It’s no secret cannabis has a long history of stigmatization. There are countless movies, books, songs, artwork and mentions throughout pop culture that vividly paint a picture of lazy, lethargic and seemingly detached individuals. But as cannabis has begun to go mainstream from California to Vermont, there are a bevy of factors that have played into the changing attitudes surrounding the plant.
One of the biggest factors is data. Data doesn’t lie. Numbers are black and white and by recognizing consumer buying patterns, predicting and tracking trends, cannabis companies are able to establish themselves as legally compliant, reputable businesses. Treez, an enterprise-quality retail management system, is one of the companies spearheading cannabis’s de-stigmatization through data. Based in Oakland, the company started 4 years ago in an effort to solve a high volume retail problem. They are now working with the top multi-location dispensaries in California, and specialize in surfacing actionable data on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
John Yang is the CEO of Treez and said, “After adult-use legalization in California, our data largely reported that patients did not choose to renew MMJ cards. At the same time, there were lots of new recreational/adult-use customers. This trend shows there is less stigma around cannabis and visiting shops and Treez has made efforts to help with this by offering online ordering so customers feel more comfortable. With our platform customers are also able to get in as quick a possible in discreet manner. Overall our online digital offerings transfer into a better experience in store.”
With the data Treez collects, they are able to validate and normalize several areas of the cannabis sector, including:
- Stigma Lifting: Using data legitimizes the industry because it helps recognize customer buying patterns, merchandise products, predict and track trends. Before 2018, it wasn't necessary for retailers to record data in many states. This kind of data can also help erase some of the stereotypes affiliated with regular cannabis consumers.
- Emerging Enterprise: Companies like Treez mark a new era in the industry. Before Treez and others existed, compiling data and analytics was ad hoc. Now, sophisticated software like Treez allows dispensaries to function like any other retailer by surfacing actionable data on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
- Playing with the Pros: More and more high profile professionals from other industries are moving into cannabis. Legitimizing the industry through innovative technologies and standardizing best practices is paramount to the success of cannabis as an industry. Professionals like John, who have a background at companies like Oracle, etc. see a major opportunity in cannabis and especially cannabis tech.
- Compliance is Key: Data keeps companies compliant. Treez makes it easier for dispensaries to remain licensed and operational within an ever-evolving regulatory landscape.
- Measuring Metrics: Measuring your retail performance metrics allows operators to set monthly and yearly company initiatives to drive more sales per square foot. Pushing the cannabis industry into the modern, technological age of commerce.
- Selling Through Data: The traditional retail setup involves a line that leads to sales counters. More efficient setups allow for decentralized sales to happen outside of the line. This helps to optimize sales rates for faster-paced customers and allows for more data capture points. When we determine what methods for purchasing customers respond positively to — kiosk, eCommerce, express in-store ordering, delivery etc. — the industry will morph to suit the modern savvy consumer. Not to mention, opening doors for individuals who can't access brick & mortar locations.
One thing is for sure, the more data that platforms such as this are able to collect and report on, the more it mainstreams the cannabis conversation...something I think we would all like to see more of.