Switching to a new cannabis dispensary POS system is a pretty hard decision to make, especially when you consider the additional costs involved and the fact that you’ll have to train your staff all over again.
But that doesn’t mean that you should stick to your old system and miss out on the potentially exciting features of a new one. So, to make the transition a little easier, below is a thorough walkthrough of seamlessly switching to a new POS system at your cannabis dispensary.
Common Challenges Facing Software Transition
Here are some of the most common challenges that legal cannabis dispensary owners, managers, and employees face when switching from one POS software to another.
Moving to a new dispensary POS software comes with a few added costs, including a one-time onboarding fee from your new provider and cancellation fees from your previous software solutions provider. You might also need to buy new hardware.
Although most dispensary POS systems have similar features, they work differently. Therefore, as you change the software, you’ll need to retrain your employees so they can use the new system effortlessly.
All business data must be accurate before you move it to a new system. If you transfer corrupt or incomplete data to your new POS system, it may display incorrect information or even fall out of compliance.
However, switching to a different POS system presents an incredible opportunity to fix bad data or even start from a clean slate.
Inventory management is one of the most widely used features of any dispensary POS system. Since all your inventory data lives in your old system, you’ll need to transfer it to your new system.
Requirements for reporting and tracking inventory vary from state to state. Therefore, you should ensure that the software solution you choose can cater to all your state’s compliance regulations.
How to Ensure a Successful Software Transition
Clean Your Data
You should first understand the data you have. In this case, data refers to all the information you have in your current POS system. Your dispensary’s data includes the types of CBD products you have in stock, their respective prices, your employee details, and much more.
Depending on your current POS software, you may need to make a few changes to your data. Most dispensary software requires different fields for data, including the number and types of cannabis products in stock, their respective purchasing limits, and your dispensary’s discount and loyalty programs. So you may have to input it manually.
Clean data can make the switching process a whole lot easier. Conversely, messy data can make the process difficult and will eventually breed new problems. For instance, improperly formatted phone numbers and email addresses may make it difficult to contact vendors and customers in the future.
You can also consider starting fresh, which could mean more work upfront. But your business operations will be much easier in the long run since you’re working with clean data.
Set Realistic Expectations
Before you even get to it, you should first understand that the process might take some time and effort. Most software companies provide dedicated teams to help you through the onboarding process. Try talking to them so you know what they can do for you and how long the process might take.
The onboarding process may take a few days to several weeks, depending on the nature of your data and the complexity of your business. Working together with a dedicated team can help you come up with realistic deadlines.
Test Your Hardware
It is advisable to test your hardware prior to switching to ensure everything is working correctly. If you need to buy new hardware, make sure you account for everything before the onboarding process begins. You should also be wary of hardware that only works with specific software. After all, you don’t want your hardware to limit your software options.
How to Switch Dispensary POS Software
Although the process of switching from one dispensary POS system varies from one software to another, most have similar requirements. Here is a brief description of what you might experience when switching to Parsl.
Step 1: Setting Up the Foundational Back End
The first part of the software onboarding process typically involves setting up the back end of the new software. This includes everything from cannabis product prices, taxes that your dispensary is supposed to pay, suppliers, employees, customer groups, and much more. Once you’ve set up all these parts of the system, your software provider’s onboarding team will make sure that everything is set up correctly.
Step 2: Add Inventory
Once your back-end is set up, it’s time to add your inventory. While you’re at it, it is vital to ensure that all item information is properly entered into the system. Details commonly included per product are brand, product name such as CBD oil, its cost, the supplier, weight, package ID, units of measurements used, batch, and pre-tax price.
Step 3: Create Reports and Deals
If your dispensary offers any deals, discounts, or specials, you shouldn’t skip this step. Most dispensary software features a deals engine that allows you to build, test, and use your offers.
Once you’re done with the first part, your software provider’s onboarding team will help you run pre-built reports and even create custom reports. These reports can help you better manage your business by tracking sales, expenditure, and employee performance.
Step 4: Add Necessary Integrations
If you plan on setting up any API integrations with your partner network, this is the time to make sure everything is properly connected and ready to go. You can also add any useful mobile tools. Parsl, for example, has a state compliance integration feature that keeps you compliant by digging and collecting data to match your state’s specific regulations. You can then submit your compliance reporting directly via its portal admin.
Step 5: Train Your Employees
If you’ve been working alone or with a small team to set up the POS software until this point, now is the time to train all other employees to use the system. You can hold a few training sessions to make sure they know how to scan items and complete common transactions like price checks and accepting different types of payment from customers.
Step 6: Perform a Pre-Go-Live Checklist
At this point, your dispensary POS software is all set up and ready to use. However, you still need to double-check the entire system to ensure it’s working correctly. Most cannabis-specific POS system providers offer a state-specific checklist to help you ensure everything is working correctly from a compliance standpoint.
The Bottom Line
It’s never too late to switch your dispensary POS system. Why settle for a mediocre system when you can have the best? If you previously thought of the process as daunting, hopefully, this guide has shed a little light on your predicament.