CFN Media Interviews Cova
July 19th, 2017
News, Top News
Complex retail software is a necessity for any store to thrive – especially in the cannabis space. Between inventory management, POS, and compliance, the needs are fairly profound. Cova provides dispensaries with an all-encompassing software suite that is uniquely crafted for each customer. We sat down with Gary Cohen, CEO of Cova, to discuss this exciting new business and what they’re doing to ensure dispensaries have exactly what they need to grow.
Rachelle Gordon: What is Cova and what is its place in the cannabis industry?
GC: Cova is a business unit of a bigger software company called iQmetrix, which provides retail software for very complex industries. It’s a big undertaking to handle the needs of complex retail. What that means is, certain retailers have very difficult inventory to keep track of. It’s either highly valuable and the value of it changes regularly and the way you get compensated on selling it changes regularly. The taxes and the laws in selling it are different in all kinds of jurisdictions.
At the core of our software is giving the dispensary owner full control of the transaction. It all starts with that transaction engine, or point of sale. What we’re unique in doing is building all of this technology for the dispensary that relates back to that point of sale. That includes things like integrating the inventory management system so that in the states that are extra complicated, like Colorado, where you’ve got rec and med, and you’ve got all these compliance requirements – we build it so that as you bring inventory in the back door, you can easily put it into your inventory and track it all. Legally you have to track it seed to sale and we catch it as it comes in the store.
RG: What brought iQmetrix into the cannabis industry?
GC: If we go back to the beginning of last year, we had several company goals or strategy goals. One of which was to expand to three new verticals. In January of 2016, that was one of the goals. We looked at all kinds of industries. It wasn’t really until about April or May that everything got very clear and focused on this. From that moment forward we started working on where we are today, which is launching our service.
We were looking for an industry that met three criteria. One was that it’s complex. It turns out the cannabis industry is just that! Every law and the things required to meet the compliance and the needs are different. The taxes are crazy strange! We’ve got to be able to adapt for that and give the customers tools to work with it. Secondly was we’re very young; even though we’re huge, we’re not huge – we’re 450 people. In this industry we’re kind of big. We wanted an industry that fit with our culture, – the jewelry or the shoe industry didn’t really get us excited. This industry does. The third was high growth. We’re going to make this huge investment to go into something, and really go somewhere. We are big believers in this industry and that’s what we’re doing here!
RG: What sets Cova apart from other retail software providers in this space?
GC: I think there’s really three things. The thing that propelled us really quickly 15 years ago was intuitive design. I hate to say we copied Apple, but in our space (and in retail) we approached it from a user interface. “How is that going to feel and look?” “How do you think you would walk through a sale?”
I would say the second thing is reliable technology. We hear about our competitors stalling out or breaking down or crashing or other problems. We’re in such a scale from a safety, reliability, and security standpoint that we’re built for millions and millions of transactions a day, not tens of thousands.
The third, and maybe more important, is support. Some call it people, I call it support. We’re not just learning how to take care of customers from the start to the finish. We have teams that will look at what do you have now, and determine how we get that over to Cova. If you don’t have a dispensary now, we can help you design this as efficiently and inexpensively as possible and get you all this capability. We’re very cost conscious and we approach it with whatever you’ve got now. We’ve got enough horsepower to build the connectors to make it all work.
RG: What are your hopes and goals for the next few years?
GC: Over the course of the next year or two we’ll go over 1,000 stores. The goal by the next year, 2018, is to be over 1,000. We will be in Colorado, California, and then a progression of states. I think it’s super important that, unlike what’s happened in our industry with some of the other point of sale people, is we’re not going to sell our solution in a state that we don’t have all of the compliance stuff built. The most important thing is to preserve their license. That’s the thing we care most about, is don’t just push your solution out and they’re treading on thin ice, not doing the reports right or not checking IDs. Whatever it is that they need to do we need to make sure we do the right thing.
Some dispensaries want to create an experience. Some want an environment that where customers can spend some time exploring. Other dispensaries may want you in and out as fast as possible. We provide a solution that is adaptable to the type of unique experience that different dispensaries want.
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This article was published by CFN Enterprises Inc. (OTCQB: CNFN), owner and operator of CFN Media, the industry’s leading agency and digital financial media network dedicated to the burgeoning CBD and legal cannabis industries. Call +1 (833) 420-CNFN for more information.
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