Medical Cannabis, Product Experience and self-service eCommerce portals

Learn how Cannatrek approached their commerce journey for their B2B customers.

High-performing organizations have accelerated their digital transformation and leveraged eCommerce solutions to adapt to changing market realities. 

Self-service and applying available customer data from ERP systems like Microsoft Dynamics Business Central is what can make for great commerce experiences that will have a customer come back for more. 

Get new market insights from leading analyst firm Forrester, senior analyst Joe Cicman and Amanda LeClair, when they guest this webinar to talk about how eCommerce and Product Experience results in better commerce experiences with increased bottom-line results. 

Learn from Cannatrek’s Head of Customer Operations, Aiden Zilouff, on how they approached their commerce journey for their B2B customers. Cannatrek builds a customer portal for doctors and pharmacists through which new orders, repeat orders and order history makes self-service a breeze. Resulting in internal efficiency, improved customer experience and higher average orders.

Wact this webinar to learn:

  • Insights from Forrester on how they perceive the current and future markets
  • How eCommerce and product information strengthen each other for increased commerce performance
  • How Cannatrek approached their eCommerce strategy
  • Learnings from the Cannatrek journey and what not to do
  • How Self-Service helps drive business results and increase happy customers
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Eric: In today's webinar we will be talking with customer Cannatrek. The title of today is Medical Cannabis, Product Experience and self-service eCommerce portals. Ayden Zilouf from Cannatrek, will talk about how they set up a customer portal in a matter of weeks for their medical cannabis organization, distributing to pharmacists, patients and doctors all through the self-service customer portal. It's quite an exciting story.

Eric: Ayden, welcome, and please feel free to tell us a little bit more about Cannatrek and yourself.

Ayden: Hey everyone, thank you for joining us. Here at Cannatrek, we're a vertically integrated Seed to Patient company that deals with the entire life cycle of medicinal cannabis, everything from selection of genetics, research, different indications and clinical efficacy for different compounds found in cannabis, to growth processing manufacture, as well as the distribution and customer service aspects that impact the medicinal cannabis patients in Australia. As a result of that, we get to have access to quite a bit of data when it comes to customer preferences as well as their reasons for choosing certain companies over others. Our development process is very much patient-centric, whether we're selecting genetics for different plants or designing a self-checkout experience to assist patients in surmounting accessibility barriers that they've been facing in accessing the medicinal cannabis industry.

Eric: I can imagine that since it is a business that is fast-growing and it's not your standard organisation, Cannatrek has been investing in e-commerce. Could you talk about the reasons why you have been investing in e-commerce, the must-haves and what attracted you to dynamic web?

Ayden: Sure! The medicinal cannabis market in Australia from a regulatory standpoint is, as you mentioned, very, very fast moving, which means that the ability to pivot due to new regulations or get some new declarations by the various government offices involved in regulating the industry are key. One of the key ways that we accommodate this type of flexibility is by making sure that we've got robust online systems that can support those activities, e-commerce being an amazing avenue to drive self-service with our customer base, whether they are patients, pharmacists, doctors or other clinical researchers who access our data. Realistically, e-commerce was a no-brainer, and it was very much about finding the right kind of partner that can understand our business requirements and be able to meet them within our short timeframes.

Eric: We will come to how your regulatory elements differ from the standard checkout process in a bit. Could you tell us more about going live and your history with the e-commerce approach?

Ayden: Sure! As I mentioned previously, in any development activity or project, that Canntrek has undertaken, we've had a very strong emphasis on patient experience and as a result, user experience. We got caught in a typical trap when it comes to startups looking to create a very unique customer experience, as well as having to deal with the regulatory barriers that the industry as a whole has to contend with. So, in terms of the journey that we've taken to reach here, we've gone through several iterations of our own bespoke programming website that has been worked on by several teams around the world, promising the world but realistically delivering very little. We found that the experience of implementing dynamic web has been relatively pain-free for all involved. The team was flexible enough to meet our requirements for the time frames that we gave.

Eric: At the end of this, we will also invite Wes Cassidy from Garrett Solutions, who was the partner involved. I am impressed by how you were able to put in work and go live in such a short time, to say the least.

