The Tech Behind Cannabis eCommerce

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Kensium

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The Tech Behind Cannabis eCommerce

03/10/2018 Categories: CASE STUDIES

A BUD-ING POWERHOUSE When Kensium met with our partner in 2016, they’d hit a ceiling. They were using a plethora of platforms and extensions haphazardly centered around a DotCommerce site connected to a WordPress hub to transact fulfillment. They needed more flexibility when it came to marketing, merchandising, content creation, and content distribution. To top it off, as a provider and distributor of B2C, B2B, and B2G medical marijuana resources, they needed to connect with their clients in an effective and thoroughly-vetted manner but had encountered only rough terrain. In short: they needed to directly, securely create the bridge between patient and prescription. Their user experience and their back-end resource management also lacked cohesion. When it came time to fulfill transactions, customers were redirected to a DotCommerce site from a WordPress catalog. The problem for management: while these two platforms’ communication was sufficient for completing these transactions, there was zero crosstalk on the fulfillment side of things. WordPress didn’t know the numbers coming out of DotCommerce and was unable to communicate inventory data in real-time. This meant that updating stock and availability had to be done manually, consuming more than the lion’s share of the budding company’s resources and manpower. One of the biggest restrictions our partner ran into was the inability to match the inventory with popularity. Finally, distributing sensitive, healthcare-industry materials like government-controlled products bears with it seemingly countless hoops to jump through and red-tape barriers to cross, and understandably so. Even though cannabis will be legalized nationwide in Canada come this October 2018, just a year ago – let alone two – the logistical headaches intertwined with meeting customers’ needs and complying with governmental regulations required serious horsepower. Unfortunately – the program they were using erroneously denied doctor-approved citizens their prescriptions. Programs like Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), in part a facilitator of medical solutions for Canadian veterans, require close cooperation, especially when it comes to the promotional programs. Canada protects its veterans from being directly targeted by malicious or exploitative marketing campaigns, and our partner needed a bolstered capacity to pre-report their marketing blasts for approval. Kensium saw a solution in connecting Magento 2 – an industry standard for front-end development estimated to be in use by 1 in 4 eCommerce businesses globally – with Acumatica Cloud ERP, a powerful back-end financial and resource management system. In a snapshot, pairing Magento 2 and Acumatica ERP, Kensium was able to provide security, coherent and fluid data integration, and depth of front and back end customizability our partner needed, including: A single, centralized platform pipeline, and a single source of truth accessible by anyone in the company (created by automated data synchronizations through Acumatica Commerce Edition). An airtight patient Pair Key login, custom-built using Magento 2’s built-in API security premises to ensure data security including patient-customer medical information. Advanced business intelligence for accurate and customized internal reports, including all requisite government-compliant external reporting. A modular admin interface for easy management and oversight of all processes. A fully-customizable, and VAC-compliant automated marketing suite. An intuitive and easily navigable storefront with marketing-minded assets like sort-by-popularity features. SEO-rich infrastructure, including built-in native-content integration and publishing capabilities, making it easy to be found organically in search engine query results. THE CHALLENGE – ROLLING WITH THE PUNCHES Our challenge was to develop a new out-facing B2C platform with centralized and custom login gateways and government-compliant data security. This platform needed to incorporate an existing catalog model, while imbuing the ability to integrate value-add content like blogs and organic search functions like popularity- and rating-sorting. Additionally, special care needed to be taken to create a solution for government-compliant inventory and marketing material reporting, all while keeping inventory and fulfillment data simultaneously synced between ERP and storefront. SOLUTIONS – WHERE PAIN POINTS HIT THE GRINDER The old adage “If it works, it works,” just doesn’t cut it in today’s day and age, and especially in marijuana’s still-congealing market. As a company on the frontier, our partner, along with Kensium, saw the opportunity to define the standards of that market themselves, to set the bar and set it high. Here’s how Kensium took what had been teetering on “wholly sufficient” and

transact fulfillment. They needed more flexibility when it came to marketing, merchandising, content creation, and content distribution. To top it off, as a provider and distributor of B2C, B2B, and B2G medical marijuana resources, they needed to connect with their clients in an effective and thoroughly-vetted manner but had encountered only rough terrain. In short: they needed to directly, securely create the bridge between patient and prescription.

Their user experience and their back-end resource management also lacked cohesion. When it came time to fulfill transactions, customers were redirected to a DotCommerce site from a WordPress catalog. The problem for management: while these two platforms’ communication was sufficient for completing these transactions, there was zero crosstalk on the fulfillment side of things. WordPress didn’t know the numbers coming out of DotCommerce and was unable to communicate inventory data in real-time. This meant that updating stock and availability had to be done manually, consuming more than the lion’s share of the budding company’s resources and manpower. One of the biggest restrictions our partner ran into was the inability to match the inventory with popularity.

