If cannabis dispensary owners thought they could get by without online ordering, 2020 has probably made them reconsider. It’s important to have an online menu available through the dispensary website because the demand for convenient shopping experiences has never been higher. While the dispensary menu is only one part of what makes a site great, it’s a big step in the right direction.
Choosing the right tool can be overwhelming. Most people already know about what I’ll call “the big two” in this article: Leafly and Weedmaps. The thing is, both of those work better as review sites as opposed to embedded menus. Dutchie and Jane are both much better for adding a menu to a dispensary website. There are other things to consider as well.
When building a website for a cannabis dispensary, location matters. As of July 2020, Duthcie is already up and running in Missouri, while Weedmaps isn’t. Hytiva is a good dispensary menu tool for Las Vegas dispensaries, but not so much in other parts of the country. An option like Meadow may be better for a brand new dispensary that still needs its POS and other software.
This chart can help you compare options before proceeding to all of the individual reviews and comparisons below. Different categories receive different weights in terms of overall score. Most notably, all of the following categories are given more weight than online presence:
The online presence category gets shorted for a couple of reasons. For one thing, this article is focused more on improving dispensary websites than it is on general dispensary advertising. The popularity of a software solution doesn’t necessarily make it work better, though brand exposure still merits some consideration.
It’s also likely that Google will still be a better source of new business than even Leafly or Weedmaps ever could be. Some of these tools offer ways to improve your marketing efforts, but tons of people still find cannabis retailers through Google. Embedding the right menu can help with SEO for cannabis dispensaries by helping with ranking factors like longer visits and frequent returns. To be fair, claiming business listings on a bunch of different sites can also help with local SEO.
Jane and Dutchie are the two best options for an embedding a menu on your cannabis dispensary’s website. It seems like Dutchie has the edge right now, which is probably because some serious menu building experience allowed them to get off to a fast start. The company’s CEO has a knack for starting successful food-ordering sites and apps, and he’s even sold one to Grubhub.
Excellent leadership has helped Dutchie assemble a massive team of skilled engineers. They integrate with every major POS system, then maintain those integrations as POS providers update. The size of their team also enables faster scaling. Onboarding normally only takes a week, the average response time to any issues is under 30 seconds, and there’s almost no downtime.
Beyond the advantages of size and experience, many dispensaries choose Dutchie over Jane because of the following:
Even though Dutchie seems to have the edge over Jane right now, there’s not necessarily one option that’s perfect for everyone. Jane is still a terrific option with plenty of strengths, so it’s worth the time for dispensary owners to at least consider both of these two options. Continue reading for the complete notes on every dispensary menu building tool considered.
Price: $250/ month
Dutchie integrates with dispensary POS systems to automatically import products. Once integrated, the online menu can be built in seconds then updated automatically. Item inventory (including newly added products) syncs every 10 minutes to ensure that the menu is up to date. If you’re worried about that 10 minute window, set Dutchie to remove items once the inventory gets below a certain level.
Actually, it’s easy to integrate Dutchie with other things too. All told, it integrates with more than 30 different POS systems, delivery apps, and marketing technologies. Connect it to the other tools you might already use, including the following:
Since Dutchie menus are fine-tuned for pickup and delivery, customers can complete the transaction anytime and anywhere. The online ordering tools come with compliance features like age checks, tax calculations, and purchasing limits. As cannabis delivery becomes legal in more of the United States, expect Dutchie to take off like a rocket.
For now, Dutchie works like a charm as far as cannabis pickup orders. The software comes with a free iPad mini and connected printer. Orders show up through the iPad terminal, and the dispensary receives a phone call if an order isn’t confirmed and printed within 10 minutes.
If customers want to pick up their order at the curb instead of in the store, they receive links with their order update notifications. The customer clicks this link when they arrive, and a notification (including identifying information about the customer’s car) pops up on the in-store Dutchie terminal.
All the while, analysis tools will uncover ways to boost sales. The analysis tools aren’t quite as robust here as they are at Jane, but Dutchie may be adding even more tools like brand trends and delivery heatmaps as early as July 2020.
For SEO enthusiasts, it’s nice to know that Dutchie allows you to build subdomains and index products individually. This gives you more chances to organically increase traffic to your dispensary’s website and allows you to set up tools specifically for the subdomain. With this, blog posts about cannabis aren't your only opportunity to rank for specific strains.
