Big Data Analytics for the Cannabis Business

What is Analytics?

Before the cloud and big data era, storage and processing of data was difficult and expensive. You needed costly hardware with massive compute power coupled with hard drives that could hold and process large blocks of data.

Today, that processing has moved to the cloud with tools designed to meet the needs of data hungry organizations. We’re moving from the time when we asked what happened in the past, to using machine learning and real-time today to asking what is happening right now.

And with predictive analytics, we can even get a glimpse of possible futures, helping us make better decisions and aligning our goals to the predicted events.

If this sounds like science fiction, it’s not. Analytics uses data and match to address complex business questions, uncover important relationships, and present meaningful patterns in the data.

Analytics as a Strategic Asset for Cannabis Businesses

If you aren’t in the position where you’re treating your analytics as a strategic asset, you aren’t alone. Many organizations are playing catch up from the old way of approaching Data Warehousing to the new was of building out Analytics Platforms.

Cannabis Businesses win with Analytics

One of the most difficult things to do in any marketplace is to stand out from the competition. This will be far more common a problem when federal legalization hits the United States. Growers will migrate to southwestern states like Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas where cultivators can take advantage of weather conditions ideal for growing mid-grade strains in abundance outdoors, flooding the market with cheaper products.

If you want to differentiate your brand, you’ll want to use data.

Using Trend Analysis for Cannabis

Trend analysis is the processes of gathering data from multiple periods and plotting that collected information with the goal of discovering insights and actionable patterns.

Marketing trend analysis can include the following data points:

  • Trends in consumer needs and behavior
  • Shifts in consumer perception of value
  • Trend in industry and cost drivers
  • Change and evolution of the industry

You might be thinking, am I supposed to collect this data myself? Where would I even find this information? How do I take the data I do collect, like demand of certain strains, inventory movement, and my accounting data to do marketing trend analysis? And what do I do with this information if I have it?

You can learn from larger brands and existing market segments outside of Cannabis. Consider the crowded soft drink and energy drink market. Coca-Cola and Pepsi offer similar products to the same markets, however they find ways to differentiate themselves by branding, advertising, and adjacent product alignment.

For example, data analytics could help a cannabis company determine that pre-rolls and a certain flavor of gummies are more popular in their area. This gives the company the opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition with branding, shelf placement, and marketing materials.

Combining consumer research with your point-of-sale data can better help the cannabis business operator make better shelf stocking choices.

Where to Find Cannabis Marketing Analysis Data

Data is a large topic. You can perform analytics at many levels of the cannabis supply chain. Cultivators can use analytics to review past growing trends, yields based on strains, the effects of different lighting, nutrition, and water on harvests. Processors can add IoT instrumentation to their machinery to predict maintenance cycles, track processing life-cycles, and track materials as it moves from raw input to the final packaged product. Retailers can use the data to make decisions about supply and demand, brand popularity, and track inventory.

There are many cannabis businesses here to help meet the specific needs of cannabis businesses, many with a specialization,

Much of the data you need to help supplement your existing data are available from third party cannabis data companies.

Who are the Big Data Cannabis Companies?

There are multiple types of data providers. For the scenario discussed above, we want a partner who can integrate securely with our existing point-of-sales data. One of the top providers in this space is Headset .

A successful cannabis retail operation has a number of moving parts – from attracting new customers, building loyalty, optimizing your product assortment, to managing a sales staff. Headset’s retail solutions help leading dispensaries from the moment they get their license all the way through to becoming efficient, well-established businesses.

Headset integrates with over 20 different point-of-sale systems and provides guidance on how to property stock your shelves with the categories your store should keep stocked.

Headset does provide the analytics solutions a dispensary and cannabis retail operation need to take advantage of trends and strategic planning.

But of course, data isn’t just for retail. There are other data providers in the marketplace with a focus on different areas:

Finding a Cannabis Data & AI Partner

Data analytics can be a great addition to your existing IT solutions, but it’s difficult to know where to start. Vendors will often help you put their products in place and get the greatest return for your investment.

However, what do you do when you don’t know where to start? This where a good consultant or consultant agency can help. There are a few out there, but one that has stood out to me, because of their dedication to Cannabis Data & AI is

The team offers integration services, data analysis, and process automation. Typically, a good consultant can help you make the right decision on what platform to build your analytics practice on, provide technical and strategic guidance, as well is implement the technical aspects of the solution.

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