Ayden: In terms of compliance requirements for data collection and inventory tracking, dynamic web has most of those functions built in so the team was very eager. We're able to easily adapt those existing functions to suit our needs. Being a vertically integrated business, we have to track a lot of moving pieces all at the same time, which is why we're into maintaining good software to manage all of that information. ERP has been a very big priority in the business for the past 18 months.

Eric: I like that you touched on the ERP as well, because if I understand it right, you use Microsoft Dynamics Business Central to which the e-commerce suite needed to be integrated. However, the B.C. project also took a little bit longer with set up.

Ayden: Yes, as I said, there are so many moving pieces in this business right now. We're dealing with wholesale vendors for the construction of various greenhouse projects, overseas product vendors, and overseas product purchases as well that are outside of our local Australian market. Each of those levels of the business had to be coded and then all the relationships set up behind the scene through Microsoft Business Central. Being an IP project, we underestimated the resources required to do all the entry work.

Eric: There are a lot of moving parts with the international elements as well, what with your Seed to Patient approach on the website. I imagine that that's combined with legal elements and that there's a lot of complexity to be managed in the ERP system and Microsoft Dynamics.

Ayden: Despite the delay that we incurred implementing BC, we were able to implement a flexible interim solution using dynamic web and go live with a public-facing product that has already improved efficiency within our business when it comes to internal administration processes, as well as significantly improved the user experience for our customers who are currently using the service. We are already able to provide live stock updates, as well as live order tracking as needed for that sort of dynamic work with just this interim solution, which again demonstrates the possibility of great results for both us and our customers.

Eric: You touched on two topics I wanted to address. There are two ways of integrating, with your business central or with your new system. You can go into the ERP, meaning that you really are succeeding and that's good because sometimes, either system becomes slow and has to be upgraded or updated, pulling the whole system down. In this case, your loosely-coupled approach makes it possible to still have public-facing elements where the backend into ERP would take just a little more time. This is a great example of the benefits of having a loosely-coupled integration. You also mentioned the customer portal and experience which Forrester talked a lot about as well. This may be outdated but I recall that these days 42 percent of all B2B customer purchases are done through self-service and/or a sales rep assistant. You went into self-service as well, so can you tell us a little more about this?

Ayden: For sure. Our customers were already engaging with our business mainly over the phone with the wrapping shop, or via email when it came to placing orders, approaching staff or addressing any queries they have relating to stock availability, delivery times, and tracking things of that nature. The implementation of dynamic web enabled a self-checkout experience which allowed the pharmacist user group in particular to place their orders in a very efficient manner. The system provides phones for them to provide all the compliance information that is required [inaudible 00:40:20- 00:40:23] able to release [inaudible 00:40:24- 00:40:27] things like the TGA approval or a state approval as well as their pharmacy registration documents. Dynamic web was able to trade-off those requirements as part of the signup process and checkout experience, so the pharmacy is able to provide compliance details during the product selection phase as well as in the checkout phase. That type of flexibility really enables a user-focused experience where if the user prefers to provide the information as they add the products to the cartt they're able to, or for some of our higher volume users, who have multiple patients on a regular basis. The need for the details at the final stage of checkout is to be able to accommodate the needs of our clients the product solution.

Eric: In many ways, organisations don't see B2B e-commerce as something they might need, but it's a customer portal for reordering and keeping track. There's so much power where the link between e-commerce and customer portal is visible. Cannatrek's approach is a great example of the strength of a customer portal for a different type of audience and shows potential to extend internationally with all the ERP business rules involved.

Ayden: Actually, the fact that we have a public-facing self-service portal has brought in more business for us. I can personally attest to this with my experience in other businesses, as well as having to provide feedback on our current clients' experience. Not many people know how to access medicinal cannabis even when they have a prescription in their hand. The first thing they're going to check is if the provider has a website so that they can buy online. A website therefore encourages the patient to either sign up or to reach out to for more information, and it makes the user experience a lot more personalised as they usually avoid talking to anyone else. They know what they want and understand what they need to do to get it, so they can do so quickly without having to wait for a call back from one of our team for clarification on the process. Old information is always available for reference. Since the seven-day week business policy is applicable in most areas of Australia, being able to check stock for your clients on the weekend and then place an order immediately tells them to engage with you on their terms.

