WebJoint, a California-based all-in-one delivery software provider, has announced a partnership and integration with Cova, a Denver, CO and Vancouver, BC, Canada-based award-winning point-of-sale and inventory management platform used by over 2,000 cannabis retailers in the U.S. and Canada.
In this partnership, WebJoint’s cannabis delivery software will be available to Cova’s customer network of retail dispensaries that want to implement delivery. Previously, WebJoint has launched similar integrations with other industry-related tech providers.
“Helping our customers adapt to this delivery-first world to stay competitive, while delivering an incredible user experience that simplifies operations and compliance, is a huge victory for the quickly evolving retail landscape,” said Gary Cohen, CEO of Cova. “Our collaborative effort on this integration is another step in the right direction for cannabis technology.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic completely transformed the retail landscape of the cannabis industry,” said Antonio Javiniar, head of Marketing at WebJoint. He explained that, prior to the pandemic, there was a concentration of brick-and-mortar dispensaries throughout the United States and there was “very little” thought put into cannabis delivery.
“Needless to say, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, regulators quickly found themselves in a position in which they needed to get cannabis delivered to large groups of immunocompromised people who could not risk walking into a physical location,” Javiniar said.
So, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, cannabis businesses were designated as “essential” businesses to maintain access to cannabis for adult-use and medical consumers alike. As a result of stay-at-home orders from state and local governments, cannabis delivery demand surged over 300%.
“Seemingly overnight, cannabis dispensaries were looking to adapt to the new retail landscape by adding home delivery to their businesses, regulators in states where cannabis delivery was not permitted were scrambling to implement a delivery infrastructure into their existing regulations, and cannabis consumers were finally experiencing the convenience of cannabis delivery,” Javiniar said. He added that this hasn’t abated, even though the world is opening back up — “consumer buying behaviors [still] indicate a strong preference for eCommerce and home delivery options.”
Here, I talk to key players from both WebJoint and Cova to find out more about the release of this new software integration.
Jackie Bryant: Why is this integration a big deal? What does it mean for the future of this kind of tech in the cannabis industry?
Antonio Javiniar (Head of Marketing, WebJoint): This integration is a big deal because it makes WebJoint’s cannabis delivery software suite available to Cova’s expansive customer base of 1900+ retail dispensaries looking to offer home delivery options to consumers. By integrating these two systems, retailers can use WebJoint’s suite of eCommerce, inventory management, fleet management and geofencing tools to easily implement delivery into their existing retail business.
Together, WebJoint and Cova enables retailers to easily mobilize their dispensaries by harnessing the power of Dynamic Delivery, which allows consumers to order cannabis directly from the dispensary and delivery driver located closest to them. Dynamic Delivery also empowers dispensaries to expand their retail footprint with strategic use of geofenced delivery zones, making it profitable to acquire new customers in regions further away from the shop.
Gary Cohen (CEO, Cova): This is not an acquisition, but it is far more than just an integration. The cannabis industry and all the regulatory overhead that exists on a state level makes this type of partnership and integration very complex. There are specific regulations for eCommerce, like taking an order; delivery, like being able to safely transport cannabis and track its movement; and retailing responsibilities, like ultimate traceability reporting of where the cannabis is at the end of the supply chain.
Because of the need to track this “chain of custody” of the cannabis for compliance, customer experience and fulfillment necessitate deep integrations across multiple systems.
Hilart Abrahamian (co-founder and COO, WebJoint): The demand for delivery is still surging – states implementing delivery and consumers ordering online more than ever before is indicative of that. We’re proud of the work we’ve done with Cova to make delivery easier for retailers and cannabis more accessible to consumers.
JB: The POS space seems to be competitive. Why is this? How does Cova address this, and what innovation does it bring to the space?
GC: Everyone who worked in a dispensary from 2010 to 2016 felt that all options for cannabis POS were very poor and that they could build a new and better one themselves. At a local level, over 60 companies have tried, but nearly all weren’t extendable to meet the compliance needs of their own state, much less have the ability to fulfil these requirements across multiple states. In addition, those companies were not built to scale.
As a very high growth industry, and one with a need to integrate into a state’s traceability system, lacking the foresight and capabilities to get ahead of the technical demands makes most of the cannabis POS fail within a few years. Cova was very innovative in a few ways as the last entrant into the space among the “bigger players”. First, we entered the market with scale, as a subsidiary of a very large POS company that had huge enterprise resources and capabilities. Particularly from a network stability and reliability perspective.
Second, we committed to a “compliance first” orientation into everything we did as a way to assure our clients of helping them to preserve their hard fought after licenses.
And third, we built functionality that was lacking like the ability for the platform to work in an “offline mode.” Because all transactions need to be carefully recorded and reported to the state, Cova created a way for continual transacting, even when internet or power is down, while capturing and then reporting the sales when the systems are back up.
JB: What’s next after this for WebJoint?
AJ: WebJoint’s primary focus is to continue to build new delivery-specific software solutions and expand its software applications to other states. To put it simply, as more states legalize cannabis and realize the value of implementing delivery into their supply chain, WebJoint will be there to provide the software tools delivery operators need to succeed and maintain compliance with cannabis regulations.
JB: What’s next for Cova?
GC: Ever since the retailing of legal cannabis changed dramatically during Covid, the importance of delivery has risen. More and more states are relaxing rules to allow for this type of transacting. Along with WebJoint, we will expand the footprint for having a high value and reliable solution across the country. This will further cement our relationship with 100’s of retailers, and be a differentiated bundled offering to 100’s of others. Cova already has more than 50% market share in Canada and this added capability for the US will help Cova gain significantly more share in the US.
JB: How has WebJoint made its mark in cannabis in the past? What expertise do they bring to this integration?
AJ: WebJoint has been the pioneer for cannabis delivery since cannabis was first legalized in California for adult-use in 2017.
With a delivery-first philosophy, WebJoint has created software solutions for an underserved market segment in the cannabis retail space: non-storefront deliveries. While other technology companies are building the software infrastructure for dispensaries, WebJoint focuses on the delivery niche of cannabis retail – building eCommerce, inventory management, geofencing, and fleet management tools that enable delivery operators to streamline their business and automate their compliance with state and local cannabis regulations.
Today, over ⅓ of California’s licensed and operating cannabis delivery services, in addition to delivery operators in Maine and Massachusetts, use WebJoint every day to manage their business.
Christopher Dell’olio (CEO, co-founder, WebJoint): When we first started, we saw the writing on the wall. Cannabis is just like any other consumer-packaged good – especially in California where branding plays a huge role in consumer preferences. With any CPG product, the transition to eCommerce and delivery is almost inevitable. We saw the opportunity to capitalize on the delivery market when nobody else was and build the tools they need to succeed in the rapidly changing cannabis market.
JB: What did I miss?
GC: Webjoint and Cova went into this partnership to not only address a need but also because our technology approaches were very similar. Namely, that this seamless integration of two “easy to Use, easy to learn” solutions will simplify the backend delivery process. We both wanted to share the best practices approach that was taken in our development strategies to the market in a unified offering.