The risk of managing dispensary TVs without software

Amber Erickson | Head of Marketing at Seed Technology

Amber Erickson, Seed Technology

If you have a TV and a computer, you don’t need to invest in costly dispensary TV software, right?




This post will cover the risks of managing your dispensary digital signage without software, but first, let’s chat about what that actually means.

Managing dispensary TVs without software

Without a dedicated software that helps you manage screens, create playlists, upload media, and manage your stores remotely, you have to do everything physically, manually, and in-person. 


You can get information on dispensary TVs in these ways: Thumb-drives, slideshows, HDMI/computer hookup, Airdrop or other bluetooth connection.


Even though the tech varies, here’s what’s happening without software:

  1. A graphic or media file exists somewhere (on a hard drive, on a flash or thumb drive, in cloud-based storage like Google Drive).
  2. The graphic/media file is synced with a TV (either over bluetooth, using WIFI to open a web browser to get to the file, or physically connecting a laptop to a TV with cables).
  3. The file shows on the synced TV until updated or changed.

In comparison, when you’re using software, the process looks like this:

  1. Create media files and upload them to your web application (in our case, Seed Manager, which is accessible on any device via a login).
  2. Create channels within Seed Manager to alternate graphics with menus and create playlists that help you reach retail goals. This is all customizable and editable within the tool.
  3. Choose which channels play on which TVs. Any updates automatically reflect. You can manage unlimited channels and TVs.
dispensary digital signage at JARS Cannabis - Mount Morris Michigan


Now that we’ve shown what it means to use vs. not use software to power dispensary digital TV menus, let’s talk about why using software is the better choice.

The risks of not using software

  • No menu integration for real-time updates

As we’ve discussed in other posts, you need an API integration with your POS in order to display accurate, up-to-date menus. Doing menus manually –  like populating a spreadsheet and displaying that on a TV – not only looks bad, but it will be immediately inaccurate. This is a poor experience for customers as well as staff. The benefit of using dispensary TV menu software designed for cannabis dispensaries is the POS integration. 


Read next! 3 reasons you need a dispensary menu integration

  • Requires someone to be in-store / manual process

No software means every TV is handled one-at-at-time and manually. You (or someone) will have to be in the store to upload content, turn on the computer to power a TV, plug in thumb drives, make updates, and/or troubleshoot when things aren’t working. Factor in multiple TVs in multiple stores and drive time, and you’ve got an expensive hassle on your hands.


  • No accessibility for multi-location operators

Managing TVs without software may be a suitable option for single-store dispensary owners. But with multi-store operators – and especially MSO’s – you need to have a solution that is accessible from anywhere and managed remotely. This way one person can manage the content and upkeep of all screens, rather than relying on store-level staff to do it.


  • Minimal customization 

Creating TV menus and graphics that are aligned with your branding is important. Without software, there’s more room for human error like using the wrong logo or colors, using outdated graphics, and using boring homemade menu layouts. With software, you have access to templates and layouts to ensure every screen looks beautiful and performs optimally.


Lova dispensary in Colorado uses wall-mounted self service stations
  • No quick changes

Software allows you to log in and quickly make updates when needed, which is nearly impossible with a manual process. Menus often change throughout the day – both selling out of products and receiving new shipments – and other graphic promos you’re running could need to be pulled at any time. Using software means someone can make that change immediately across all screens and stores.


  • No scheduling of content 

Using your screens to help achieve retail goals means you have a strategy in place. Maybe it’s a happy hour, or daily deals, or messaging you only want showing at certain times of the day. With manual solutions, it’d be possible, but incredibly inefficient to try to customize content by day or time. With software, you not only have the ability to tailor messaging, you can schedule content to only show exactly within the desired timeframe.

The short version

It may be tempting to self-manage your dispensary TVs without software, but the risks far outweigh any perceived reward.


Managing digital signage without software is manual, time-consuming, and limited in that you have to be onsite, are at the mercy of local hardware, and can’t schedule or make quick updates to content. 


To run a modern, efficient cannabis retail business, you need dispensary TV software. Learn more about Seed TV menus.

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