5 min read

How Modern Ecommerce Technology Helps The Cannibis Industry

How Modern Ecommerce Technology Helps The Cannibis Industry

A BUD-ding Powerhouse

When Kensium met with our partner in 2016, they’d hit the growth ceiling on their ecommerce platform. They used many platforms and extensions haphazardly centered around a DotCommerce site connected to a WordPress hub to transact fulfillment. In addition, they needed more flexibility in marketing, merchandising, content creation, and 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 effectively and thoroughly but had encountered only rough terrain. In short: they needed to create a bridge directly and securely between patient and prescription.


The Problem

Their user experience and their back-end resource management also lacked cohesion. Customers were redirected to a DotCommerce site from a WordPress catalog when it came to fulfilling transactions. 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 could not 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 our partner's most significant restrictions 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 this October 2018, just a year ago – let alone two – the logistical headaches intertwined with meeting customers’ needs and complying with governmental regulations required extreme 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 regarding 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.

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. 
  • An SEO-rich infrastructure, including built-in native-content integration and publishing capabilities, helps them gain organic traffic on search engines.

Kensium saw a solution 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,


The Challenge

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.

The old adage “If it works, it works” just doesn’t cut it in today’s day and age, especially in marijuana’s still-congealing market. Cannabis is a fast-growing ecommerce vertical, and Kensium saw the opportunity to define the standards of that market, 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

One of the biggest challenges for companies working in the marijuana industry is meeting both market and governmental standards and strictures. Put colloquially: with a restricted-use product, everything has to check out with the suits upstairs.

Our partner can now 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 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 can 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.


Systems Centralization

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:

  • In seamless automated cross-communication with a single storefront, one inventory pool for hundreds of products 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.
  • Offering users a login portal means they now have cohesive patient experiences. This function increases the potential for conversion and builds a brand singularity. 
  • 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 intelligent automation that works. Note that this doesn’t mean that when Kensium arrived on the scene, 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 & Merchandising

After the transition to Magento 2, they were able to report their previous 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 specific manner – like putting their bestsellers upfront and dead-center in their catalog. This boils down to more sales and customers getting what they need and the best of what’s available immediately and easily. Magento shines as much as it does because its marketing engine is so successful, 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!

glass jar on its side showing processed marijuana buds


The Kensium Advantage

Kensium is a certified Magento (Now Adobe Commerce) and Acumatica Cloud ERP partner known for our capabilities in development and system integration. In addition, our deep understanding of back-office systems allows us to serve as a one-stop shop for your commerce needs. We understand how a growth ceiling stifles your business and makes day-to-day operations a nightmare. Our certified developers and bespoke integrations help raise brand awareness, offer seamless customer experiences, and let you focus on growing your business. Contact us today and discuss how Kensium can help you grow and scale your business.



How Modern Ecommerce Technology Helps The Cannibis Industry

How Modern Ecommerce Technology Helps The Cannibis Industry

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