digital education

Digital Education Provides Consistent, Accurate Cannabis Message

by | Mar 21, 2019

digital education

Written by Jessica McKeil

Jessica McKeil is a cannabis writer and B2B content marketer living in British Columbia, Canada. Her focus on cannabis tech, scientific breakthroughs, and extraction has led to bylines with Cannabis & Tech Today, Terpenes and Testing, Analytical Cannabis, and Grow Mag among others. She is the owner and lead-writer of Sea to Sky Content, which provides content and strategy to the industry’s biggest brands.

Talk to any staff member and they’ll tell you that the most significant bottleneck at the dispensary counter is one related to (a lack of) customer education. How long does the budtender spend answering the same ten questions every day, versus upselling the customer? As more customers become interested in cannabis, there is a growing need for better cannabis education, but this hinders the sales staff’s ability to sell.

Seed Technology and Digital Education for Cannabis

Matt Cutone, President, and CEO of Seed Technology is moving to correct the cannabis knowledge gap with their interactive, SaaS-based platform. The Seed kiosk is a fully customizable, integrated approach to teaching consumers about all-things cannabis, without taking up the valuable time of the sales team and eating into the dispensary’s profitability.

Cutone developed a similar hands-on, interactive display for other industries with his company Horizon Display. Horizon Display launched a successful customer digital education system for Drybar, a beauty salon which subsequently experienced a significant sales lift of 52% by using the technology. As a result, the immersive experience is currently being rolled out across Drybar locations nationwide.

Cutone and his team immediately saw the potential in replicating this style of consumer education and product exploration across other industries. Unsurprisingly, an industry on the verge of exploding but also suffering from a massive information gap – the cannabis market stood out as the next frontier.

digital education

In 2018, Seed Technology launched its consumer-facing digital education tool into a number of dispensaries, including The Kana Company, Exhalence and Sunburst Pharm. The platform operates on a 22” display, located within the waiting room or dispensing room itself, and provides a discreet, educational exploration prior to hastily rushing into a purchase.

The kiosk is entirely interactive and funnels valuable consumer intel back to the dispensary. It offers comprehensive cannabis education, including a glossary, Cannabis 101 and an ever-expanding FAQ section, which is sourced by budtenders themselves. Also, it’s fully integrated with a brand’s inventory to give product suggestions based on how a user answers questions in the interactive consultation and what is in-stock.

Cannabis Tech recently had the opportunity to speak with Cutone about the specifics of Seed and the beneficial feedback loop their software offers between customers and dispensaries. Here are the big takeaways:

Addressing the Information Gap

Cutone and the team at Seed know “there is a huge gap that needs to be filled, a real problem to be solved” across the cannabis industry. Many are eager to finally try cannabis, but only a small fraction understand the jargon and fundamentals of the plant. With information evolving all the time, it’s even difficult for dispensary staff to stay up to date, let alone those consumers who may have little experience with it.

Seed addresses this cannabis education gap by putting information in front of consumers that is clear, easy to access and consistent. Consumers can easily explore the many definitions, methods of consumption, terpene and cannabinoid profiles, as well as product or strain suggestions based on specific medical conditions. It’s a simple system that makes the entire learning curve much less overwhelming for the new consumer.

Consistent and Accurate Information

According to Cutone, thousands of hours of research went into the back end of the Seed system to ensure it had scientifically accurate information, based on only the most robust science. From a glossary section, covering the very fundamentals of cannabis, to a more informative Cannabis 101 section, meant to walk consumers through essential concepts, a consumer gets the information they need before interacting with dispensary staff.

Again, this interactive, consumer-driven approach to learning takes the onus (and liability, to an extent) off of the dispensary. When an employee is well-informed, they are seen as an invaluable source of information; however, in an exploding industry like cannabis, not all take the initiative to become well-educated in their field.

Budtenders aren’t always up to date and can sometimes be misinformed, which means the cycle of inaccurate information being fed to the consumer continues. Seed Technology is a one-stop shop void of these inconsistencies. Every consumer receives the same guidance, suggestions, and information.

Loyalty Program and Inventory Integration

Seed understands the importance of a dispensary’s software stack being able to communicate, which is why it offers full integration to the dispensary POS system, including inventory systems and loyalty programs. Both are valuable sources of information, and both help direct the consumer towards suitable products. When a customer first approaches the Seed kiosk, a series of quick demographic questions are presented, or that customer can log right into the loyalty program.

Through integration with the dispensary’s inventory, Seed offers the consumer customized product suggestions based on what items are currently available, which can also be adjusted based on dispensary preferences. For example, if edibles are not an option in a particular region, the Seed platform can be customized to reflect this.

Data Collection

The interactive aspect of the Seed experience pulls valuable information from customers, from basic demographics to specific product interests. Through a series of high-level questions, the Seed platform guides consumers towards a suitable suggestion that leaves them satisfied with their purchase.

Questions include, “What type of experience are you interested in?”, “What are you using cannabis for?” and “What is your preferred method of consumption?” The data is immediately available to the dispensary and can help manage inventory, influence product selection and allow the brand to better adapt to the needs of their customer base.

Although Seed, as it exists in the cannabis space, is a relatively new application, Cutone says they are already getting ready to launch version 2.0. This new version improves on client navigation as well as revamped aesthetics. Thanks to the constant feedback loop of consumer data, the system is only going to continue to improve as Seed analyzes the wealth of information it receives via the terminals.

Seed is a technology which brings consumers closer to the buying process through a highly customized and branded digital educational experience. Staff get more time to sell and benefit from interacting with consumers who now have more in-depth knowledge about cannabis in general and an idea of the products suitable for their needs. The series of touchpoints from the consumer’s interaction with the kiosk allows for “direct from the consumer” data collection, which is becoming increasingly invaluable to a dispensary.