Global ecommerce sales jumped from $4 trillion in 2022 to $6.3 trillion in 2023, largely thanks to the pandemic-fueled uptick in online shopping that’s created a lasting preference for digital purchases. From online ordering and SEO optimization to transport solutions and analytics tools, ecommerce providers have been helping bolster dispensary retail by streamlining a laundry list of valuable but time-consuming marketing and sales activities.
The following seven ecommerce providers are taking cues from the success seen in the traditional CPG space. While their functionality and areas of expertise may differ, they’re all focused on providing cannabis companies with the latest tools to appeal to customers in compelling ways while improving profitability.
Unlike most of its competitors, Dispense is strictly SaaS. There is no market component to the business, which means there’s no conflict of interest when it comes to a retailer’s customer and transaction data.
“We’ve seen similar situations play out in other industries—specifically restaurants, where platforms like GrubHub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, etc. use customer and transaction data to market to customers and other retailers, or even market their own brand of food,” said Jeremy Johnson, business development and partnerships manager at Dispense.
According to Johnson, the team is more Shopify than Amazon in that sense. The company is focused on creating an open ecosystem for cannabis technology, which is why it has integrations with eight of the leading POS systems in cannabis, with three payment partners and more on the way in 2024.
“We are solely focused on ecommerce rather than being an all-in-one solution with POS, payments, and more. We partner with best-in-class solutions for other services and believe in optionality when it comes to tech stacks,” Johnson said.
While Dispense’s options might appear limited in comparison to its competitors, Dispense still boasts unique features like crawlable and indexable menus, Google Analytics connectivity, and a strong emphasis on SEO to boost searchability. For 2024, the team is focusing on increasing online payment adoption via ACH partners while offering new and easier ways for customers to pay for their orders online.
“Dispensaries are required to handle tremendous compliance burdens with regulations that are constantly changing and directly impact daily operations,” said Dutchie’s Vice President of Legal Bryan Barash.” Dutchie is at the forefront of compliance and government relations, rapidly building critical compliance workflows across all legal states into our platform while simultaneously working with lawmakers and regulators on key policies affecting the industry.”
It’s this emphasis on compliance that sets Dutchie apart from its competitors. Many businesses choose Dutchie when they want to let someone else handle the regulation mumbo jumbo. With compliance handled, the focus and time can shift toward growth and revenue.
“Above all, we take pride in enabling our customers to expand their consumer base and sell more through our platform, both online and in-store,” Barash said. “In fact, customers switching from non-Dutchie cannabis ecommerce products can increase their online orders by over 70 percent and online sales by over 55 percent, simply by using Dutchie’s standard ecommerce menu with embedded SEO functionality.”
With features like smart inventory management, discount engines, and integrated cashless payments, Dutchie is dedicated to driving operational efficiency that allows customers to stay ahead. For Q1, more dispensaries will have access to the Dutchie Hub, a consolidation of cashless payments, smart discounts, and loyalty in one customer-facing device that is designed to modernize cannabis payments and remove the gap between online and in-person shopping experiences.
The Jane team’s first order of business was to invest in building a universal product catalog before its developers wrote a single line of software code. Co-founder and CEO Socrates Rosenfeld believed the industry would eventually need to standardize the taxonomy of cannabis products in order to unify the nation’s markets for impending federal legalization.
“The Jane Catalog now organizes content for over two million SKUs, and because of that early investment, it serves as the foundation that allows us to integrate POS, ecommerce, media, analytics, and payments onto a single unified infrastructure,” Rosenfeld said. “We help our dispensary partners integrate their product inventory into their digital ecosystem in a seamless way, whether it’s powering their website menus or POS. We leverage the Jane Catalog to create a personalized experience for their online and in-store customers by curating cannabis products like Spotify curates songs.”
The team recently launched Jane Gold, a new consumer rewards program that allows brands to connect directly with their customers across the Jane ecosystem. Participating customers can qualify to earn exclusive cash back from their favorite brands, discover new and favorite products with a personalized experience, and get early access to new Jane and brand benefits.
Built on a strong foundation of SEO content, Leafly is where consumers go to educate themselves on cannabis products while purchasing from legal, licensed retailers throughout the nation. A sort of cannabis-news-hub-meets-ecommerce-provider, Leafly is annually visited by 100 million customers and curious Georges alike, and four percent of those visits convert to a sale.
The platform features over 4,600 national retailers, accompanied by over 1.3 million product reviews to help consumers make a decision from home. Leafly also offers strain reviews for over 5,000 phenotypes, providing extensive and invaluable education to consumers searching online.
Tymber (via BLAZE)
BLAZE Cannabis acquired Tymber in 2023, hoping to add ecommerce to its existing toolkit of dispensary and delivery support. For Tymber, the acquisition unlocked an essential POS integration that extends its offerings even further.
The platform powers native ecommerce websites, branded mobile apps, self-serve kiosks, and automated marketing for more than 150 retailers in 15 states and two provinces. With Tymber, retailers are able to improve their Google rankings with brand, product, and category pages. Tymber also offers dynamic, location-based menus and allows customers to order and schedule deliveries while reducing checkout bottlenecks through ACH-integrated payments.
Sweed’s all-in-one system offers analytics, integrated marketing tactics, and automation features to help dispensaries scale and succeed. The platform provides retailers with POS solutions and entry-level enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools designed for optimal management and growth.
With Sweed, retailers can accept orders from suppliers, manage warehouse inventory, and export data to QuickBooks all through one app—there’s no need for any additional logins, plug-ins, or accessories. The ecommerce provider also offers customizable loyalty programs, online ordering, e-wallet services, and delivery.
Last but certainly not least, Weedmaps is one of the most popular ecommerce providers on the market. The company was one of the first to put cannabis retail on a map with a simple dispensary listing service when the industry was still very much taboo.
Today, Weedmaps provides value to its partners and users with omnichannel marketing and advertising, plant news and education, and the brand’s signature consumer-facing platform for online ordering, local menu listings, and product discovery. Weedmaps positions itself as a turnkey solution for cannabis retail that turns web traffic into pick-up and delivery orders through an easy-to-use fulfillment platform.