Case Study: Developing a Mobile App for a Medical Cannabis Delivery Service

One Apptology’s more interesting projects was to develop an iPhone and Android app for Swift Comfort, a medical cannabis delivery service based in Davis, California.  In doing this project, we had several objectives for the app.  In this article, I’ll describe how we accomplished those objectives using our ReadyBuilt platform and the results.

Paperless Patient Onboarding

In California, for a dispensary/ delivery service sell medical cannabis, they need to get the following from a patient:

  • California ID
  • Recommendation from a physician
  • Signed patient agreement form
  • Maintain records of their patients

Apptology was able to make the entire patient onboarding paperless.   In the app we developed, the patient can take a picture of their ID and recommendation and send it to the delivery service.

Figure 1. Submitting a recommendation and ID through the app

After the service validates the recommendation (unfortunately, this is a manual process), the patient can enter their data directly into the service’s database on the app (this saves them from keying in the information themselves). We selected MMJMenu for their database for several reasons:

  • They are specifically designed for the medical cannabis solution  and meets compliance requirements
  • They have a secure service that can meet HIPAA compliance
  • They allow for branding
  • They’re free (for a single location service)

Figure 2. Filling out patient information directly on patient database on the app.

After the patient enters the information in the database, they are redirected to an Adobe Sign Document where they can sign the patient agreement form. After the patient signs the form, both the service and patient received the signed copy. At this point, the service can upload the image of the ID and recommendation and the signed patient form to the patient’s record in the database.

Figure 3. Digitally signing the patient agreement on the app

In the event the patient did not have a recommendation for medical cannabis treatment, the app has an integration to PrestoDoctor where they can speak to a physician and request a recommendation.

Figure 4. Integration to PrestoDoctor

Ordering Product

When we first created the app, we initially created a shopping menu where the patients could order product directly from the app.  However, we encountered a couple of problems:

  • Apple didn’t allow for the ability to order medical cannabis from the app
  • The delivery service would end up having to maintain two separate menu (the app shopping cart and Weed Maps).

Our solution was to eliminate the shopping menu and replaced it with an integration to Weed Maps where the service’s menu can be viewed.  In terms of ordering, we allow the patient to choose from calling, texting, or emailing an order.

Marketing

The app has the ability to market to the delivery service’s patient base.  There are a few features that I will highlight:

Push Notifications

  • One of the most powerful features of app is the ability to send push notifications directly to the patients. Our client will often send out app only specials when it’s slow which helps bring in business.

Figure 7. Example Push Notification

  • In a very competitive field (our client literally has 20 competitors in their city listed on Weed Maps), customer loyalty is essential. To encourage this, the app has a rewards card feature.  The reward card in the app is like a digital punch card.  After a purchase, the driver can enter a secret code that punches the card.  When they collect enough punches, they will get free product.

Figure 8. App Rewards Feature

Content

In order for an app to be successful, it has to provide useful content so that the user has a reason to use the app, other than just ordering product.   The app has to ability to delivery content in various forms including:

  • Videos (including an integration to YouTube)
  • Pictures (including an integration to Instagram)
  • Social Media feeds (Facebook and Twitter)

Analytics

The app has a supporting Content Management System which is where  our client can manage the content, send out push notifications, and look at analytics.  Below is a screenshot of the analytics dashboard.  In this case, it shows that in a 7 day period, there were 356 users of the app; 96% of the users were returning customers, and the most common feature used was the “Call” feature.   Analytics are important for our clients to understand how much their  app is being used and how it’s being used.

Figure 12. Analytics Dashboard

The app we developed for Swift Comfort has been an essential part of their business. They’ve been in business for over a year and have done very well despite being in a highly competitive environment with 20 medical cannabis delivery companies listed on Weed Maps in their city alone. A branded app will make a medical cannabis delivery service / dispensary stand out in a competitive field by making patient onboarding easy and providing the ability to market to their customer base.