You may even want to integrate it with Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics to get feedback about shopping cart abandonment and other metrics. Definitely consider Dutchie if you’re focused on cannabis dispensary SEO, which businesses probably should be.
When you embed a menu from Dutchie into your cannabis website, you can expect it to look clean and professional. The appearance isn’t going to blow you out of the water, but it’s also not an eyesore. Neutral colors will make the dispensary menu look at home on just about any website, and the information is easy to process (alternatively, there are plans to make the colors customizable in July 2020). Users can choose to view products in a list or as cards.
The reason Dutchie makes their menus this way is because this style converts. The layout of the site reduces clicks and prolongs the shopping experience. Dutchie even allows dispensaries to display items either with or without taxes. The appearance and UX of this site blend together in complete harmony.
Dutchie says they have “the industry’s largest product library with professional photos, descriptions, and more.” This makes it quick and easy for dispensary owners or their employees to throw together a complete menu with lots of information for their customers.
There’s no need to update your online menu since it stays updated in real-time. If you ever need it, though, this menu builder promises fast and friendly support. The Dutchie terminal in a dispensary simply prints tickets and allows the dispensary to alert a customer once the order is ready.
Once your online dispensary menu is up and running, control everything with Dutchie’s phenomenal admin features:
It’s easy for the user, too. There are multiple ways to sort and view these menus based on product type, price, and brand. The process of adding items to the cart and checking out is straightforward. The CEO of Dutchie previously started food ordering sites, including one he sold to Grubhub, and the full benefit of his experience is on display here.
Dutchie offers a 30-day trial, so dispensaries can get reimbursed if it doesn’t seem like a good fit within the first month. There are no contracts required to get the low price of $250 per month. This includes licensing, the Dutchie terminal, and setup. It seems like Dutchie is planning to monetize their marketplace for large cannabis brands, so it’s relatively unlikely that prices will suddenly skyrocket for dispensaries.
Dispensaries automatically get featured on Dutchie marketplace when they set up their account. This site doesn’t have the blog or strain catalogue like some other options on this list, but that might actually be a good thing. When people use Dutchie, they’re almost exclusively using it to find a dispensary. Luckily for those people, the number of dispensaries on Dutchie ballooned from 850 to 1,200 from March to June of 2020. This is the real deal.
The traffic here is all about value over volume. It still gets a decent amount of volume, too: enough to earn more than 200,000 backlinks and an Ahref’s domain rating of 64. To make the most of their current user base, you can do things like send email blasts announcing sales to your past customers. They’re also likely to get a much larger user base as time goes on. If Dutchie is planning on monetizing their platform by selling ads, they’ll definitely remain focused on getting more users.
Price: $300/ month (normally)
Dispensary owners hardly have to lift a finger to get this online menu integrated with their point of sale system. Jane’s team will take the lead when it comes to setup, no matter which POS system you use. It may take up to two weeks to get everything set up and launched, but they’re yet to find a system with which they can’t integrate.
Once underway (and receiving ongoing support), online ordering is a breeze. Jane automatically cleans SKUs to match them with known products, then adds other content like product descriptions. Dispensary owners can also track marketing data like conversion rates as they work to make their menus more effective.
Jane makes beautiful menus. In fact, these menus are better than beautiful because everything they do is based on real marketing data about conversion rates. As the designers receive more data about what’s proven to increase sales, there are constant improvements to the menu’s appearance and user experience.
There are only a few negative things that come to mind:
This solution makes life simple for both the consumer and the business. As mentioned above, Jane menus are designed to make it easy for customers to find exactly what they’re looking for. The searching and filtering are almost as good as any other solution on the market.
Best of all, the dispensary owner doesn’t have to worry so much about tagging items or coming up with content. This dispensary menu builder uses machine learning and their in-house content team to match your products with both descriptions and tags. If you happen to carry a product Jane doesn’t know about (yet), or if you just want to put your own spin on the description, you can always customize it yourself.
As an added benefit for the business, this company is super responsive. Dispensary owners can expect to get all of their questions answered quickly both during setup and beyond.
