by Chris Milan, NexTec
On October 21st and 22nd, NexTec had the opportunity to present alongside the Business of Cannabis at its annual Cannabis + Technology virtual event.
NexTec’s CannaBusiness ERP is a software solution designed to help cultivators and processors streamline operational efficiency and manage business growth. As such, we are firmly positioned at the intersection of both the cannabis and the technology industries, and are always interested in connecting with our peers and colleagues to learn more about the future of both of these fast-growing, dynamic sectors.
Below, we highlight four key takeaways from the event that include an outlook on the future of the cannabis industry and the move to virtual B2B trade shows.
Efficiency is the New “Funded Capacity”
In Canada, there is a rapid drive toward business efficiency and away from viewing relative company size as the key driver of success. Companies able to create efficient, compliant business practices are now the ones that will succeed six to 12 months from now.
It’s no surprise, then, that the focus on technology in the cannabis industry was so dynamic this month. Technology enables efficiency, and businesses from cultivators through to retailers spent their time honing business practices and their operations using various forms of tech. (For a full lineup of talks, panels and demos from the event, click here).
Virtual Events are Not Real-World Events Hosted Online…
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cannabis sector was heavily dependent on conventions and trade shows for B2B engagement. There was the annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas each December and other smaller, must-attend events scattered throughout North America.
But virtual events are different, and those differences are important to consider. At a convention, attendees spend hours at sessions, walking the floor and networking. In this new realm, most participants are likely working while attending virtual events, switching between multiple browser windows, answering calls and emails and generally working alongside event programming.
Building events, content and offerings for attendees that reflect this virtual reality is essential. Attendees can’t be expected to be present and focused on an event in real time, so it’s critical that content is made available on-demand.
…But Presenters, Sponsors and Attendees Still Want Personal Connections
While learning from presenters, keynotes and online demos is important, attendees still crave those one-on-one or small group connections.
During the Cannabis + Technology event, the most dynamic conversations occurred outside of the scheduled programming. We saw first-hand that the most valuable connections were made during the networking sessions and when attendees met virtually one-on-one. We all need to actively seek new ways to create this kind of personal engagement in the future.
Sense of Industry Optimism
We’re all facing challenging times as the pandemic continues to affect our jobs, businesses and the economy. But there is optimism when it comes to the growth of the cannabis industry.
Cannabis sales figures are increasing in nearly every market throughout North America and two major market indicators are getting the industry very excited: the Ontario cannabis retail market is continuing to expand rapidly and the U.S. is seeing a push towards new markets, led by recreational and medicinal legalization initiatives on the ballots of five states in the upcoming election. We’re looking forward to being part of that growth.
We are all learning how the world of B2B engagement is changing. What may work for B2B events like Cannabis + Technology this year, may not be true for virtual events in the future as people’s online business habits change. But for those utilizing technology to help run their cannabis businesses, it’s clear that they will be better poised to adapt to these changes than those without it.