Team + Culture Building
In 2017, Jane needed a partner to help them realize their goal of creating an easy-to-understand eCommerce platform that lets people shop and place online orders with their local dispensaries —and pick up their orders in store without waiting in line.
Legalization of cannabis in most states has removed the old challenges of where and how to get it, but it has also created a new issue—the paralysis of choice. With so many options in the market, it can be difficult to discern differentiators and the best or most convenient service.
“We feel like the cannabis industry is a ripe candidate to prove this model. You have a very fragmented market in terms of retailers whereby there are thousands and thousands and thousands of dispensaries across the country. Not a single (company) controls more than one percent of market share.Soc Rosenfeld : Co-founder and CEO / Jane TechnologiesSource: Forbes
Jane is the brainchild of Rosenfeld, a former Apache helicopter pilot who earned his MBA from MIT. When he returned from service, he realized that cannabis had potential benefits for a multitude of concerns and issues: like PTSD, sleeplessness, and anxiety. Partnering with his brother to launch Jane, they shared a vision that stemmed from personal experiences readjusting to civilian life back in the States, as he told Forbes.
“We want to help cannabis sellers go from ‘brick and mortar’ to ‘click and mortar,” Rosenfeld said.
Jane came to Substantial looking for a product team to help them go from a beta site to a more finished, modern ordering system ready to serve their cannabis customers.
The vision: a digital platform to make legalized cannabis more accessible online by letting customers browse local dispensaries and learn more about products before placing orders for pickup or delivery—delivering an enjoyable, educational experience for customers, and saving them time and money.
We worked with their team to align their product goals with a streamlined approach to user flow, roadmapping the product from start to launch in under five months. Considering the product’s success after launch, we mapped the product for post-launch feature development and expansion into new markets.
Building a sustainable digital product requires a clear idea of your product’s position in the market and how it will grow over time. It also requires the clarity to know when it’s time to stop building new features and get in front of real customers.
We kicked things off by pairing with the Jane team to define what was necessary to provide a complete experience for customers at launch. Rather than trying to do everything, the client prioritized key areas focus and stripped the product down to its essentials, identifying the most important segment of their audience, streamlining the ordering experience, and adding design elements to facilitate the process.
Challenges included location-aware search results, user authentication, and creating a clear, concise buying experience beginning with Jane’s homepage.
In the design process, we considered users on every side of the product. Since Jane’s software is browser-based, access is easy for both customers and employees. Compatible with retail stores’ existing Point of Sale System, the platform makes it easy for dispensaries to use and update inventories. And on the user side, Jane’s system provides users with updates—and eliminates the chance of reading a fake review.
Through prototyping and iteration, Substantial optimized the site’s existing design and navigation and implemented a new search function. Having inherited a codebase that needed comprehensive testing, we wrote high-level acceptance tests around the user experience, evaluating capabilities in new user registration and product reservation. We addressed smaller bugs while focusing on work to improve the user experience, all while collaborating closely with the Jane team, so they remained familiarized with the codebase.
These efforts positioned Jane to launch quickly and successfully, targeting their early customers and providing enough flexibility to develop for their future audiences as legalization expands in more states.
Jane’s launch received immediate recognition from press, including Forbes, which praised the site’s new online search engine as the only one in the market to provide real-time availability. Using a smart search function to find products based on need, Jane allows people to reserve cannabis for pick-up or delivery. This capability beat competitors Weedmaps and Leafly in this space.
We continue to work with Jane’s internal product team as it has grown to provide additional support as they expand their product. More than 2,413 dispensaries are represented on Jane, with over 250,000 inventoried products—and plenty of room to grow.
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