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Online Ordering is the Future of Cannabis. Are You Ready?

Let’s be real: we basically order everything online these days. Food, clothing, furniture, books, office supplies, make-up, video games. You name it, we’ve probably ordered it.

During COVID, online sales have especially spiked for toilet paper, over-the-counter drugs and non-perishable goods. Not to mention one other category: cannabis.

Ordering cannabis online is a convenient way to stock up on your favorite strains. It’s also the future of cannabis. Let’s go in-depth into how it works, why it’s a great idea, and the main challenges moving forward. 

How does ordering cannabis online work?

There are three main methods for ordering cannabis online. Because of certain legal restrictions, cannabis delivery services are only offered in these US states: Arizona, Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Cannabis shops and dispensaries are providing hybrid ordering and pick-up methods to get around this.

  • Online purchase & regular delivery: In approved states, cannabis can be ordered online and delivered to your home.
  • Online pre-purchase & curbside pick-up: In other states, cannabis dispensaries are offering pre-purchase with curbside pick-up. This means you can order online with an easy-to-use menu and then pick-up the order yourself. Many shops do this via curbside so that you don’t even have to enter the shop.
  • Curbside purchase & pick-up: If you don’t want to order online, some dispensaries also let you drive to the shop and do purchase and pick-up from your car.

Key benefits of online cannabis ordering

Online cannabis ordering just makes sense. Major players in the cannabis industry – such as Leafy, Weedmaps, Jane and Dutchie – are headlining this movement. For both businesses and consumers, there are several reasons why ordering cannabis online will soon be the norm.

  • COVID-friendly: Online cannabis ordering is COVID-friendly because it avoids grouping in shops and also allows for contactless curbside pick-up and/or delivery.
  • Better customer service: Customers across the board adore online shopping because it’s so darn convenient. For cannabis, they can review the menu, order cannabis and then receive a text alert when their order is ready. Easy-peasy.
  • More sales: Shops are also able to reach more customers with online cannabis ordering. Instead of just in-store purchases, they can capture new customers online.
  • Use of shopping habits data: Online ordering is also useful for cannabis dispensaries because of the shopping data. Having clear information about customers only helps businesses tweak their marketing strategy.

Challenges of full-scale online cannabis ordering

Of course, it will take time and effort to get full-scale online cannabis ordering. Unique challenges in the cannabis industry mean that this future is not yet here.

  • Complicated shipping/delivery laws: For now, cannabis trade can’t cross state lines. Delivery of cannabis is also illegal in most states (except those listed above).
  • Disparity between federal and state law: The difference between the federal ban on cannabis and state legality can be a problem for companies trying to innovate in the cannabis sphere.
  • Reluctance of credit card companies to partner with cannabis: Unlike other industries that drive sales with credit card payments and/or promotions, cannabis doesn’t yet have this option. Credit card companies are still hesitant because of the continued federal ban on cannabis.
  • Divisive public opinion: The range of public opinion on cannabis also affects how the industry is able to cater to cannabis users, while also maintaining positive public opinion.

Final takeaway

The world is going digital. According to estimates, global e-retail sales will reach $4.8 trillion by 2021. The cannabis industry is moving in this direction by offering hybrid online purchase and pick-up options. Besides online ordering, cannabis shops are also innovating through web marketing and app offerings.

Want to offer online ordering for your cannabis shop? Contact the Onsharp team for a tech consultation.

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