Buy online, pick-up in store. Is it time to take your dispensary online?

October 22, 2021
Grace Mabie

Your dispensary’s ability to mirror modern retail shopping experiences will reflect in your sales and customer satisfaction. Dispensaries now offering same-day buy online, pick-up in store options are seeing results.

Shifts in eCommerce driven by the pandemic

Buy Online, Pick-Up in Store (BOPIS) and Buy Online, Pick-Up at Curb (BOPAC) customer shopping options are being rapidly and widely adopted by U.S. retailers.  

 The need for same-day, online order fulfillment intensified in 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic dramatically impacted customer behavior. The year prior, just 19 major retailers offered curbside pick-up. In 2021, that number has risen to 121, according to Digital Commerce 360’s Top 500 Report

 In February 2020, retail giant Walmart’s buy online, pick-up curbside offering was limited to grocery items. However, by May 2020, they had announced that their curbside offering had extended to the entire in-store menu. The result? Online sales increased 74% from the previous quarter during Q1 2020, first announced by Walmart last year on their investor call. 

 A 2020 report by CommerceHub found that 59% of consumers are now more likely to use curbside pickup. Supply chain news and analysis company, Supply Chain Brain, estimates retailers who don’t offer a buy online, pick-up in store option could lose 10-20% of their customer base.

Ready, set, pick-up

Ready to move your dispensary online? For the 36 states where cannabis is legal, it has become a possibility.

Successful online dispensary sales are driven by two things: 1. An accurate, real-time menu of in-stock products and 2. The ability to hold or reserve those products in a shopping cart. Where compliant, the ability to complete the transaction with a digital pre-payment option can raise the average sale size by over 25% and decrease shopping cart abandonment by 30%. 

Enter eCommerce solutions built specifically for the cannabis industry. These eCommerce solutions allow customers to shop from accurate online menus representing a dispensary’s inventory. Payment providers, like AeroPay, are integrated into eCommerce software solutions to accept digital payments, allowing customers to complete their orders online. “Integration is the key,” says AeroPay CEO, Daniel Muller. “With our built-in compliance and eCommerce integration, customers have a seamless checkout experience. Shop from a dispensary online and check out with a simple bank-to-bank transfer. No cash or cards necessary. Just head to the dispensary to pick up your order.”

Cannabis eCommerce and curbside compliance

Even if a dispensary can offer a buy online, pick-up in store experience, this does not mean that a dispensary can necessarily offer curbside pick-up.

 Why? Buy online, pick-up curbside services involve customers staying in their car, nevering entering a dispensary. Cannabis compliance requires dispensaries to conduct customer verification and uphold state-by-state payment collection requirements. These regulations vary from state to state and even county to county. Be sure to check with your compliance team before implementing this extended retail model. 

Many state governments made temporary regulatory exceptions to allow curbside pickup options for dispensaries in the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. As dispensaries were ruled an “essential business,” some state, county or city governments allowed for curbside pickup.

The Apothecarium Dispensary, a multi-location, multi-state operation, now offers curbside pickup services at its San Francisco location. In 2020, San Francisco regulators issued a public health order allowing for temporary curbside pickup and delivery services, while closing public consumption lounges. This public health order was later rescinded and replaced with new language, allowing for both curbside pickup and delivery, as well as reopening public consumption lounges. 

Michigan issued executive orders temporarily permitting curbside pickup services for dispensaries in mid-2020. NOBO Goods offers curbside pickup in Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Edwardsburg, and Muskegon, Michigan. Illinois’ recreational dispensaries, including Hatch, offer curbside pickup options.

Remember, cannabis dispensaries whose state regulations do not allow them to offer curbside pickup may still be able to offer buy online and pick-up in store options. 

The solution – eCommerce + compliant digital payments

Taking your dispensary online requires an eCommerce solution, like Jane, built specifically for the cannabis industry. Jane’s eCommerce software solution, I Heart Jane, integrates with point of sale (POS) systems and compliant digital payment solutions to power your online dispensary. This allows your customers to shop from an accurate menu backed by real-time, product inventory. 

With AeroPay + Jane, customers can pre-pay for their cannabis orders online. This solution has been shown to increase the average spend per customer by over 25% and decrease shopping cart abandonment over 30%. Merchants have the additional benefits of same-day and next-day settlements, and secure, compliant payments.

To learn more about the AeroPay + Jane technology integration book a demo with our sales team.

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