In a world where new clothes and fresh produce can arrive at your doorstep with the click of a button, it was only a matter of time before cannabis followed suit.
While marijuana-delivery services are nothing new, what sets Oakland’s Cannvis apart is a highly curated menu, which caters specifically to the professional user who may not have time to stop by a dispensary. Launched 18 months ago, the company eschews the convenience of instant delivery for the quality of pre-scheduled drop-offs.
The range of products is personally vetted by founder Tim Bender.
“It’s really a matter of me just being on top of the market,” he says. “We set up meetings with vendors, and we can get a sense if they’d be good partners for us. There are a lot of OK products on the market, and a lot of people who aren’t operating as professionally as we would like. We need to make sure that we’re going to be building out a network of partners that we can grow with.”
With long-term partnerships in mind, Cannvis is definitely a company with an eye on the future. While many companies have taken to raising the bar on branding and professionalism as the customer base for cannabis products expands, Bender sees immense potential in targeting a demographic of high earners, ages 25 to 40, who may have never tried cannabis before.
In order to make these potential novice consumers as comfortable as possible, Bender notes that working with vendors who fully test their products is of paramount importance.
“We’re only carrying the best of the best,” he says. “We work with some of the best producers in California. We’re definitely taking a boutique approach, trying to actively go out and find what we think are the best products on the market and make it a good shopping experience.”
One of the challenges Cannvis has faced is getting customers to embrace a business model that is not built around instant gratification. While other companies thrive by getting orders filled as quickly as possible, Bender says his business is designed to be similar to Instacart and Amazon Fresh. That means pre-determined delivery windows — which he feels will become the norm as companies continue to scale as demand rises, and especially after recreational sales in California go live in 2018.
“When we first started, we thought that we had to compete with folks like Eaze and offer on-demand service. Now we’re finding more and more that the customers we’re going after don’t need things immediately. You don’t want to give them a delivery window that feels like they’re waiting on the cable man, but as long as you can offer them the ability to select what works for them, they can plan their schedule accordingly.”
For now the clientele for Cannvis consists of patients in San Francisco and Oakland with medical recommendations. However, as 2018 grows ever closer, Bender feels that branding allows his company to expand its base.
“We want to have a larger presence, and I think because of our limitations of being online, we need to have a very strong brand. It’s kind of complicated right now, because a lot of our competitors haven’t brought the same level of professionalism to the industry, so a lot of people have a bad perception of what a delivery service is. We want to really elevate the industry and be a more professional service that is going to provide the same products on the shelves of any of the big dispensaries in the area.”
Given California’s position as the largest cannabis market in the world, it makes sense that Cannvis is eager to get things right at home before looking at markets out-of-state. But Bender does acknowledge that growing beyond the Bay Area is a long-term goal.
“Obviously, there are going to be huge opportunities for us as we expand into other states, but I think there’s plenty of opportunity here in the Bay Area — and again, we want to make sure that our operation is really nailed down,” he says. “We’d love to look out into the future, but don’t want to be pulled in too many directions. I think holding things down in our home state is going to be best.”
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