The 3 Main Issues Facing Cannabis Retailers Today And How To Solve Them, According To Weedmaps' CEO

Zinger Key Points
  • WM Technology CEO Chris Beals shared his thoughts about the challenges facing cannabis retail.
  • Among the issues were too many products in a store, which can confuse customers.

WM Technology Inc MAPS is best known for its online cannabis marketplace Weedmaps, but the company is also working hard on providing business solutions for brands and retailers across the cannabis market.

Chris Beals, CEO of the 15-year-old company, explained that “providing 360-degree coverage for how cannabis retailers and brands drive revenue with consumers” is the main objective of the company’s SaaS suite of software.

Beals gave a live keynote on Tuesday at the Chicago edition of the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, presented at the Palmer House Hilton on September 13 and 14.

The 3 Main Issues For Cannabis Retailers Today And How Weedmaps is Helping

Beals said there are three critical issues cannabis retailers are currently facing that his company has set out to solve.

Issue 1: As markets mature, the number of SKUs and products retailers have to carry is increasing exponentially.

According to Beals, consumers are deciding where to purchase their weed based on the product variety that a retailer has to offer.

“What we’re doing with live POS innovation is making it incredibly easy for retailers to surface what they actually have in stock right now, that people can order,” said Beals.

Issue 2: Stemming from too many products, consumers appear to be growing increasingly confused. That’s according to Weedmaps’s own surveys.

“When consumers are in a store, it’s an overwhelming experience,” said Beals. “It’s not possible for a retailer to give consumers enough information, for them to know how to shop.”

The company saw the most intensive use of its app happening from within brick-and-mortar stores, as consumers used Weedmaps’ tools to try to make sense of the extensive product offerings.

This situation became even more complicated when considering there aren’t any unified brand catalogs, said Beals.

For this, Weedmaps is using its own proprietary brand data, while also working with brands to help curate that information, making it easier for consumers to find and choose products.

Issue 3: Compliance costs are going up, as well as the complexity of the compliance rules, leading to compressed margins for retailers.

“Any time I see a place where you have the complexity or the need to operate with fluidity and efficiency, [the answer is] technology, technology, technology,” said Beals. “That’s where the SaaS side of the solution comes in.”

The CEO emphasized his company’s focus is to remove friction and reduce the labor required to manage the marketplace, analyze customer data and fulfill delivery orders.

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The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is coming to Florida

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is returning to Florida, in a new venue in Hollywood, on April 16 and 17, 2024. The two-day event at The Diplomat Beach Resort will be a chance for entrepreneurs, both large and small, to network, learn and grow. Renowned for its trendsetting abilities and influence on the future of cannabis, mark your calendars – this conference is the go-to event of the year for the cannabis world.

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