With the high volume of customers many dispensaries now enjoy, a host of new issues have arisen. Chief among them is how to improve customer service and convenience while also making the business more efficient to remain competitive.
That’s a tough order to fill. However, innovative automation has presented solutions.
As businesses in other industries have discovered, offering self-ordering options for customers puts them more in control of their purchasing experience. They can browse items and place an order, all without having to track down a store employee.
Dispensaries, faced with the “good problem” of having a rush of customers, are beginning to investigate what the self-ordering kiosks offer them and their customers.
An Industry Leader in Self-Ordering Kiosks
The recognized leader in the kiosk industry is Wisconsin-based Frank Mayer and Associates, that manufacturers the Approach brand self-ordering kiosks. Founded in 1931, the company started with screen printing and has, in the past several decades, become an innovator in self-ordering kiosks.
In addition to the medical and recreational cannabis industry, Frank Mayer and Associates makes kiosks for the healthcare, fast casual, retail, hospitality, automotive, home improvement, video game and grocery store industries. Clients include Dave & Busters and Amazon.
How the company approaches the self-ordering kiosk business offers insights into the potential advantages for dispensaries considering improvements to how they handle customer service.
What Frank Mayer and Associates Offers
The Approach self-service kiosk from Frank Mayer and Associates comes in a variety of sizes and designs to fit whatever space a dispensary offers. They include 32” and 22” freestanding kiosks. They also offer a countertop unit, tablet and wall unit.
Frank Mayer and Associates also offers customization options, ADA accessibility and the ability for individual dispensaries to add brand personalization. The company has partner businesses that design the software, giving dispensaries a one-stop-shop to set up the system.
Advantages of Self-Ordering Kiosks for Customers
The appeal of Approach kiosks is clear right away. They improve the effectiveness of a dispensary by providing value to customers, making their experience more convenient. The kiosks reduce wait times in line. They also offer the ability to browse a dispensary’s entire inventory at their own pace.
Dave Loyda, marketing manager for Frank Mayer and Associates, noted that it can prove beneficial for both repeat and new customers.
“Self-service kiosks can increase efficiency, allowing repeat customers to quickly place their favorite order, print a ticket, and pay at the counter without waiting for an associate to finish with a new buyer,” Loyda said.
For new customers, a kiosk also can serve as an educational tool for those who want to familiarize themselves with everything a dispensary offers. Questions about specific products can then be directed to budtenders.
“This is where self-order kiosks play an important role,” Loyda said. “Not only does it provide a resource for the experienced customer to avoid the lines and place their order quickly, but it frees-up labor to be available and spend time with customers who want and need help.”
Loyda said Frank Mayer and Associates has gained expertise in the kiosk business through decades working in various industries. Customer service lessons learned in one industry often apply to another. Loyda noted that in every industry, “customers increasingly want companies to focus on their needs quickly.”
He compared dispensaries to QSR (Quick Serve Restaurants), where “customers do not want to have to wait in line, they want speed and accuracy in placing their orders.”
How Kiosks Improve The Dispensary Business
At the same time, self-ordering kiosks also improve efficiencies for the dispensary by lowering operating costs and increasing revenue. Information obtained through the kiosk also offers the opportunity to upsell and cross-sell on every order, maximizing revenue potential with each customer interaction.
They give employees more time to focus on answering questions, often from new customers, and offer a higher level of customer service. They are also free to quickly check someone out when they are ready.
This ability to focus on customer service “will give retailers a significant advantage in a competitive market,” said Loyda.
Kiosks allow dispensary owners to easily feature whatever product category they wish to promote, while also giving customers access to view the entire inventory. Easy navigation allows customers to quickly find what they want, print a ticket and then complete the sale with a budtender.
Working With New Dispensaries
With decades of experience, Frank Mayer and Associates brings a wealth of knowledge into working with dispensaries. The first step, according to Loyda, is to listen to what dispensary owners have to say about their particular store, as every situation has differences.
From this information, Frank Mayer and Associates can do a deeper dive into what a dispensary needs. This includes the software, type of kiosk, integration with existing point of sale systems, loyalty programs and customer order history.
A self-ordering kiosk offers advantages to both dispensary customers and the business. As legalization leads to a larger customer base, kiosks provide a solution to the customer service issues many dispensaries must solve to remain competitive.