How Cannabis Merchants Seek To Clear the Online Sales Haze

One-click ordering in the Amazon age has made consumers impatient for their products. When it comes to subscribing for new services, that behavior hasn’t changed. Customers want to input their personal details and payment credentials, sign up, place their order quickly and move on.

That behavior can sometimes lead to challenges for the retailers and services that want to engineer customer loyalty and drive sales. Retailers must also make sure they’re properly verifying the payment and personal information of these new customers, without adding friction to the buying experience. After all, a clunky onboarding experience leads consumers to abandon the process and move on to a competitor.

In the inaugural edition of the “Digital Consumer Onboarding Tracker,” PYMNTS examines how the world of digital onboarding is growing as consumer expectations shift, as well as how retailers are responding to the challenges of identity authentication, supporting new payment methods and seeking to engineer customer loyalty.

Around the Digital Onboarding World

The need to address verification challenges is growing around the world, as customers rely more on online services for ordering food and drink, leading to fierce competition among delivery services.

Take the Uber-branded delivery service, Uber Eats, which recently expanded its services in Canada. To give itself an edge over competitors, the service is also exploring the delivery of age-restricted goods, such as alcohol or cannabis, something that would require an upgrade to its existing verification process to make sure recipients are of age. Uber Eats currently delivers alcohol to certain areas in British Columbia.

Other services in Canada are also exploring the delivery of such age-restricted products, but with an educational twist. ParcelPal, a Canadian service that delivers goods like alcohol and cannabis, is partnering with advocacy group MADD Canada as a way to campaign against the risks of impaired driving. ParcelPal’s delivery service requires in-person authentication upon delivery of these products.

As a way to more closely marry authentication and digital onboarding, others still are exploring the use of alternative technologies like biometrics. Smart vending machine startup PopCom, for one, is currently raising funds to create a blockchain-run vending machine for the sale of cannabis, alcohol and prescription medications, as well as other restricted goods. The machines would use biometrics and blockchain to verify customer identities.

For more on the latest digital onboarding news, visit the News & Trends section.

Age Verification in the Age of Digital Onboarding

A simple trip to the liquor store for a bottle of wine can turn into a long wait for a customer who needs to have their physical identification card scanned and verified, taking valuable time out of the consumer’s day.

That said, ensuring that retailers’ age verification technologies for the onboarding process are top-of-line is essential to the growth of the digital economy. For retailers that want to stay competitive, streamlining the verification process is going to be crucial.

To learn more about the challenges regarding age verification in the digital age, read the Tracker’s Deep Dive.

Cannabis Merchants Seek to Clear the Onboarding Haze

Of course, merchants in some industries face more obstacles than others when it comes to digital onboarding and growth. The nascent cannabis industry, for instance, is still in its infant phase, with states across the U.S. still debating exactly where and how cannabis dispensaries can operate.

Staying compliant takes priority over growing a digital presence, said Spencer Knowles, VP of sales and business development for Massachusetts-based dispensary firm Sira Naturals, in a recent interview with PYMNTS. However, having an advanced tech infrastructure goes a long way in not only staying compliant, but having the ability to onboard customers quickly.

Visit the Tracker’s feature story to find out more on how the cannabis industry is responding to changing regulations and technology expansion as it meets the needs of the modern digital consumer.

About the Tracker

The PYMNTS “Digital Consumer Onboarding Tracker,” in partnership with Acuant, examines the latest Know Your Customer (KYC), digital onboarding and online verification news and trends. The Tracker also gauges the roles that technologies — such as biometrics and blockchain — play as identity verification procedures continue to change and expand around the world.