Managing a cannabis dispensary requires impeccable operations and constant housekeeping to maintain compliance and satisfy customer demand. The right dispensary point-of-sale system can help you keep your business in order, but finding the best dispensary POS software for your particular needs is tricky.
What is the best dispensary POS software? It depends!
With varying state markets and regulations, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
But, no matter which dispensary POS system you go with, there are a few standard procedures you should make sure they provide, like:
ID scanning for purchaser age verification
Tracking inventory in real-time (and across locations if you own more than one cannabis business)
Managing state traceability reporting
At this point, these features are typical in most cannabis POS systems, so finding the best retail management software for your business comes down to your specific needs.
Read on for five questions to consider when determining which POS system is right for your dispensary.
1. What state are you in?
Since each state has their own laws regarding cannabis sales, each market has different requirements. Few dispensary POS providers serve all markets, so where you are will immediately give you a shortlist of options.
For example, cannabis retailers in markets including California and Oregon are required to use the Metrc seed-to-sale tracking system, whereas those in New Mexico or Illinois are required to use BioTrack.
Different dispensary POS solutions support different seed-to-sale tracking systems, so your business’s location will narrow down which providers you can choose from. Be sure to only go with POS providers who can handle your state reporting needs.
You’ll have specific laws and regulations for your market for things like purchase limits, track and trace requirements, delivery and order ahead.
2. What’s your budget?
Most dispensary POS providers are pretty competitively priced these days, but it’s still important to consider your budget.
You can expect to pay between $350-$750+ per month per store location depending on number of terminals, users and integrations you need. POS vendors typically charge a one-time implementation fee ranging from $500-$1,000 per location to get started on the platform.
Be sure to shop around and ask questions about payment terms before deciding which dispensary POS system is best for you.
Some POS solutions are offered at a standard monthly rate, while others are custom quote-based depending on the size of your business and your needs. Some are more transparent about pricing, like Flowhub, while others do not disclose pricing upfront.
Know the cancellation terms and ask about any add-ons outside the base price.
If your store holds a social equity license designated by a state agency or if you are part of an underrepresented group disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs, check to see if the POS provider can offer discounted pricing or has some other Social Equity Program with benefits in place.
Learn about Flowhub's Social Equity Program and apply here.
3. Do you need more than a POS?
Choosing a dispensary POS system that “does it all” and handles everything from seed to sale might sound like the right move, but first consider what “all” you actually need done.
If you’re strictly a cannabis retail business, you don’t need a dispensary POS system that tracks everything starting at the seed. Choosing a seed-to-sale provider could mean paying for a bunch of features you’ll never use because they don’t apply to your business.
So if you’re a vertically integrated business, you need vertically integrated software, right?! Nope. Your better option might be a best-in-class dispensary POS provider.
Quick Hit: Why You Should Rethink Seed-to-Sale Software
A best-in-class option could help you avoid:
Diluted software features
4. What hardware do you have?
If your dispensary is already established, find a POS system that works with the hardware you have to avoid needing to purchase all new hardware and software.
If you’re just starting your dispensary setup, it’ll be helpful and cost-effective to choose the best dispensary POS software for your business before purchasing all your hardware so you can make sure the two are compatible.
Fortunately, many dispensary POS software solutions — including Flowhub — are hardware-friendly, meaning they work with multiple types of hardware and operating systems, such as iPads, tablets, Apple, and Windows products.
Finding hardware that works for your shop shouldn’t be too difficult. Here's a list of compatible Flowhub hardware offered by our preferred hardware and IT partner, Barcodes. It's a one stop shop for tested hardware with everything from barcode scanners to label printers.
5. What other cannabis tech do you use?
If your dispensary offers, or will offer, services like online ordering, curbside pickup, or delivery, the top POS software for your dispensary must be one that integrates with other cannabis tech so all your sales and inventory are synced.
Many retail POS systems offer cannabis tech integrations. Flowhub has deep integrations with the top platforms in the cannabis industry, including:
Dispensary owners will want integrations for things like point of banking, customer loyalty programs, ecommerce, CRM, online menus, or anything else that helps your dispensary stand out and improve the customer experience.
If you are looking to purchase multiple tools at once, ask your POS about pricing bundles with partners. You might get an even sweeter deal.
How to choose the top dispensary POS software
Finding the best POS software solution for your dispensary will take research, but answering these five questions can help narrow down your options. The truth is there is no "best" option (and be wary of anyone who says there is).
Before making a decision, check with your budtenders, inventory managers, accountants and other store staff because they’ll be using the software daily and you'll want to make sure this new tool will be useful for everyone in your operation.
If you’re looking for a best-in-class cannabis POS partner that's fast, easy to use and plays nice with others, Flowhub may be a great option. Request a demo to see how we can help your cannabis business.