How to choose a dispensary TV menu provider

Amber Erickson | Head of Marketing at Seed Technology

Amber Erickson, Seed Technology

Digital signage, or dispensary TV menus, have become a “needs-to-have” for cannabis retailers for several reasons:

 

  • Customers can’t easily see and interact with products like other industries. They need a way to know what cannabis products you carry.
  • Availability and pricing change quickly. POS-integrated menus alleviate the customer frustration caused by out-of-date menus.
  • Education is important in new industries. TV menus are an effective way to communicate with customers.

 

Read on for more about what dispensary TV menus are, how to choose a vendor, and what features to specifically look for in a digital signage provider.

What is a dispensary TV menu?

Dispensary TV menus, also called digital signage, menu boards, feature boards, etc. are televisions (or other electronic screens) mounted inside a store or waiting room. They commonly show menus, graphics, videos, or other visuals. 

 

The purpose of TV menus in dispensaries are to educate, inform, or inspire. 

 

  • Educate – Use TVs to teach about cannabis, including definitions to common terms, the difference between product types, common effects, etc.
  • Inform – Use TV displays to let customers know about things, like new cannabis products, current specials or deals, or upcoming events.
  • Inspire – Use digital signage to amplify your brand identity, encourage action like joining your loyalty program or following you on social media, or entertain with beautiful photos or video.
dispensary digital signage shows logo and brand video

Choosing a dispensary menu provider

When you break it down, most of the providers offering digital signage for dispensaries have similar features. They do mostly the same thing.

 

How do you decide? Focus on factors that will impact your bottom line and retail goals.

Integrations

POS-integrated tv menus are vital; look to providers specific to the cannabis industry.

 

There are many digital signage vendors serving traditional industries that may be appealing. But beware … they won’t integrate with your point of sale.

 

Without an integration, you won’t have accurate menus. The benefits of integrating with your POS include: 

 

  • Menus only show products that are in stock.
  • Prices are correct.
  • Menus at each store are correct for that store’s inventory.
  • Real-time updates quickly remove a product when it sells out.
  • Product type and details automatically carry into the menu.

 

You also will have to manually create and update menus without an integration.  Talk about an expensive, tedious, and unproductive use of employee time and focus.

 

Tip! We integrate with all major cannabis POS providers, including Flowhub, Leaflogix, Treez, Blaze, Cova, and Meadow. We also integrate directly with Jane.

Customization

If branding and visual aesthetics are important to you, find a dispensary TV menu provider who allows you to create the look and feel you desire.

 

Branding, including colors, font, and logo, are important. But they’re only part of the customization needed to create a beautiful and effective digital retail experiences.

 

  • Visuals – Menus are a great place to feature actual product designs. Ask about uploading custom images, graphics, or ads to enhance your menus and encourage sales to a particular product type or brand. 
sleek dispensary design features tv digital signage with logos and branding

 

 

  • Layout – Depending on how your store looks, you may want menus to display in a certain way. Horizontal or vertical? One product category menu per screen? All displaying on one screen? Only certain vendors? Sorted by brand, sativa vs. indica, etc.? Make sure you have the customization from your vendor to create the menu of your dreams.

 

  • Digital signage – We’re mostly talking about TV menus here, but they are only part of the digital engagement flow within your store. Make sure your vendor allows you to include video, gifs, and images to create the desired experience. Perhaps it’s rotating media and ads in the waiting room to educate customers while they wait, a video wall at check-in to entertain and build brand awareness, then menus at the check-out terminals. Dream up the experience and flow you want, and make sure your vendor can execute on it.

 

Think long-term. While your needs may be simple to start, your store look and feel will morph over time. Find a vendor who can support your ideas now and into the future.

Price

TV menu board software can range in price. 

 

The reason price makes this list is because many providers aren’t transparent about their pricing, unfortunately.  What looks like a great deal at first glance becomes unaffordable after add-ons. 

 

When you’re comparing dispensary TV menu software:

 

  • Compare apples-to-apples, meaning look at the actual features and support you’ll get for the price.
  • Ask for the total price early on in conversations. Most sales teams will delay the price conversation or say it “starts at” an appealing price, but like to avoid sharing what it’d cost to do what you want.
  • Watch for “per screen” pricing. Some providers price a flat fee per month per store. This should be unlimited screens. 
  • Ask about additional fees. Do they charge for support? Design help? Hardware? Integrations? Onboarding? You need to know the full scope of the price to make an accurate comparison.
  • Consider your full digital experience. Do you want screens in the waiting room, interactive tablets in addition to wall-mounted screens, self service ordering? These different types of screens could come with an additional cost.
a wall of mounted dispensary TV menus at Jade Room

Support

Support is a tough one because every software provider tells you that they have great support. It often takes a few months of being a customer to know for sure.

 

Here’s a few shortcuts to assess their support teams before signing a contract:

 

  • Look for their contact info. Is there a page on their website dedicated to support? An easy way to reach someone. Bonus: Reach out and see if anyone ever responds.
  • Look for resources. Do they offer help guides or blog posts that show how to use their product, troubleshoot, etc.?
  • Ask about onboarding. Find out how long it takes to get live, what steps that process includes, the expectations of each team. 
  • Ask about post-go-live. Do you have a dedicated success manager to help with uploading media, creating channels, and/or troubleshooting? 
  • Talk to existing customers. Find out who uses that vendor, then stop in or give the store a call and ask how it’s going. You’ll learn pretty quickly from current customers whether they recommend that vendor.

Remote capability

Dispensary digital menu software can be managed in two ways:

 

  1. Remotely – A backend tool (ours is called Seed Manager) allows you to manage all screens and all stores from one app.
  2. Manually – This would mean someone physically has to go to each store to update screens. Often it’s manually updating one screen at a time. This isn’t preferred.

 

When comparing TV menu software providers, make sure they offer a remote management feature. (Note: If you have one dispensary location, with no plans to expand, a manual option could work just fine for you, but multi-location — and particularly multi-state — operators need a remote solution.)

 

The next step is to ask about how that app works. Is it easy to use? Do you understand how to upload media, manage playlists and channels, understand how to pair TVs?

 

If you won’t be the person actually managing the screens, make sure the power user is brought into the conversation to give input before deciding on a provider.

The short version

Cannabis TV menus are an important part of the in-store shopping experience. Most dispensaries have them, and that’s a testament to the value they bring: speeding up transactions, steering customers to high-value or high-margin products, and increasing customer satisfaction. 

 

But not all TV menu providers are made equal.  When weighing the options, watch for:

 

  • Whether they integrate with your POS to ensure accurate, up-to-date menus.
  • What the actual price will be based on number of screens and functionality.
  • Whether they have the resources and expertise to support your growth.
  • What customization is possible, beyond just logo and colors.
  • Where management of the media and screens occurs, ideally remotely. 
 
You’re now equipped to find the best dispensary TV menu provider for your cannabis business. Good luck!

Learn more about Seed TV Menus + interactive tablets + self service ordering to turn your dispensary into a retail experience.

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