Business

On Amazon, a “Second Life” for Dispensary Data

By Hilary Corrigan Jul 6, 2020
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One company’s cannabis industry data can now reach a much larger audience through Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

On Monday, “cannatech” company Enlighten said it had started sharing business data on the AWS Data Exchange. Enlighten, claims to be the first cannabis company providing information to the global platform used by investors, analysts, researchers and marketers.

Bowling Green, Ky.-based Enlighten offers a suite of services for brands to advertise in dispensaries. Nationwide, it controls screens in about 1,300 pot shops.

The screens employ a tool called TrafficWise, a small device that collects information on dispensary visitors. It collects information such as the number of customers in a store, how long they stay, whether they return and outdoor foot traffic.

TrafficWise works by picking up cell phone signals, similarly to how a phone locates wifi availability, CEO Jeremy Jacobs said. The company says it does not access private phone data and the signals it picks up are anonymous.

Similar data is widely available to mainstream retailers. Enlighten set up the technological infrastructure to let the cannabis industry do the same. “We laid the lines,” Jacobs said.

Among other uses, this information helps advertisers know how many people see their promotions on dispensary displays. It also offers dispensaries insights into their customers. By overlaying traffic and transaction data, for instance, a retail chain may be able to better understand store performance. “That data has a second life,” Jacobs said.

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“Anyone in the world”

Starting earlier this year, much of the information Enlighten collects became available on the AWS Data Exchange, a global platform for business information.

Enlighten has a deal with Amazon where the tech giant gets a share of revenue when people subscribe to Enlighten’s data through AWS. Subscribers can customize the data they receive, with prices ranging from a few hundred dollars monthly to tens of thousands of dollars annually.

The data Enlighten makes available through Amazon does not identify individual stores. Instead it provides information on  stores within a geographic area. The idea is to generalize traffic data so anyone can study relevant patterns.

Data Exchange users have access to vast data troves from a wide range of industries. Enlighten claims to be the first cannabis company to list data on the service. Ultimately, the idea is to foster growth within the industry and for Enlighten.

Numerous cannabis data services alredy exist. Several, for example, collect point of sale information from dispensaries. But the information available to cannabis executives pales in comparison to options available to their counterparts in federally legal businesses.

Who can access the data? “Anyone in the world,” Enlighten’s Jacobs said. That includes investors, or analysts trying to figure out, say, how the pandemic has changed consumer behavior. It might be of use to  marketers looking for high-traffic dispensaries and retailers considering expansions or moves into other states.

Jacobs expects the data to foster better business decisions. “We want the industry to grow,” he said.