Finally, distributing sensitive, healthcare-industry materials like government-controlled products bears with it seemingly countless hoops to jump through and red-tape barriers to cross, and understandably so. Even though cannabis will be legalized nationwide in Canada come this October 2018, just a year ago – let alone two – the logistical headaches intertwined with meeting customers’ needs and complying with governmental regulations required serious horsepower. Unfortunately – the program they were using erroneously denied doctor-approved citizens their prescriptions.

Programs like Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), in part a facilitator of medical solutions for Canadian veterans, require close cooperation, especially when it comes to the promotional programs. Canada protects its veterans from being directly targeted by malicious or exploitative marketing campaigns, and our partner needed a bolstered capacity to pre-report their marketing blasts for approval.

Kensium saw a solution in connecting Magento 2 – an industry standard for front-end development estimated to be in use by 1 in 4 eCommerce businesses globally – with Acumatica Cloud ERP, a powerful back-end financial and resource management system. In a snapshot, pairing Magento 2 and Acumatica ERP, Kensium was able to provide security, coherent and fluid data integration, and depth of front and back end customizability our partner needed, including:

  • A single, centralized platform pipeline, and a single source of truth accessible by anyone in the company (created by automated data synchronizations through Acumatica Commerce Edition).
  • An airtight patient Pair Key login, custom-built using Magento 2’s built-in API security premises to ensure data security including patient-customer medical information.
  • Advanced business intelligence for accurate and customized internal reports, including all requisite government-compliant external reporting.
  • A modular admin interface for easy management and oversight of all processes.
  • A fully-customizable, and VAC-compliant automated marketing suite.
  • An intuitive and easily navigable storefront with marketing-minded assets like sort-by-popularity features.
  • SEO-rich infrastructure, including built-in native-content integration and publishing capabilities, making it easy to be found organically in search engine query results.

THE CHALLENGE – ROLLING WITH THE PUNCHES

Our challenge was to develop a new out-facing B2C platform with centralized and custom login gateways and government-compliant data security. This platform needed to incorporate an existing catalog model, while imbuing the ability to integrate value-add content like blogs and organic search functions like popularity- and rating-sorting. Additionally, special care needed to be taken to create a solution for government-compliant inventory and marketing material reporting, all while keeping inventory and fulfillment data simultaneously synced between ERP and storefront.

SOLUTIONS – WHERE PAIN POINTS HIT THE GRINDER

The old adage “If it works, it works,” just doesn’t cut it in today’s day and age, and especially in marijuana’s still-congealing market. As a company on the frontier, our partner, along with Kensium, saw the opportunity to define the standards of that market themselves, to set the bar and set it high. Here’s how Kensium took what had been teetering on “wholly sufficient” and developed elegant solutions that didn’t just work – but enabled our partner to excel and secure market dominance in Canadian cannabis.

CUSTOM SECURITY: SETTING TRUST AS A STANDARD

One of the biggest challenges for companies working in the marijuana industry is meeting not only market standards but governmental standards and strictures as well. Put colloquially: with a restricted-use product, everything has to check out with the suits upstairs.

Our partner is now able to meet every standard of product-recipient authenticity with a Kensium-built custom portal, developed from within Magento 2 and incorporating a patient registration model CIM that’s second to none. It’s complete with two-step verification and bi-layer Private Pair Key security that actually exceeds what would be considered ‘necessity’ by law. That’s the power of the Magento Cloud.

In addition, users can rest easy knowing that the system is able to do all this while storing only allocation amounts, and none of the users’ private data and information. That’s peace of mind for regulatory entities and end-customers. And that trust across the spectrum? Invaluable.

CENTRALIZATION: ONE PLACE FOR EVERYTHING

Kensium delivered a custom and customizable content engine that’s not just connected to the other facets of fulfillment, but inextricably part of them. No more 3rd party redirect – just everything users need, all in one place. And that means everything our partner needs is centralized too:

  • One inventory pool for hundreds of products, in seamless automated cross-communication with a single storefront, means no-lag updating on both the front and back ends. Nothing falls through the sieve. No data is lost in translation. No more inventory pain points.
  • One site, one login portal for users means they can now provide a cohesive patient experience, increasing chances for conversion and building a singularity of brand without any decompartmentalization in users' minds.
  • A complex automated reporting model that reports storefront orders directly into Acumatica’s Cloud ERP, freeing up the need to manually input data. This also made complying with volume reporting requirements simple, direct, and effective, eliminating two pain points in a single go.
  • Centralized finance reporting, part of Acumatica ERP’s “single source of truth” methodology, on everything from payments and pricing to tax documentation delivers exactly that: one data narrative, one single operational truth.
  • The ability to access fulfillment data, by anyone, at every step of the process means that there aren’t multiple license purchases needed for every Joe, Frank, and Bob on the office- or warehouse-floor. That saves money and saves management countless administrative headaches.

