Where cannabis meets e-commerce
by Jason Smith
Namaste technologies’ compelling strategy to win in the cannabis marketplace
The medical marijuana industry in Canada and globally is still in its early stages, leaving plenty of room for new players with good ideas to establish first-mover advantage.
One such company is Namaste Technologies Inc. (TSX.V: N) (OTCQB: NXTTF) (FRA: M5BQ), a diversified cannabis technology company focused on developing the best cannabis-related products and services for domestic and international markets.
Working at the intersection of cannabis and e-commerce, Namaste Technologies’ strategy is to build a digital ecosystem for medical cannabis patients around the world. Specifically, its NamasteMD app, which is Canada’s first medical marijuana telemedicine app for patient acquisition available on iPhone and Android, has the potential to smooth the way for patients to access medical cannabis. Namaste’s management team believes that it can acquire patients faster and cheaper than any of its industry peers.
NamasteMD: Medical Marijuana Made Easy
The current process for medical marijuana patients is to visit a doctor or clinic for a consultation. Once they receive a medical document for cannabis, they can register with a licensed ACMP producer.
NamasteMD will simplify this process by allowing patients to conduct their consultation with a doctor or nurse practitioner by phone or computer. They will then have the opportunity to shop for a variety of cannabis products online through CannMart Inc., the company’s wholly owned ACMPR medical cannabis “sales-only” license.
Currently, a vendor of its Namaste Vapes in Canada and Brazil, Australian Vaporizers in Australia, and EveryoneDoesIt Vapes in the UK, with a globally diversified business with a presence in over 25 countries, the company is building a database of prospective medical marijuana patients that are potential NamasteMD customers.
Namaste Technologies CEO and Co-Founder, Sean Dollinger, clarified the business model, “NamasteMD connects patients shopping for vaporizers to doctors and nurse practitioners across Canada, allowing them to purchase medical cannabis legally through a licensed distributor.”
A Potential Online Cannabis Marketplace
With CannMart on the verge of receiving its “sales-only” license, the NamasteMD app has the potential to provide a readily available marketplace for newly acquired medical marijuana patients. Doctors and nurse practitioners get a tool for patient acquisition, and patients get a streamlined way to access medical cannabis.
It’s a good strategy for Namaste too. Says Dollinger, “Instead of taking customers and referring them to other licensed distributors, which generally stock proprietary products, CannMart keeps those customers ‘in-house’ with a variety of products at all price points that give customers maximum choice when they place their orders.”
Namaste’s short-term goal is to become Canada’s largest online medical cannabis marketplace, which is estimated to reach $1.1 billion by 2020. There are already 130,000 patients in Canada’s medical cannabis system and the country is home to 36.2 million adults, 42 per cent of which have tried cannabis at least once, making the domestic upside clear.
An International Platform for Growth
The company’s international presence, via its vaping business, is a great base for customer acquisition.
Namaste’s sites for its vaping products generate over 600,000 monthly visits and have helped it build a database of over 1.5 million users. That’s a premium list of potential medical marijuana patients, and one that just keeps growing.
Dollinger comments, “The vape business is our original and most important business because that’s what generates traffic for the websites. In England, while other potential competitors are waiting on the sidelines, we’re acquiring 300 to 500 new customers a day. The idea is to continue to grow potential patient lists that can one day be monetized.”
The company’s integrated model for patient acquisition and cannabis sales in Canada is one that is imminently repeatable in other emerging medical marijuana markets. Dollinger comments, “NamasteMD is a virtual telemedicine portal, so as cannabis legalizes and the market evolves, we’ll be able to introduce service elsewhere to convert web traffic into patients.”
Namaste is also preparing itself for the possibility of a recreational market in Canada later this year.
The Plan for the Recreational Market
Namaste COO and Co-Founder Kory Zelickson spoke recently to the company’s post-legalization strategy, “The extent of governments’ roll-out strategy for each province is yet to be determined or fully understood. We will explore opportunities to sell online through recreational channels where applicable.”
In addition, the company recently announced a partnership with Infinite Labz that will focus exclusively on cannabis oils and edibles. Approval from Health Canada is considered imminent for these products, which could potentially be available for both the medical and recreational markets.
The company’s long-term goal is to continue to innovate at the intersection between cannabis and e-commerce with machine learning and advanced technology. In the short-term, it will focus on leveraging data from existing databases and site traffic to build a global medical cannabis database.
With its vaping system business growing those databases on a daily basis, and CannMart on the verge of receiving approval and going live in Canada, Namaste Technologies Inc. is positioned for an exciting year in this rapidly evolving marketplace.