Even though the experience is overwhelmingly positive, there are just a few downsides to Jane’s UX:
The most common package is what Jane calls the White Label Menu. It’s their most customizable option, which is nice for dispensaries that want to control their own branding. This solution costs a flat $300 per month with no setup fees or transaction fees. It’s $50 per month more than Dutchie, but that isn’t much of a difference compared to some other companies on this list.
Smaller stores may prefer more of a pay-as-you-go method. Instead of a monthly fee, there is a charge of $1 per each completed transaction. There are still no setup fees. The Jane logo will be present on the embedded menu in this case.
When it comes to offering a large user base, Jane is probably in the meaty part of the bell curve. Like Dutchie, though, iheartjane.com offers high-value traffic because it’s all about shopping. Jane doesn’t seem to attract nearly as many users as Dutchie, though.
With machine learning and the ability to filter by effects, it wouldn’t be surprising to see their online presence expand dramatically in the near future. Jane is already in 1,450 stores throughout the United States as of June 2020. As more dispensaries realize how great this system is, the presence of more menus may accelerate the rate at which customers begin and end their shopping experience through iheartjane.com.
If you’re not going to go with Dutchie or Jane, you probably won’t have an especially nice menu embedded on your site. There are still some respectable options on the rest of the list, but none of them seem like they can really compete with either Jane or Dutchie. If you’re going to sacrifice quality, you might as well go with one of the big two so you can make the most of their massive user bases and effective advertising tools.
Again, though, you’re often looking at such a high cost for either Leafly or Weedmaps that you might as well spring for Dutchie on top of that. Leafly and Weedmaps are more like cannabis listing and review sites than functional menus for online ordering.
Some dispensaries do use one or the other of these big two for an embedded menu, but it’s just not quite smooth enough for online ordering to be a good long-term solution. These two are large companies with a lot of capabilities, so there’s a chance they may build (or buy) their ways to better embedded menus soon. For now, Weedmaps seems like a better choice than Leafly when it comes to embedding a menu.
Price: $3,000 and up
Leafly Pickup facilitates online ordering while automatically syncing data with a dispensary’s point of sale system. Inventory is kept accurate and up to date while average pickup orders of $70-$100 dollars come into the store.
One of the biggest things Leafly has going for it is its massive selection of data about the cannabis market. Dispensary owners can see information about which strains are in demand in a given area, then compare prices against competitors.
Leafly is perhaps the most feature-rich tool on this list, so why doesn’t it get perfect marks on this section? The biggest problem with this solution is a big one– it’s just not stellar at connecting with a POS to push and pull data.
That leads to a lot of manual data entry and editing if you want it to be more than a supplemental marketing tool. Compared to some of the other options on this list, Leafly just doesn’t seem quite as good at creating a menu and embedding it into a site (which is ultimately the point of finding a good menu builder).
Leafly menus aren’t nightmarish by any stretch, but they certainly aren’t as good as most on this list. A lot of users will even switch from Leafly to another app or site once they transition from researching into shopping.
The appearance and experience of ordering through these menus is a little bit underwhelming. For example, they let customers place noncompliant orders, then the dispensary has to work it out after the fact.
Leafly identifies a five-step process for creating and operating an online menu:
Leafly integrates with more than 15 major POS providers for cannabis dispensaries, but many dispensaries claim to have problems with the integration. Creating dispensary menus and embedding them into websites just isn’t Leafly’s biggest strength, so prepare for a lot of time spent massaging the data.
From the customer’s side of things, using Leafly is fairly convenient (as long as a product or deal is actually in stock). The strain information is a much bigger draw than the ordering experience, though.
There’s no reason to pay this much money ($3,000+ if you only want to build a menu for your website. Unless you’re also looking to invest a ton of money in advertising, don’t even consider Leafly. Once you do decide to spend that much, it probably makes sense to throw in a little bit more and just make your site’s menu with a better option from this list.
So many people use Leafly because it’s also loaded with information and reviews about different strains. The wealth of knowledge on this site leads to lots of traffic from medical marijuana patients and adult use cannabis customers. Once a person identifies a strain that appeals to them, they may proceed to look for a nearby dispensary with that strain.
The app and website combine for more than 15 million monthly visitors. With the majority of those users turning to Leafly to find deals, this is an excellent place to acquire new customers. Dispensaries can even request reviews at the end of transactions to boost their ratings in the app.
