Veteran cannabis tech company WM Technology is rebranding and expanding its SaaS offering to move upstream beyond its existing Weedmaps marketplace. Previously known as WM Business, this B2B subscription-based suite will now be known as Weedmaps for Business, a service designed to offer an end-to-end solution for cannabis retailers and brands.
Due to regulatory restrictions and stigma, cannabis businesses can’t operate as freely as their peers in other sectors: From ads to payments and delivery, they require dedicated tools to comply with fragmented legislation, both in the U.S. and Canada. But the more tools they require, the more complex things become.
That’s where Weedmaps for Business hopes to step in.
The service is more integrated than its predecessor, CEO Chris Beals told TechCrunch. This evolution, he said, is based on the company identifying, “a need for a unified set of tools that would help retailers and brands with the lifecycle of how they reach, convert, retain consumers — but also how they get insights and analytics around that lifecycle.”
Christopher Fenske, chief strategy officer at California-based dispensary Jaderoom, confirmed that a lack of integration was a pain point for dispensaries, saying that, “the biggest hurdle in the cannabis industry right now is connecting all the software seamlessly between your CRM, orders fulfillment and delivery management system.”
Weedmaps for Business aims to be a full SaaS suite, in part thanks to integrating the offering of several companies WM Technology acquired since it went public on the Nasdaq via a SPAC under the MAPS ticker in July 2021.
“What we now have,” Beals told TechCrunch, “is the culmination of several years of acquisition and M&A work, integration work and shared feature work such that businesses can now go and buy once and log into this first full platform offering for consumer lifecycle management.”
Each of WM’s recent acquisitions have turned into elements of the suite: Sprout, into WM CRM; Enlighten, into advertising-centric WM Adsuite & WM Screens; logistics-focused Cannveya, into WM Dispatch; and CannCurrent, into WM Connectors, which Beals referred to as a “Zapier for cannabis.”
All in all, WM Technology’s ambition is to support retailers and brands at every stage in the consumer funnel. In a similar move, Oregon-based Dutchie recently launched Dutchie Pay to help dispensaries accept cashless payments.
Integrated suites are particularly relevant in the cannabis sector, Beals said. “Cannabis is an incredibly highly regulated space and so the laws and regulations vary widely from state to state and in some places from city to city. The ability for us to build compliance functions and then have them be seamlessly leveraged across the suite and handoff compliantly is a real advantage of having a centralized platform.”
Saving time and money matters more to dispensaries and cannabis brands than ever, as, “these businesses are suffering the effects of margin compression given that we’re in what appears to be a recessionary period,” the CEO added.
According to Beals, one of the main challenges for cannabis brands is that, “it’s incredibly difficult to reach actual high frequency cannabis consumers.”
Another issue that WM is hoping to help tackle is that “almost half of cannabis consumers don’t have a favorite brand.” As a result, “In cannabis, we haven’t seen the same level of the same ability of brands to generate increased premiums for brand affinity as we’ve seen in other consumer goods. But that’s going to change,” Beals hopes.
Better analytics and benchmarks data would also help brands maximize their profits. Weedmaps for Business already includes analytics elements, but the company is hoping to further expand that side of the suite over time.
“We’re looking to start adding information on Share of Voice, suggestions of products that seemed to be drawing increased consumer affinity, on skewed distributions by geographies. A lot of that data sits with us currently, it’s just a matter of building it in as we iterate on these analytical solutions,” Beals said.