No more middlemen, error, or extraneous manual work, just elegant automation that works. Make note this doesn’t mean that when Kensium arrived on the scene, that the first step was to implement a scorched-earth policy. In fact, it’s the opposite. As mentioned, all this was done while incorporating an already-existing model.

MARKETING AND MERCHANDISING: CONTINUITY MEETS COMPLIANCE

After the transition to Magento 2, they were able to report their aforementioned VAC sales to the government accurately and effectively, surpassing standards while they were at it. Integrating powerful internal marketing content like blogs, which they were unable to connect before, boosted both the richness of their SEO credibility and their credibility with customers. Building insight-value places our partner as a market authority in the audience’s minds, and rightfully so. Sales and trust, today, are inextricably intertwined.

With Magento, our partner also enabled us to merchandize their sales results. They gained the ability to arrange their products in a certain, specific manner – like putting their bestsellers upfront and dead-center in their catalog. What this boils down to is more sales, and more customers getting not only what they need, but the best of what’s available to them with immediacy and ease. Magento shines as much as it does because its marketing engine is so successful, it’s intuitive and easy to use on both the front and back end, and our partner’s site is now exemplary to that point. High-five!

ABOUT KENSIUM

Kensium is a certified Magento and Acumatica Cloud ERP partner known for our capabilities in development and system integration. Our deep understanding of back-office systems allows us to serve as a one-stop-shop for your commerce needs.

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A BUD-ING POWERHOUSE

When Kensium met with our partner in 2016, they’d hit a ceiling. They were using a plethora of platforms and extensions haphazardly centered around a DotCommerce site connected to a WordPress hub to transact fulfillment. They needed more flexibility when it came to marketing, merchandising, content creation, and content distribution. To top it off, as a provider and distributor of B2C, B2B, and B2G medical marijuana resources, they needed to connect with their clients in an effective and thoroughly-vetted manner but had encountered only rough terrain. In short: they needed to directly, securely create the bridge between patient and prescription.

Their user experience and their back-end resource management also lacked cohesion. When it came time to fulfill transactions, customers were redirected to a DotCommerce site from a WordPress catalog. The problem for management: while these two platforms’ communication was sufficient for completing these transactions, there was zero crosstalk on the fulfillment side of things. WordPress didn’t know the numbers coming out of DotCommerce and was unable to communicate inventory data in real-time. This meant that updating stock and availability had to be done manually, consuming more than the lion’s share of the budding company’s resources and manpower. One of the biggest restrictions our partner ran into was the inability to match the inventory with popularity.

Finally, distributing sensitive, healthcare-industry materials like government-controlled products bears with it seemingly countless hoops to jump through and red-tape barriers to cross, and understandably so. Even though cannabis will be legalized nationwide in Canada come this October 2018, just a year ago – let alone two – the logistical headaches intertwined with meeting customers’ needs and complying with governmental regulations required serious horsepower. Unfortunately – the program they were using erroneously denied doctor-approved citizens their prescriptions.

Programs like Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), in part a facilitator of medical solutions for Canadian veterans, require close cooperation, especially when it comes to the promotional programs. Canada protects its veterans from being directly targeted by malicious or exploitative marketing campaigns, and our partner needed a bolstered capacity to pre-report their marketing blasts for approval.

Kensium saw a solution in connecting Magento 2 – an industry standard for front-end development estimated to be in use by 1 in 4 eCommerce businesses globally – with Acumatica Cloud ERP, a powerful back-end financial and resource management system. In a snapshot, pairing Magento 2 and Acumatica ERP, Kensium was able to provide security, coherent and fluid data integration, and depth of front and back end customizability our partner needed, including:

  • A single, centralized platform pipeline, and a single source of truth accessible by anyone in the company (created by automated data synchronizations through Acumatica Commerce Edition).
  • An airtight patient Pair Key login, custom-built using Magento 2’s built-in API security premises to ensure data security including patient-customer medical information.
  • Advanced business intelligence for accurate and customized internal reports, including all requisite government-compliant external reporting.
  • A modular admin interface for easy management and oversight of all processes.
  • A fully-customizable, and VAC-compliant automated marketing suite.
  • An intuitive and easily navigable storefront with marketing-minded assets like sort-by-popularity features.
  • SEO-rich infrastructure, including built-in native-content integration and publishing capabilities, making it easy to be found organically in search engine query results.