Price: $420/ month and up
Once a dispensary is listed on Weedmaps, it can upload unlimited items. Online ordering is included, and there’s no additional fee for in-store pickup. In states where delivery is an option, the customer will pay a small convenience fee for delivery (kind of how Postmates does food deliveries). All accounts get analytics about online ordering, and premium accounts get additional analytics about their impressions through the map.
The biggest problem here is with POS connections, which, to beat a dead horse, is a pretty significant issue if you care about online ordering. The sharing of data between Weedmaps and point of sale solutions isn’t good enough to enable full automation, so there’s a decent amount of manual work involved. It works well with Flowhub and some other common software, but just doesn’t have the flexible integrations you’d expect from Dutchie or Jane.
Weedmaps menus look fine, and are about as easy to navigate as Jane, but not quite as sleek as Dutchie. Another minor issue (as of July 2020) is that Weedmaps takes customers to its own site to complete orders. That is, a person using the embedded menu at YourDispensary.com will be redirected to Weedmaps when it’s time to complete the order.
There may be an update in 2020 to make the menu more customizable and make the UX smoother by completing orders through dispensary websites. This company certainly has the resources to improve their menus, but it seems like the focus is likely to remain on maps and listings.
Like Leafly, Weedmaps struggles a little bit to prevent customers from placing noncompliant orders, which the dispensary will have to address with their customers later. This process does get a little bit easier when dispensaries are careful about integrating all of their tools with Metrc or other regulatory software.
Weedmaps offers good support for dispensary owners and employees. A specialized onboarding rep will handle the first two months to get things up and running. After that period, a dispensary’s account will be transferred to a full-time team.
Things are a little bit easier on the user side. While there are minor inconveniences and rough spots in the user experience, Weedmaps is also insanely popular. Since so many people are already familiar with the product, they know how to use it.
Weedmaps pricing varies by region. The normal price for a basic listing is $420/month (get it?), but that may be slightly higher in big cities or lower in rural areas. You’ll pay more for a premium listing– expect prices like the following if you want special placement in addition to the basic listing:
There are no contracts, and dispensary owners can cancel their Weedmaps subscription at any time. Just keep in mind that there is a window of five business days where the cancellation may not take effect before the next billing cycle.
If you’re going to spend the money on one of the big two, Weedmaps is probably the way to go. This is worth your while if you feel the need to increase market share or penetrate the market with a new dispensary. If you only want to create and embed a menu without expanding your marketing budget, though, it’s definitely best to consider other options on this list.
Weedmaps isn’t as good as Leafly when it comes to offering research about different strains. Still, many people frequent the Weedmaps app because the updated store menus are a little bit more user friendly for consumers. Many of the visitors on Leafly are interested in reading strain reviews or other content, while Weedmaps users are almost completely focused on connecting with dispensaries.
For that reason, many patients and customers may switch from Leafly to Weedmaps when they finish researching and get closer to actually making a transaction. The app has over 160,000 reviews with an average score of 4.9.
Weedmaps also gets strong stats from Ahrefs, implying lots of traffic on their site:
Only you can choose which menu building tool is best for you. It’s distinctly possible that your dispensary would benefit from features or functions not considered on this list. None of the options below seem like they can challenge Jane or Dutchie when it comes to embedded cannabis dispensary menus. They also don’t have the brand recognition or advertising tools of Weedmaps and Leafly. You don’t have to take anyone’s word for it, though– here’s every other option considered for this article.
If you’re trying to identify all the software you need for a new dispensary, Meadow may be the best option on this list. As opposed to juggling multiple solutions, this provides an all-in-one solution for cannabis commerce:
Dispensary owners who still need all of those things should at least reach out to Meadow for a quote. On the other hand, this is probably overkill when the only need is an online dispensary menu.
Brands looking for all-in-one e-commerce solutions for dispensaries may also wish to consider Magento (for big budgets), WooCommerce (for smaller budgets), or Treez (for another cannabis-specific solution). More detailed reviews of those products may be added to this list later.
These menus look nice. They’re professional, optimized for mobile devices, and designed to provide a smooth e-commerce experience. Ordering for pickup or delivery is intuitive. There’s nothing wrong with Meadow menus, but they’re not quite on the level of Jane or Dutchie.
