Virtual Queues: An Essential Piece of Dispensary Software
In the retail cannabis industry, it seems every day brings monumental change. Legislation and cultural attitudes are in constant flux. For this reason, succeeding in this budding market no doubt requires resilience and flexibility.
To adequately meet customer expectations while maintaining compliance, dispensaries must monitor recent developments and adapt operations as necessary. Stuck in a steady stream of bureaucracy, efficient cannabis retailers need reliable systems in place to facilitate critical adjustments.
One ever-present obligation of dispensaries is to ensure a positive guest experience that fulfills customer needs quickly and completely. Below, we explore a modern, accessible approach to managing customer flow with your dispensary software: virtual queuing.
What Is a Virtual Queue?
A virtual queuing system is intuitive software for managing customer wait times. The goal is to rethink the need for physical lines by integrating an easy-to-use digital program to organize guests. In many circumstances, including at dispensaries, government offices, and medical facilities, a virtual queuing solution can make waiting more convenient and streamline service times.
The ideal virtual queuing solution uses existing hardware (such as the customer’s own mobile phone or the store’s touch-screen tablets) to enhance these processes. Leveraging the tools visitors are already familiar with makes your dispensary software more user-friendly, accessible, and scalable. Allow us to elaborate.
Why Virtual Queues for Dispensaries?
The main goal of virtual queues in a dispensary setting is to streamline the flow of visitors without sacrificing compliance or the visitor experience, while still meeting organizational needs.
This objective is certainly easier said than done, especially with the constant environmental changes occurring in the cannabis space. When you implement new dispensary software, you need to ensure it achieves the following:
- Complies with all local and federal regulations
- Adequately manages inventory
- Properly stores and protects sensitive data
- Makes employees’ jobs easier or more enjoyable
- Creates a meaningful connection with the customer
Qtrac’s virtual queuing software is a versatile, cutting-edge solution to long wait times that fulfills these priorities and more.
4 Reasons to Implement Virtual Queuing at Your Dispensary
Consider the below advantages of adding virtual queue capabilities to your dispensary software:
1. Appointment Scheduling
Particularly at high-volume medical dispensaries, some states require cannabis patients to receive a consultation from a specialist to determine a treatment plan before making a purchase. Most medical dispensaries also offer ongoing support for patients through these one-on-one appointments to ensure patients consistently purchase the right product. Efficient organization of dispensary appointment schedules is crucial to maintaining client relations and well-being.
2. In-Store Line Management
At best, a cramped waiting room is inconvenient and uncomfortable. But during a healthcare crisis like COVID-19, customer overflow is at worst medically unsafe, especially for those with compromised immune systems. By allowing guests to wait essentially anywhere, a virtual queue creates a more spacious waiting area and even allows for social distancing if necessary. Also, many dispensary locations are small facilities with limited retail space, and physical queues simply can’t accommodate high volumes of visitors. Objectively, proper execution of a virtual queue in this setting can lead to significant dispensary wait time reduction.
3. Queue Optimization
Queue optimization for dispensaries involves managing guests by the specific reason for their visit and matching them with the appropriate product specialist, pharmacist, or budtender. This provides guests with a personalized experience and ensures their questions are answered by a knowledgeable staff member. Queue tracking capabilities encourage streamlined dispensary checkout while properly educating your clientele on product offerings.
4. Retailer Solutions
On top of the above helpful features, virtual queuing software also solves other common problems facing many retailers, regardless of what they sell. For example, Qtrac systems allow for easy collection of visitor feedback, and retailers can use the resulting detailed analytics to address customer service issues. This technology also offers features including digital receipts and purchase tracking to better serve clientele by customizing offerings.
What Should a Dispensary’s Virtual Queue Include?
You may have gathered that dispensary management system software requires all the same capabilities as typical retail software, such as:
- Inventory management
- Point-of-sale (POS)
- Reporting and analytics
However, the strict regulations and associated stigma surrounding cannabis add a measure of complexity to these common operational needs. The retail needs of marijuana dispensaries are more similar to pharmacies or liquor stores than to conventional merchants. As a result, their management systems demand a more dynamic solution that incorporates the following:
WhatsApp Integration for Client Communication
Often, virtual queuing systems utilize SMS or standard text messaging functions to notify clients of appointments or updates. In terms of cannabis, however, since federal law prohibits its sale, multiple SMS platforms (e.g., T-Mobile and AT&T) have restricted retailers from sending cannabis-related messages. This limitation can certainly inhibit dispensary customer flow, even in states where their product is legal to sell.
A WhatsApp integration is one possible solution to this obstacle. Apart from the legal issues surrounding traditional SMS, text messaging lacks several features that make WhatsApp a more efficient communication platform. Not only does this popular messaging app allow sharing of multimedia files, but it also offers identity verification and end-to-end encryption, ensuring communications remain confidential.
Reliable Data Security & HIPAA Compliance
Information security leader Thomas Fosbenner stresses the importance of protecting dispensary customer data in his Linkedin newsletter:
Data security plays a vital role in maintaining the integrity and privacy of personal information, particularly in an industry like cannabis, where the nature of the product and its usage may carry social stigmas. From medical marijuana patients seeking alternative treatments to adult-use consumers exploring recreational options, individuals trust cannabis businesses with their personal data, including medical records, purchase history, and other sensitive information.
When marijuana retailers and their software programs adhere to HIPAA regulations, they safeguard this privacy while remaining compliant. As a result, dispensaries can increase trust among their client base, mitigate financial risks, enhance their reputation, and improve data management practices.
Staff Training & Ongoing Technical Support
Improving operations with virtual queuing software needs to benefit your employees, clients, and organization equally. To achieve this, those that use the software the most should know all of the technology’s ins and outs.
Proper training and continuous hands-on support from Qtrac sets your staff members up for success by providing reliable access to all necessary educational resources. This initiative not only promotes better customer service but also shows your employees that you value their development by teaching them new skills.
Scalability Through Multilocation Functionality
Although cannabis is technically considered a Schedule I drug under federal law, every state has different restrictions and regulations for its sale within the state’s borders. This means that marijuana dispensary software needs to be flexibly scalable—in other words, national brands need technology that can seamlessly adapt to the limitations of the states in which they operate.
For this reason, multilocation analytics and cross-platform functionality are crucial to providing optimal customer service while acting in accordance with local laws. Frictionless integration across state lines allows marijuana dispensaries with locations in various states to scale up and down as necessary without significant disruptions.
How Do I Update My Dispensary Software to Enable Virtual Queuing?
Proactive, versatile software solutions such as virtual queuing are vital for adequately managing visitor flow, especially in such a volatile industry. Efficient cannabis dispensary software needs:
- Reliable client communication
- Comprehensive staff training
- Secure data encryption
- Multilocation functionality
- Queue optimization capabilities
At first glance, all the above information may lead you to believe that implementing a virtual queue for your dispensary requires a huge operational shift. Luckily, Qtrac can facilitate this improvement for your organization and your customers with ease. By using the hardware you already have and providing all necessary technical training, our virtual queuing systems solve your customer flow challenges without uprooting existing processes.
Our dispensary software solutions save you money and time while saving your guests the hassle of long, uncomfortable waits. Connect with our team today to start better serving your clientele with digital queue management.
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