What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone says Cannabis? Or THC or CBD?
Chances are its not Technology! And yet, tech is becoming the glue that will help this industry evolve.
Let’s step back to what feels like a lifetime ago for those of us in the industry. October 2018. The world watched as Canada rolled out one of the first federally legal programs.And they did so with limited infrastructure, a horribly crippled banking system and more questions than answers. The early implementations of retail POS were clumsy, the provincial registration systems and advertising using social media was highly misunderstood.
Four years later, we are starting to see some much needed technology enter the space. And its high time. But why now. The answer is in the stage of maturity of the industry. Coming from a tech background, I am an avid follower of Geoffrey Moore who transformed the industry in the 90s with his ground breaking book Crossing the Chasm™. This book utilized the bell curve to explain how industries, companies and products grow in a predictable way.
The concept has fascinated me for years and I have applied the concept over and over. In my experience, the cycle from start to finish is about 15 years. This means that from inception (read: crazy idea, novel concept) to completion (read: dead, so out) is 15 years.
The first few years of that cycle are about discovery and trial and error. That has clearly been cannabis in Canada. The last year or two has shown promise. Promise of a quieting of the noise. A reduction in chaos. Not quite a cleansing but a settling of sorts. We have yet to accelerate up that curve – that will happen when we start to lessen the regs around CBD and wellness imho – but there is some order falling into place. For example, Pacific Rim Brands has built a methodology and a ‘complete solution’ (another Crossing the Chasm™ term) to bringing CBD or THC products to market. We have utilized technology and know-how to streamline the process for beauty and personal care (BPC) companies or consumer package goods company to enter this industry. Most of these companies have chosen to explore CBD. And they have been studying it for years.
They know the value of the cannabinoid, what the competitive landscape looks like, why they should enter the market. But no real means of doing so. This is why the Pacific Rim Brands Service Offering exists. But wait there is more. One of the biggest challenges in the industry today (apart from figuring out who is real and who can be trusted) is marketing. Retailers, brands and influencers alike are being banned from social media. Traditional advertising is too expensive and hasn’t been effective.
Sites like Leafly are a great start but we need more. Consumers need to know more about the product of choice, where it is, if its in stock and how fast they can get it. Technology like The Canna Store promises to deliver. Retailers need to capture more from their POS and be able to market to their customers in a meaningful way. Springbig delivers with brand-sponsored text links with high visual appeal. Will TokeText take that to the next level? Industry watchers think the new tech has promise. All of these companies (and there are dozens more!) are committed to solving the argest problems we see and experience in cannabis today. And it is just the beginning as we move up the curve of the maturity model, expect to see innovations in tech at an accelerated speed.