platform, However, they give retailers the ability to showcase different carousels of products on their homepage and ensure their favorite brands/top sellers are getting the digital shelf space they need and deserve.
For Cannabis Consumers
Consumers have the option to browse by categories, brands, and specials. The popular products for each category are displayed on the home page, with badges for staff picks and products on sale.
When the consumer clicks on a specific product, more information about the product is displayed, including the plant morphology, THC/CBD content, and intended effects. There is also a section that provides more information about the brand that the product belongs to.
Dutchie’s online menus also facilitate pickup/curbside/delivery orders through embedded menus on cannabis retailers’ websites.
”At Dutchie, we have a relentless focus on the success of our retailers. Our job is to understand their needs, wants, pain points, and build a solution that their customers love to use. This means first learning the cannabis consumer's buying journey, and then creating a platform that allows the retailer to cater to where they are (i.e. mobile) with a unique, customized, and personal experience.Shahbaaz Kara-Virani, Head of Canadian Sales at Dutchie
For Cannabis Retailers
Click-and-Collect + Online Menus are just some of the many products Buddi has created for cannabis retailers. Buddi’s online menu platform comes with over 2,000 cannabis products pre-loaded, easily embeds into the cannabis retailer’s website, syncs up with some POS systems, and is compliant for each Canadian province.
Where Buddi separates themselves from the competition is by offering their online menu platform to cannabis retailers for free. Buddi runs advertisements and aggregates sales insights for cannabis Licensed Producers on their website and on retailer’s online menus. They even offer to help setup websites for cannabis retailers free of charge.
”Buddi was the only provider that offered an easy online ecommerce solution as well as a full front of store option as well. I also felt that the solution offered easy filtering in categories that customers really want. This company just knows cannabis customers! Lastly, the customer service offered by the team is second to none and their uptime across all of our software vendors is the best. I can't imagine our business without Buddi!Simon Reid, Co-Owner of Boondom Cannabis Store
For Cannabis Brands
Because Buddi’s online menus are only visible on cannabis retailer’s websites, an age-gated environment, they are able to run advertisements for cannabis brands. The advertisements displayed on a retailer’s website are typically only for the products or brands that the cannabis retailer is already selling.
For Cannabis Consumers
Consumers can browse by product type, size, and strain. The home page displays a random assortment of products as well as ads for promoted cannabis brands.
When the consumer clicks on a specific product, there’s more information about the product, such as a detailed description, the plant morphology, THC/CBD content, flavours, growing method, and origin.
”As a Canadian company, we're hyper-focused on delivering tools that are tailored for stores in all Provinces, so whether online ordering, online payments, or delivery are allowed, or not, our system caters to everyone. Wherever our retail partners operate though, margins are generally tight, so the need for a cost-effective solution that helps drive more revenue is critical. Our business model is unique in that we don't charge the retailer anything, it's totally free, and instead make our money advertising LPs on the menu systems, which in turn up-sells customers to buy more from the store; it's a true win-win.Ryan Lalonde, CEO of Buddi
The Future of Cannabis Retail Online Menus
These aren’t the only options for cannabis retail online menus, but they are the most popular ones in Canada. There are other tools available for those cannabis retailers who feel like taking on more of the work to set up the online menu, such as using Shopify or other e-commerce plugins for WordPress websites such as WooCommerce.
In the medical and legacy cannabis markets, many brands used Leafly and Weedmaps to host their online menus. Although both of these platforms still offer online menus and click-and-collect services, their popularity and relevance has faded as they have failed to adapt to the Canadian recreational market as fast as companies like Buddi and Dutchie. Leafly and Weedmaps have been slower to integrate with POS systems and website providers. Although they remain popular in the USA, these two platforms have undoubtedly lost market share to smaller companies like Buddi and Dutchie in the past two years since legalization.
As the market for cannabis retail online menus continues to grow with the increased consumer demand and opening of new cannabis retail locations across Canada, there will be more opportunities for new platforms to emerge in the space. Will Dutchie and Buddi continue to be the go-to sources for cannabis retail online menus, or will a new competitor challenge them? Only time will tell.
Last Updated on April 9, 2021 by ADCANN