Washington-based GrassHopperHub has launched a business-to-business application that offers inventory tracking, a delivery system and a marketplace to assist dispensaries, producers and processors.
GrassHopperHub helps companies simplify each step of supply chain management from when the plant is first tagged in the seed-to-sale tracking system to when it is sold to a customer at a dispensary. When a company uses the application, the system provides services in compliance with state regulations, as well as shows what inventory is available in that state.
“One of the problems we had in Washington state is there are over 1,200 producers/processors, and then there are about 500 retailers,” said GrassHopperHub CEO Heidi Arsenault. “So being able to manage the inventory levels, especially flower, where it’s based on yield, [is important].”
GrassHopperHub informs retailers of available inventory so they can keep shelves properly stocked. Purchasing agents can visit GrassHopperHub’s order procurement site that allows them to order from multiple vendors at the same time, maintain a consistent purchase order that is stored in the system and set agreeable delivery dates and times. This alleviates multiple vendors showing up at once to deliver products, leading to back-ups and long check-in times.
“It’s really very nuts-and-bolts oriented in terms of operationally helping manage efficiencies, cut down on the costs associated with purchasing and … keep it compliant,” Arsenault said.
The application’s marketplace is set up as a business-to-business purchasing platform that Arsenault built to connect cannabis buyers and sellers.
“There wasn’t any weed commerce, if you will,” she said. “… It had to be built ground up for [us] to … be able to have a company that would legally back the buying and selling process for actual cannabis products. … There really wasn’t a technology platform that would allow for the cannabis sales cycle in a traditional norm of today.”
GrassHopperHub also manages sampling at dispensaries, which is legal and regulated in Washington. Retailers have a certain number of samples allowed within a selling cycle and another set amount per month for budtender education. All samples must be tracked through the state system, which GrassHopperHub can do for dispensaries. The platform can also help gather feedback on sampled products.
According to Arsenault, a dispensary will typically bring in a product, distribute it to employees for sampling and collect feedback to help decide whether to purchase the product. GrassHopperHub offers a text message form to aggregate feedback on a product’s packaging, smell, taste, effect and more. Using this information, the platform creates average ratings for the product. Purchasing agents can access this information to make more informed purchasing decisions.
The application also has benefits for producers and processors.
“It’s good for [producers and processors] because a lot of times, if they’re not on a regular schedule for restocking, they’re at risk of losing their shelf space,” she said. “They don’t have a good cadence if they don’t understand what their sell-through is, so it really helps them with keeping a consistent cadence with their retailers.”
The platform uses an algorithm that suggests to producers, based on their sell-through, when dispensaries should place their next order and how much they should order to make sure producers are not under- or over-selling product to their retailers.
“It helps them really manage their inventory with the retailers,” Arsenault said. “That order can be driven by the purchasing agent at the retailer or by the salesperson at the producer/processor [if they see the retailer is low on product]. It allows them to be able to better manage their inventory and increase their sales by being more consistent.”
In addition, GrassHopperHub now offers Valet Services, an end-to-end sales service for producers and processors that promotes their brands and even transports products to retail stores.
GrassHopperHub is available to adult-use businesses licensed within their state on an invite-only basis. The platform is currently available in Washington and Oregon, and will be expanding into California when its recreational market launches on Jan. 1, 2018. Approximately 450 retailers are registered in the system, and Arsenault said about 200 are actively receiving orders on the site monthly.
Arsenault said retail software in the cannabis industry is still disjointed, with one company offering a purchasing platform, another providing point-of-sale services and yet another focusing on seed-to-sale tracking. She said a cannabis business can use five to 10 pieces of technology to run their company. Arsenault and GrassHopperHub want to fix that.
“We’re talking about how [companies] can integrate so it’s consistent between all [products],” she said.
Top image courtesy of GrassHopperHub