Brad Bogus

Dispensary Apps: Native vs. Non-native Ecommerce

Cannabis retailers may choose to have their own app for many reasons. For the purpose of this blog, we’re not going to dice up those reasons to provide a guide as to why a given retailer should. For that, you can check out this blog on Happy Cabbage’s Cabbage Patch.

Let’s assume you already know WHY you need an app and are convinced it’s the right move. We agree. Now let’s talk about HOW to go about getting one.

Super important decision time:

Native or Non-Native Ecommerce? 

There’s a HUGE difference between these two options that have many implications for your dispensary. 


Oftentimes when we all think of apps, we think of a full application that was built for our phones. However, apps can literally just be wrapping paper on a website that makes it seem like it was built for our phones, but really isn’t.

The two biggest app providers in the cannabis industry provide retailers app solutions that, while are native apps found in the app stores, do not have native ecom experiences. They throw your customers into retail inception, broadcasting your website ecom experience into their app, rather than it being seamlessly integrated for the consumer. Anyone who has run into a scrolling webpage inside of a scrolling webpage knows this is uniquely frustrating, especially on a mobile device.

Website menus and ecommerce solutions are built for all devices on the web. Even when designed for mobile experiences, they’re not built natively for phones. So, the website experience gets Frankensteined into an app wrapper and behaves strangely.

Think of having to side scroll a window in an app. Or, perhaps more subtly, every time you click a button the navigation reloads. Even worse is that most of these apps are built by loyalty providers, and because their ecom experience isn’t native, there’s no way to redeem loyalty points within the ecom experience. 

In the above case, a customer has to click into different, separate places like their loyalty points wallet, then click back into their check out experience just to redeem what should be natively available in a single location. These are the kinds of things that tend to happen with Non-Native Ecom apps.

Redflags for Non-Native Ecom apps:

  1. Navigation and user interface is very frustrating for customers
  2. They look and feel cheap, because they aren’t utilizing the native functionality of your phone
  3. Because of lack of native functionality, the cost is likely bloated
  4. For the same reason as #3, things break, so you have to calculate for maintenance as well
  5. If the app just does what the website does, why have the app? Customers will just go to your website on their mobile device
  6. They generate disastrous reviews for your business (just see the reviews shared below of retailers using apps provided by the 2 most well-known loyalty / apps / SMS providers)

Native Ecom Apps

This is what we humans think of when we talk about “apps.” Developers build features and functionality that work for each phone the way that phone is designed to work.

For cannabis retailers, there are always questions like:

This is where BLAZE Apps comes in. Any retailer using the BLAZE POS can have a native app that creates a shopping experience exactly like the one customers expect. No janky iFrames.

BLAZE Apps also ties in the loyalty program functionality already present in the POS. So, you aren’t paying for 2 things at once like you do with the other iFrame App providers. Customers can check their loyalty points and redeem that at checkout, all in a native shopping experience. 

Benefits of a Native App from BLAZE:

  1. No strange navigation and interface issues, the app works and functions cleanly
  2. The app feels premium to customers due to its seamless native experience
  3. With integrated systems like Loyalty and Ecom, the app is more than just an online menu and wallet, it’s a full shopping experience
  4. You aren’t paying more and getting less
  5. Logins, order history, loyalty points and payment methods are all synced up between the apps and your website
  6. Retailers can manage their ecommerce menu and app in one tool and at the same time
  7. Push Notifications are unlimited and included at no extra cost
  8. Apps are published on Apple App Store and Google Play Store through your developer accounts and under your brand - completely white label.

Following the acquisition of Tymber, a native e-commerce provider for cannabis dispensaries, BLAZE has expanded its software suite to include e-commerce as well as native mobile apps. One of the major benefits coming out of this acquisition is the tight integration between the e-commerce platform and the point-of-sale. This includes a native website menu, self-serve kiosks, and white-labeled mobile apps for retailers. 

Tymber continues to offer native e-commerce solutions to retailers that do not use BLAZE. However, it must be with a POS provider that integrates with their e-commerce platform. While the alternatives may not have the same level of integration, you do have the freedom to choose.

BLAZE Apps + Happy Cabbage

Happy Cabbage and BLAZE have a fantastic integration that powers your SMS and Email marketing with sales data, customer segmentation, and app engagement to help you generate the most revenue possible.

When you align your BLAZE POS, ecom, and app infrastructure together with Happy Cabbage, you unlock the most powerful marketing stack achievable with best-in-class options.

Don’t waste any more money on weak iFrame apps from inferior SMS providers. Empower your SMS marketing with a native app running on the same POS and Ecom platform you use in store.

Click here to demo BLAZE Apps

Click here to demo Happy Marketers by Happy Cabbage