Choosing payment technology is one of the most important decisions when opening a cannabis business. Managing transactions, customer data, and banking information can be a pain. For those in the cannabis industry, however, this is even more difficult when trying to accommodate both local and federal laws.
From software that tracks your data to cash management technology, there are many different pieces that you must consider for your everyday operations. If you have an existing business or have yet to open shop, consider the following retail cannabis hardware for your store.
One of the hardest elements of running a cannabis dispensary is keeping track of your transactions. A proven way to do this is to print receipts and keep them for future reference. That way, you will have a physical copy of all transaction details that you can use for tax purposes, as well as for auditing cash balances.
Make sure that your receipts include:
- Store address
- Cashier name or login
- Brand name
- Category of the product(s) sold
- Total transaction amount
- Sales tax percentage
This information will provide a comprehensive record in case you need to reference the receipts later. Your receipt printer should be able to connect with the rest of your POS system. Some options even allow you to backup receipts to the cloud, making recordkeeping even easier.
Several states require ID verification before customers can purchase cannabis products. This can be a concern for buyers who do not want their personal information in the wrong hands. ID scanners allow you to speed up the verification process and create a smoother customer experience. They also prevent employees from accidentally selling to underage or unregistered users.
You will need a proper cash management system to make sure that your money is both safe and easy to track. This includes hardware like registers, safes, and counterfeit currency detectors. Before you can buy this technology, however, you should carefully plan out how you intend to collect money.
Dispensary cash management is a pain point in the industry. That is because most cannabis retailers accept cash as their primary form of payment. But it is important to remember that state sales taxes still apply to these transactions. If you do not organize and set aside cash properly, you can end up with insufficient funds to cover these costs down the line.
You need to determine the following details of your cash management process:
- How will employees collect cash?
- Where will you store the cash long-term?
- Will you keep any cash in the store at the end of the workday?
- If using a business bank account, who will have access to deposit cash?
- Who will be responsible for reconciling cash balances and/or discrepancies?
- What percentage of your cash will you set aside for business expenses?
As you figure out your strategy, here are the top pieces of hardware that you should consider:
- Cash drawer: Make sure to find one with a secure locking mechanism.
- Safe: A necessary tool for businesses who want to keep large sums of cash in-store.
- Counterfeit currency detectors: These are essential for cash-heavy businesses.
- Register cameras: Install cameras on the register activity to monitor the movement of cash in and out.
The key is to find the simplest system that works for your business. The more steps you add, the harder it will be to keep track of the cash that you are bringing in. You can simplify your process by limiting who can manage cash balances and by putting safety measures in place to protect your assets.
Tablets and Technology
Likely the most expensive piece of equipment you will need is a tablet or computer to process customer orders. Do not just purchase the first tablet you see online. Perform thorough research to determine which model works best for your business.
Factors such as the number of individual products sold and the location of your store will impact your needs. For example, while select stores may have good Wi-Fi service, others may need to invest in a more expensive setup.
The software that you choose to use is equally important as well. POS providers offer a wide variety of services including employee management, cloud storage of transaction history, and more. The more complicated cannabis dispensary laws in your area, the more you should consider a comprehensive POS software package. Extra features can help you manage the crucial data that you may need in the future.
Other pieces of technology that you will need include card readers, styluses (for customers to sign off on receipts), tablet stands, tablet cases, screen protectors, and self-serve kiosks.
The system you choose will depend on the type of experience you want to provide. If you want a more transactional experience, choose a kiosk-style setup. If you want to connect with customers on a more personal level, POS tablets will be the better option.
For managing daily operations, there are numerous other pieces of hardware you will need to secure. Some of the most common include:
- Retail label printers: The products you receive from manufacturers may not have industry-compliant barcodes. Label printers make it easy to create the correct barcodes and labels for anything you sell in your store.
- Regulation signs: Some states require proper signage. You will want to make sure that you have them posted in the correct areas.
- Retail scanners: These scanners allow you to ring up customer orders quicker.
- Scales: There might be a limit on how much product a person can order. Having high-quality scales helps you weigh out the correct amount.
This hardware is not required for all cannabis dispensaries. Check with local laws and your product suppliers to determine which ones you will need to run an efficient and compliant dispensary.