THE CHALLENGE – ROLLING WITH THE PUNCHES

Our challenge was to develop a new out-facing B2C platform with centralized and custom login gateways and government-compliant data security. This platform needed to incorporate an existing catalog model, while imbuing the ability to integrate value-add content like blogs and organic search functions like popularity- and rating-sorting. Additionally, special care needed to be taken to create a solution for government-compliant inventory and marketing material reporting, all while keeping inventory and fulfillment data simultaneously synced between ERP and storefront.

SOLUTIONS – WHERE PAIN POINTS HIT THE GRINDER

The old adage “If it works, it works,” just doesn’t cut it in today’s day and age, and especially in marijuana’s still-congealing market. As a company on the frontier, our partner, along with Kensium, saw the opportunity to define the standards of that market themselves, to set the bar and set it high. Here’s how Kensium took what had been teetering on “wholly sufficient” and developed elegant solutions that didn’t just work – but enabled our partner to excel and secure market dominance in Canadian cannabis.

CUSTOM SECURITY: SETTING TRUST AS A STANDARD

One of the biggest challenges for companies working in the marijuana industry is meeting not only market standards but governmental standards and strictures as well. Put colloquially: with a restricted-use product, everything has to check out with the suits upstairs.

Our partner is now able to meet every standard of product-recipient authenticity with a Kensium-built custom portal, developed from within Magento 2 and incorporating a patient registration model CIM that’s second to none. It’s complete with two-step verification and bi-layer Private Pair Key security that actually exceeds what would be considered ‘necessity’ by law. That’s the power of the Magento Cloud.

In addition, users can rest easy knowing that the system is able to do all this while storing only allocation amounts, and none of the users’ private data and information. That’s peace of mind for regulatory entities and end-customers. And that trust across the spectrum? Invaluable.

CENTRALIZATION: ONE PLACE FOR EVERYTHING

Kensium delivered a custom and customizable content engine that’s not just connected to the other facets of fulfillment, but inextricably part of them. No more 3rd party redirect – just everything users need, all in one place. And that means everything our partner needs is centralized too:

  • One inventory pool for hundreds of products, in seamless automated cross-communication with a single storefront, means no-lag updating on both the front and back ends. Nothing falls through the sieve. No data is lost in translation. No more inventory pain points.
  • One site, one login portal for users means they can now provide a cohesive patient experience, increasing chances for conversion and building a singularity of brand without any decompartmentalization in users' minds.
  • A complex automated reporting model that reports storefront orders directly into Acumatica’s Cloud ERP, freeing up the need to manually input data. This also made complying with volume reporting requirements simple, direct, and effective, eliminating two pain points in a single go.
  • Centralized finance reporting, part of Acumatica ERP’s “single source of truth” methodology, on everything from payments and pricing to tax documentation delivers exactly that: one data narrative, one single operational truth.
  • The ability to access fulfillment data, by anyone, at every step of the process means that there aren’t multiple license purchases needed for every Joe, Frank, and Bob on the office- or warehouse-floor. That saves money and saves management countless administrative headaches.

No more middlemen, error, or extraneous manual work, just elegant automation that works. Make note this doesn’t mean that when Kensium arrived on the scene, that the first step was to implement a scorched-earth policy. In fact, it’s the opposite. As mentioned, all this was done while incorporating an already-existing model.

MARKETING AND MERCHANDISING: CONTINUITY MEETS COMPLIANCE

After the transition to Magento 2, they were able to report their aforementioned VAC sales to the government accurately and effectively, surpassing standards while they were at it. Integrating powerful internal marketing content like blogs, which they were unable to connect before, boosted both the richness of their SEO credibility and their credibility with customers. Building insight-value places our partner as a market authority in the audience’s minds, and rightfully so. Sales and trust, today, are inextricably intertwined.

With Magento, our partner also enabled us to merchandize their sales results. They gained the ability to arrange their products in a certain, specific manner – like putting their bestsellers upfront and dead-center in their catalog. What this boils down to is more sales, and more customers getting not only what they need, but the best of what’s available to them with immediacy and ease. Magento shines as much as it does because its marketing engine is so successful, it’s intuitive and easy to use on both the front and back end, and our partner’s site is now exemplary to that point. High-five!

ABOUT KENSIUM

Kensium is a certified Magento and Acumatica Cloud ERP partner known for our capabilities in development and system integration. Our deep understanding of back-office systems allows us to serve as a one-stop-shop for your commerce needs.