Eric: That's a fantastic example, I would say, to show the power of self-service and your internal efficiency. With your experience with setting up e-commerce and with creating dynamic web routes for e-commerce in the medical cannabis industry, what advice would you give companies engaging or investing in any of these activities?

Ayden: You're really hitting me with the hard questions today! Companies around the world would like to check and monitor changes in local compliance and regulatory requirements so they can plan long term as they engage software developers to continually meet their needs. Many times you could be working on a project for six months and then it's either no longer required or it's completely different after rethinking your objectives. In terms of implementing e-commerce in general, Cannatrek's strategy has always been "patient first" translating into "customer first" for e-commerce, which meant that there was a lot of engagement involved in putting together the UX that we were hoping to achieve and making sure that the design was very client-lived in terms of meeting their needs as articulated by them. We got many questions on why we didn't have an e-commerce solution, but we were already working on one to meet our client's needs.

Eric: Yes, I think that that's the legislation and it's ever-changing! I can imagine that this is also an example where speed is important, because the legislation might actually change within six months of working on a project and then you have to go back into the project and make another couple of weeks' worth of changes. That would be for just one region, let alone with the expansion plans you may have. I understand you need flexibility and agility in making this kind of changes.

Ayden: I would say that when it comes to implementing e-commerce and other software to assist in the scale-up of your business, sooner rather than later is always the better option. The fact is, upgrading all of your internal management software, whether it's an ERP or customer interfaces, wil solve e-commerce solutions. It's much easier to change the wheel of a moving car if its a small car. In the hands of your client base, it will be harder for them to adjust to change, so the earlier you introduce it, the better it will be in the long run. This is valid for both your business in terms of efficiency and your clients in terms of great user experience when engaging with the company.

Eric: That's a very good point and a nice way to wrap this up. Ayden, I've been asking the questions but is there anything else you would like to share with the people listening in on this webinar?

Ayden: Once again, I'd just like to stress how quickly and effectively Scott's team helped us scope out our requirements and set the ball rolling for a lot of these requirements, which in the beginning seemed rather complicated. There were a few business rules that needed to be worked out in order to effectively deliver the service that we were looking to deliver, as well as meeting our compliance requirements. I deeply appreciate how their flexibility as well as their ability to meet our timeframes achieved that. If I had a hat on right now, I would take it off.

Eric: Wow. I think that that's a heck of a thing to say so thank you very much. I look forward to learning more about how the project continues. Ayden, thank you very much your participation in this webinar, I think you have a great case here. Thank you.

Ayden: No worries, looking forward to the next ones. Thank you and have a nice day!

Eric: Thanks, bye bye. On that note, I would like to introduce Wes Cassidy from Garrett Solutions. Wes, you've been the involved party on this one and the dynamic web partner in Australia and down under. Please introduce yourself, and I'm happy to have you.

Wes: Thanks, Eric. It's really great to be here. It was a pleasure working with Cannatrek. What I've got up on my screen at the moment is a slide that I use when I'm doing presentations which summarizes what we are about as a company. We just love helping companies do things better, and we're really proud to be associated with dynamic web which is one of the solutions we offer that enables us to help companies improve their sales process, their customer-facing process, takes cost out of their business and helps them to provide better customer service to their customers. It's been great being able to work with the guys at Cannatrek, understand a bit about their business and get things moving for them.

Eric: That sounds really good. Would there be anything else you would like to add on this, or should we wrap today up, as we've heard some great things from Forrester and then some fantastic stuff from Ayden. Anything else you'd like to add?

Wes: I think that I don't really have much more to add. Thanks to everyone for joining in today. It's been helpful. If you've got any needs for e-commerce customer portals, I'm more than happy to help you.

Eric: Give Wes a call, absolutely. With that let me wrap this up. I would like to thank everyone for today's webinar, and I look forward to the next one. If there are any questions, feel free to reach out. I'll be happy to answer them. Thank you.