The product team at Flowhub gives an inside look at the fast-moving cannabis tech industry, and the role Pendo plays in helping the company innovate fast, drive adoption, and keep its dispensary customers informed of rapidly-changing compliance requirements. Check out this Q&A with Flowhub Product Manager Nico Lewis.
You recently raised a pretty major round of funding. Tell us what makes Flowhub unique in the cannabis industry? Why are investors so excited about what you’re doing?
Cannabis is not an industry that you simply jump right into. The market-specific compliance and regulation requirements make this a unique and challenging industry. At Flowhub, our software is custom built from the ground up specifically to serve the needs of cannabis businesses. We’ve taken a meticulous and strategic approach to our platform to make sure that it meets our customers’ business and operational needs as well as their expectations. We also have a team of people with an immense amount of cannabis knowledge. It’s very important to us that we do our part to help educate the cannabis community on key regulatory changes, new market expansion and retail best practices.
We are also a company with a lot of heart and passion for cannabis. Our mission is rooted in the desire to make safe cannabis products accessible to every adult on planet earth. This is a top down initiative and is embraced by everyone at Flowhub. We are selling more than software, we are giving cannabis entrepreneurs the chance to chase their dreams by empowering them to run their retail operation in the way that best serves their business as well as their consumers. We succeed when our customers succeed.
Our open API platform and partner ecosystem not only represent a free market-approach but also give the customer the option to build a customized cannabis tool stack with the vendors and solutions that will best serve their business. We partner with over 30 different integrators that are experts in their respective fields — everything from online ordering, digital menus and marketplace analytics to payments, loyalty programs and ecommerce/delivery.
With Flowhub, customers benefit from an open architecture, fast results, and a predictable cost with purpose built, modern technology that delivers mastery at each step of the supply chain.
Our $23 million Series A funding round was one of the biggest cannabis tech Series As out there and it is indicative of the appetite from outside investors to bet big on the cannabis industry and on Flowhub. They believe in our mission, our vision and our people. They also see the potential of our software to completely change the way we think about cannabis retail. We truly are helping to shape what the future of cannabis retail looks like and that means a continued focus on product innovation and corporate growth.
What is the big pain that you solve for your customers and what role does Pendo play in solving it?
One of the biggest pain points we solve for our customers is selling cannabis compliantly amidst constantly changing regulatory environments. We currently serve 12 different states all with their unique compliance requirements and challenges.
Pendo is our digital communicator at Flowhub. It allows us to easily share with our customers any new features that are available for them to use and to quickly share updates to any compliance changes. Another benefit is the ability to educate our customers on how exactly they can interact with a new feature without having to do additional research.
Pendo has also helped shine a light on where Flowhub customers might not be using a specific feature as we intended them to. From there, we can optimize that functionality or offer additional support and training to the customer so that they feel confident using the Flowhub platform at their dispensary.
You recently completed the Pendo quick start process with our professional services team—tell us about that. Did you have a big a-ha or win out of that experience? Something that has your wheels turning for what else you can do?
Our experience with the Pendo quick start process and the professional services team was overall positive and highly informative. The team did a great job of answering our questions on the spot, but it was also refreshing to see that the Pendo team was not afraid to admit that they didn’t know something when we asked challenging questions. They promised to look into those questions and followed up promptly with the answer.
Our biggest “aha moment” was the ability to view usage of our products by key segments that we could define in our CRM system. Once we had them created we could see how different groups used the software, which was very illuminating. As an example we had requests to build a feature that was originally launched in our iOS mobile app into our front-of-house Cashier desktop app as well. With Pendo, we could determine feature usage by state and cohort as well as track any increase in usage with that feature once it was built in the app. We often release our features by state so it allowed us to better understand adoption and determine whether or not it was worth scaling to additional markets.
What distinctive aspects of the cannabis industry make using Pendo so impactful for customers and your business?
Oftentimes, our customers are very busy with their daily operations and business planning that emails can get lost or are not read in a timely manner. Pendo gave us the ability to offer in-app notifications, which has been crucial for us because the Flowhub platform is something that our customers use every day, it is an embedded part of their overall cannabis retail operation. We now have the metrics to prove this is the case thanks to Pendo.
In-app notifications give us the ability to quickly get resources in the hands of our customers without needing to provide any explanation. The cannabis industry is still new and evolving and there can be a steep learning curve for many of our dispensary customers who are coming to this industry without a lot of cannabis experience. The ability to automate this process with Pendo allows us to quickly communicate with our customers without having to coordinate a development release or involve support team members. They can support themselves in a self-serve fashion and then reach out if they want a more hands-on tutorial.
How does Pendo fit in your long-term goals for your product(s)?
Pendo gives us insightful data that show us exactly which features we need to invest more in and which ones we should allow to depreciate over time. Another benefit is having all of our user analytics under a unified tool, so we’re able to see usage across our platforms, from our mobile applications to our Cashier and Manage desktop applications.
This allows us to continually optimize our platform and bring new enhancements to market that will actually serve our customers in the way they need.
We also have visibility into which users are highly active with certain features. We can then approach these power users for more specific and detailed feedback on our product performance so that we can stay focused on delivering features that our customers want. We’ve been able to survey our users in-app as well, which provides a quick turnaround for feedback.
We are excited to take advantage of Pendo’s integration with Salesforce and connect our CRM data with our product usage data. Having a holistic view of the markets we serve overlayed with feature adoption and usage enables data driven conversations with prioritization. For example, we now know that consumers at Colorado dispensaries are three times more likely to join a loyalty reward program compared to California or Oklahoma consumers.
Bonus question: Do you have a feature or part of Pendo that you love so far? What do you love about it?
Our favorite features thus far have been the intuitive dashboards in conjunction with the segment functionality. We can build out a dashboard to show how a certain feature is being used across different customer segments. The ability to share this information internally at Flowhub with others on the product team allows us to gather more insights as to what is going on, again so that we can optimize performance and functionality.