The awesome thing about Meadow is that it’s an all-in-one solution, so there’s no need to connect a bunch of different software. POS, inventory, compliance, and even loyalty programs are all rolled together. There’s a good chance this is the easiest option on the list. It only gets docked one point here because any dispensary would have to change its POS system if it currently had a different one in place.
The cost of Meadow varies because they use a tiered pricing system. It’s probably expensive since you’re buying an entire POS system along with the online menu tool. Still, this could definitely be worthwhile for brand new dispensaries that want to get up and running quickly with one solution for everything. Their website claims “zero startup costs, zero hidden fees, just simple pricing that scales with you.”
It’s probably fair to describe Meadow as more of a pure Point of Sale tool for cannabis dispensaries. They may find ways to build a busier online marketplace at some point in the the future. In the meantime, integration with Weedmaps is a breeze, and Meadow can keep your Weedmaps menu updated in real time.
I don’t remember who recommended this option to me, but I’d like a word with them. While I was researching this article on 6/18/20, ibudtender.com was showing a warning that the connection wasn’t private. To be completely sure, I tried multiple times from both my phone and my laptop.
After multiple browsers on multiple devices declared this site unsafe, it seemed unnecessary to proceed for a closer look at their features. That warning is really all you need to see. What a horrible look for an online solution.
Price: $350/ month and up
The price of $350 is for Hytiva’s startup package:
The online ordering is fairly efficient and takes local laws into account when setting compliance rules. Dispensaries can also increase throughput with mobile and tablet ordering. From there, you can add things like in-store digital menu boards and a customizable data analysis dashboard– just expect to pay for them.
The menu boards look nice thanks to stock photograph and informative videos. They’re also customizable to match a dispensary’s brand. Speaking of customization, the analysis dashboard is even more impressive. Track the metrics that matter most to you, plus see aggregated market data about pricing information and local strain availability.
These menus normally look about the same as every other menu on this list. They even have terpene profile information, which is probably really nice for some connoisseurs. That said, Hytiva menus might get pretty wonky from time to time.
Some of the dispensary websites I’ve seen seem a little bit glitchy when it comes to their Hytiva menus (scrolling problems, difficulty getting products to display, etc.). It could be a coincidence. Maybe the web designers for the cannabis sites I reviewed just didn’t know what they were doing. Maybe I just happened to check during the very few times Hytiva was having problems.
It’s tempting to give this solution the benefit of the doubt and say they’ll fix any and all problems quickly. I wouldn’t bet a cannabis business on it, though. The problems observed while writing this article would absolutely kill conversions, and it could be that the engineers are having a hard time scaling Hytiva from a local business in Vegas to a national player.
This solution is pretty straightforward. It integrates well with POS solutions, including customer profiles and orders. The problems mentioned in the Appearance section above do make for a somewhat clunky user experience at times.
Hytiva started as a Las Vegas-specific solution, so deliveries there are pretty well streamlined. Dispensaries in the rest of the United States can still probably expect other options on this list to be easier and offer better support both for customers and for the admin.
Hytiva has a tendency to nickel and dime dispensaries. When it comes to online ordering, there’s a 2% fee for pickup and a 3% fee for delivery. They’ll also charge $50 per month per device if you want to show automated menu boards in your store. It’s another $300 per month to use the data analysis dashboard. Depending on what you want from this solution, the costs can really start to add up.
With slightly less online authority than Jane and considerably less than the big two, don’t expect to get a ton of new business here. On the positive side, it’s easy to order both pickup and delivery through their site. Dispensaries get a listing on Hytiva.com, and anyone who does happen to find you there can place an order right away. There’s a lot more market penetration in Vegas since it started there.
This list contains most of the best options for embedded menus, but these aren’t the only digital marketing tools for cannabis dispensaries. Some business owners like to cast a wide net by putting listings everywhere they can get them. Options for that include all of the following in addition to the big two:
That said, Google is still the best vehicle to deliver new customers to your business. That’s why the big two and some other cannabis dispensary marketing tools are more of an afterthought until you have a larger marketing budget. First and foremost, future-proof your cannabis dispensary with an effective website that will show up higher in search results. A good embedded menu will help with SEO for cannabis dispensaries by improving sites, and Dutchie is probably the best bet for that.
Adding a functional menu with online ordering will get your dispensary ready for the rest of 2020 and beyond. Reach out when you’re ready to build or upgrade your cannabis dispensary website.
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