Denver, Colo.–based startup Baker Technologies has built an eCommerce platform that the company is touting as “Shopify for cannabis.”
According to Fast Company, the three-year-old marijuana-marketing startup created the platform — Shop — to allow pot-selling establishments to set up online storefronts, list what they have in stock, track their sales and streamline their process for pickups and deliveries.
David Champion, Baker’s cofounder and chief product officer, told Fast Company that the idea for the platform began in 2014, when marijuana became legal in Colorado. Local dispensaries quickly filled up with people who would spend a lot of time browsing, but not necessarily making a purchase. This led to extra wait times that frustrated regular customers and negatively affected sales.
“They were being held up in line,” said Champion. “[Customers would] drive a half-hour to the dispensary, wait in line for another half an hour, and get to the front to realize … the product they needed was not in stock.”
The biggest hurdle with Shop was navigating the state and local regulations that govern the ever-changing sale and distribution of cannabis. In California and Oregon, for example, pot deliveries are permissible, but not in Colorado. And in Connecticut, there are restrictions on how dispensaries may display the product. With that in mind, Baker has a team of compliance experts on hand to help dispensaries make sure their storefronts are operating above board.
“We had to do a lot of tailoring and customization of our platform so that the dispensary can go in and set their preferences — the language, the imagery, the branding — in accordance with their state rules,” Champion said.
Shop is now live in 12 states and in British Columbia, supporting both medical and recreational jurisdictions — and just in time for the high season of 4/20, a.k.a. "stoner Christmas."
“It’s our busiest day of the year,” Champion said.