VARs Should Offer Broader Solutions to Cannabis Dispensaries

Because the RSPA is North America’s largest community of VARs, software developers, vendors, and distributors in the retail, restaurant, and grocery verticals, the association is strongly positioned to meet the needs of IT solution providers who serve cannabis dispensaries. The RSPA Cannabis Community, created in late 2020, helps members meet and network with others interested in the cannabis vertical and fosters business development opportunities for RSPA members, all in a vendor-neutral atmosphere.

By: RSPA Cannabis Community

The headline you just read was the consensus thinking of the executives attending a recent online meeting of the RSPA Niche & Startup ISV Community. Often times VARs attempting to penetrate this vertical focus only on the point of sale system and related software, and they find little success because of the glut of companies pushing their own POS solution.

Savvy VARs have found a profitable alternate path that helps them establish an immediate business relationship with the dispensary – with sights set on becoming that merchant’s trusted advisor in the long run. Among the top comments from the meeting were:

  • The goal is to have a reseller sell more. To do that, we need to think more broadly about the dispensary from a technology standpoint. We need to think about things like labeling because that plays an important role in a dispensary.
  • A bunch of us that deal in certain portions of technology need to get together on what we could provide beyond payments and the POS. We need to ask the dispensaries, “What other technology do you need besides POS?”
  • You could have something like a self-audit: “Are you doing XYZ (e.g. WiFi, digital signage, video surveillance, access control, data backup)? What are the ramifications if you don’t? What are the rewards if you do?”
  • Page 4 of the RSPA eBook 7 Elements of a Successful Cannabis VAR lists 34 options for what VARs can sell into dispensaries.
  • Look at all we could be doing today! If you have the full complement of offerings, you own that account. If you don’t offer all those technologies or services, this is a great partnering opportunity.
  • I want to have a reason for dispensaries to talk with me, and a lot of times it’s the other technologies I haven’t offered in the past that get their attention.
  • Look to see which areas of technology are the least saturated. There might be some areas you don’t want to play in because you will be getting a lot of “no’s” because the competition is already there. So which of those technologies are the right entry point for you?
  • The POS can be too challenging with all its regulations. Numbers 27-34 on that list in the eBook are your opportunity because they require very little integration: 27-wireless, 28-VoIP, 29-loss prevention, 30-video surveillance systems, 31-access control, 32-cybersecurity, 33-BDR (Backup and Disaster Recovery), 34-Cellular failover
  • All of these technologies get you in the door. If we wait for payments, the market will be consumed by everybody else.

Did You Know …
After a successful debut last year, the cannabis education track and Cannabis Community networking event will return to RetailNOW 2022. The reception will take place Sunday, July 24, just before the Welcome Reception, followed by four special breakouts Monday and Tuesday, July 25-26. Hope to see you there!

To join or sponsor the RSPA Cannabis Community, email