MJBizMagazine September 2021 - 60

Retail Revoution
IT WAS A REALLY GREAT FEATURE TO HAVE COME ON
BOARD DURING THE PANDEMIC, WHEN MOST OF MY
CUSTOMERS WERE ONLY ORDERING ONLINE AND THEY
WEREN'T ABLE TO TALK TO A BUDTENDER.
- Joe Glynn, Stash and Co.
Bohm, further posited that consumers
without guidance would make less
informed choices and potentially dislike
the products they picked, which could
" taint " their shopping experience and
dissuade them from revisiting the store.
How it Works
To use StrainBrain, consumers fill out a
survey on their local retailer's website,
selecting their preferred effects, flavors
and desired product strength. The
program makes recommendations based
on the user's choices in conjunction with
the inventory available at their chosen
retail location.
So far, AI Budtender can suggest only
flower strains, but Leber is looking into
incorporating other products such as
vape cartridges. The AI Budtender is
integrated with each store's inventorytracking
system, so it will never
recommend a strain that is out of stock,
he said.
AI Introduction
Stash and Co., a nine-dispensary chain in
Ontario, Canada, was the first business to
try StrainBrain in early 2020.
" I thought it was really interesting
and something new in the industry that
we should try, " said Stash and Co. Chief
Operating Officer Joe Glynn, who was
approached by Leber about the software.
Glynn asked his budtending staff to
test the AI Budtender, and they were
impressed.
60 MJBizMagazine | September 2021
Andrew
Leber
before they come face to face with real
budtenders.
" Most of our customers want to talk
to somebody. ... They want to ask some
questions. They want to learn more about
cannabis, " Glynn said. " Our budtenders
are my experts. So this was going to be
an opportunity online to help guide
a customer through their shopping
experience. "
" It was great. It made some really
good recommendations, " Glynn said.
The budtenders " all said that a lot of the
strains that were being picked for them
were actually strains that they would
normally go with. "
The retailer's rollout of StrainBrain
coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic
and ensuing business lockdowns. In that
situation, the AI Budtender proved its
mettle, Glynn said.
" It was a really great feature to have
come on board during the pandemic,
when most of my customers were only
ordering online and they weren't able to
talk to a budtender, " he explained. " It was
a great resource to have. "
Glynn stressed that the AI Budtender
isn't supposed to replace human
budtenders but, rather, help customers
inform themselves about products
Cost Benefit?
Leber anticipated StrainBrain would be
in about 50 locations in the United States
and Canada by late August. The company
makes money via a subscription model,
and Leber said the AI Budtender costs
about $450 per month, per store.
StrainBrain was easy to integrate with
Cova, a common point-of-sale system
in the Canadian cannabis industry,
according to Glynn. He also made a deal
with Leber that allowed Stash & Co.
complimentary use of the AI Budtender
in exchange for metrics to see how
consumers are using the program.
Glynn is awaiting data from
StrainBrain about how many people are
using the software and how many users
are being converted into purchasers. " I
don't have a full understanding of how
many customers are actually using it, "
he said.
" I've had a lot of customers tell me that
they really like the program, " Glynn said.
" They've used it, and they think it's really
exciting. "

MJBizMagazine September 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MJBizMagazine September 2021

MJBizMagazine September 2021 - 1
MJBizMagazine September 2021 - 2
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