What if the future of cannabis retail would be robots and vending machines? Cannabis vending machines are a striking innovation in the cannabis industry. The machines help dispensaries release their products and provide consumers with their favorite medical strains, upon presentation of their medical cards. Anna was such a groundbreaking machine in Arizona and Colorado — the first states to issue cannabis products in vending machines. Anna is an enormous success today, especially with COVID-19. Overall, sales jumped for medical cannabis retail such as in Colorado states, where sales reached $978 million of marijuana flowers, edibles, and concentrate products. What is the future of cannabis vending machines? How does this technology support cannabis retail?
Cannabis Retail Jumped with Vending Machines
Colorado has been using Anna, the first-ever cannabis machine, which distributes up to 2,000 cannabis-related products such as edibles, infused beverages, balms, and cannabis flowers. Before COVID-19, vending machines like Anna helped businesses to increase their sales. Anna brought retail innovation to life and features powerful AI — Artificial Intelligence — for cannabis sales.
For the heavily regulated sector such as cannabis, the vending machines represent a true innovation, especially after COVID-19, when retailers had to adjust their sales strategy and sale online or through curbside pickup. With self-checkouts, these machines are capable to scan the medical card and offer desired products, from the street itself. Such machines truly relieve dispensaries, which focused on educating new customers and offer available products to returning consumers, spreading sales.
Today, CBD-only machines are on the prospect, too following the success of cannabis vending machines. Although the CBD price dropped this year, consumers keep buying CBD-related products, and having CBD-only machines could help spread CBD retail, as seen with legal marijuana products, especially during the pandemic. Automations are therefore a great opportunity for cannabis retailers and the market is projected to grow steadily. “
Automation of Cannabis Sales
The retail automation industry is set to reach $19 billion by 2022 and machines like Anna are a driver since they boost cannabis retail and self-checkout and could expand to the larger legal marijuana business. Indeed, CBD-robots as seen in 7Eleven convenience stores in Boulder — have gathered attention as explained by Greenbox Robotics. The company previously gained traction in 2019 when selling CBD products with Cura Cannabis during the Coachella Festival in the USA.
Johnson, CEO of Greenbox robotics, adds, “We ended up pivoting to offer CBD robots where customers can learn as much as they possibly can about how these products are going to help them with any sort of challenge.” While brick-and-mortar in cannabis retail will set in place, innovations with robots will change the game in the future, especially during the pandemic where human contact is limited.
Robots and cannabis vending machines can help retailers sell their products during COVID-19 and beyond. Automations in cannabis retail are important since consumers need to access conveniently their favorite products. The future is automated and so is the cannabis industry, where innovation in automation is expanding. Another company, alongside Greenbox Robotics, has also explored the potential of cannabis retail with robots and vending machines.
Looking Ahead at Cannabis Retail
With such advancement in cannabis retail, the future looks great. That’s what Sullivan, from Cannapreneur Partners, believes. “As we continue to deploy capital in the cannabis space, our eye is on a wide range of next-generation technologies with the potential to be effective solutions for the industry’s ever-changing demands and drive sizeable growth,” Sullivan states. The next idea would be to integrate Apple Pay and Android for consumers to order their products conveniently from their smartphones.
Companies such as Greenbox and Cannapreneur Partners positively contribute to boosting cannabis retail by offering innovative technology — the CBD-robots and cannabis vending machines may reach global expansion soon. After successfully implemented such technology in the USA, today it is time to expand to other markets — while helping cannabis entrepreneurs to sell their products, even during the pandemic.
The legal cannabis market has shown no sign of slowing down and despite the drop in prices in CBD-products, the market is likely to stay dynamic with or without COVID-19. Cannabis vending machines have enabled cannabis businesses to adapt well to new regulations and rules — and enabled consumers to keep buying their products. The cannabis retail landscape, thanks to robots and vending machines, may stay ahead of innovations.