 

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

CAL FIRE Ready for Wildfire App

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) fights over 5600 calfireiconwildfires that plague California annually.  CAL FIRE has a new weapon in their arsenal to help prepare the public for when the next wildfire strikes, it’s their new mobile app called CAL FIRE Ready for Wildfire.  The app is currently available on both the iPhone and Android platforms.  The app has three primary functions:

  • Providing Educational Content on how to prepare for and help protect property from wildfires
  • Notifying citizens of wildfire incidents with custom alerts
  • Providing incident information and maps on California wildfires

Education

The main purpose of the app is to help educate residents and property owners in high risk wildland areas on how to prepare for wildfires.  The app has a series of checklists that is broken down as follows:

  • Ready (Maintain Defensible Space and Hardening Homes)
    • Create Defensible Space
    • Harden Home
    • Prepare for Bark Beetles
  • Set (Create a Wildfire Action Plan)
    • Wildfire Action Plan
    • Emergency Supply Kit
    • Design a Family Communication Plan
  • Go! (Evacuation Guide)
    • Pre-Evacuation Guide
    • When to evacuate
    • What to do when trapped

 

The app has nine separate check-off lists that also provide educational material in the form of articles and videos.  The videos can be viewed as part of the checklist or in the video library.

Cal Fire education

Notifications

The user can sign up to receive custom wildfire alerts for a physical address and/or for the user’s device location.  The user can opt-in for push notifications and/or SMS messages for wildfires that are reported in selected California counties, or within 30 miles of the user’s device, using location services.

Push Notifications

Push Notifications require the user to have the app.  The push notifications are generated using integration with Urban Airship.

SMS

The user can also opt to receive text messages about latest wildfires.  The advantage of using this option is that the user doesn’t need the app to receive the notification.   The SMS messages are generated through integration with Twilio.

CAL Fire alerts

Information

Basic information from CAL FIRE can also be found on the app.  The app has embedded CAL FIRE’s mobile website for incident information, and there’s a feed from CAL FIRE’s Twitter account.  In addition, there’s a Statewide Fire Google Map that displays all the active wildfires in California.

Cal Fire Info

CAL FIRE launched a campaign to promote the app that directs residents to this resource as tool to prepare their Defensible Space in advance of the 2017 wildfire season. The campaign also includes an incentive for user downloads through an App Sweepstakes that is available now through May 21, 2017. The Sweepstakes offers users a chance to win a home hardening prize package. The Sweepstakes is co-sponsored by Apptology and iHeartRadio. No state funds are used for promotion or prizes. The CAL FIRE app was developed by Apptology as a contractor to CAL FIRE’s marketing agency, Sagent. For more information on the Ready For Wildfire Campaign, visit www.readyforwildfire.org

SMS (Text) Marketing: An Effective Way to Reach Your Customer Base

In continuing my series on the  three pillars of a marketing strategy, the second pillar is SMS (Text) Marketing.  SMS stands for Short Message Service and  it’s  one of the primary ways  people now communicate.  To illustrate the change in communication, my cousin was complaining to me that her  kids (who are in their 20’s) never  responds to her emails.  When I talked to her kids, they laugh and basically said that they primarily text or  Facebook and that no one emails.

95% of text messages are read within 15 minutes.  Compare that with emails which has a 3% read rate.  Email use is declining and consequently, the effectiveness of email marketing.  However, I still feel that email marketing is still effective for B2B but if your business is more B2C, you really should look into SMS Marketing.

A&W SMS Campaign

A&W SMS Campaign

Here are some case studies that show the effectiveness of SMS marketing.  A&W burger chain was able to increase their revenue by a staggering 20% by using Text Marketing.    In similar fashion, Jamba Juice was able to increase their in store traffic by 10% with their Text Marketing campaign.

As a pillar to mobile marketing, SMS Marketing offers an effective means to market to your clients and if you business model is B2C, I highly recommend that you look into it.  (Shameless plug, Apptology does offer SMS Marketing packages).

In my next blog, I will look go  over the  third pillar of mobile marketing, Smartphone Apps.

The Three Pillars in Developing a Mobile Strategy

Three Pillars of a Mobile Strategy

Three Pillars of a Mobile Strategy

In developing a mobile strategy to promote your business, I believe that there are three pillars to consider:

Mobile Friendly Web Site:  If you have a web site for your business, this not so much a marketing strategy, it’s an action item that you need to add to your to do list.   40% of Internet Time  is done on a mobile device and  if you’re site is not mobile friendly, you may be losing customers.

SMS (Text) Marketing:  If your business model is primarily B to C, you really need to look into SMS Marketing.  This has become an extremely effective method to communicate and market to your client base.

Smart Apps:  Apps is the high end solution among this group.  Apps can be used for branding purposes or it can be  used to develop into a new business process in interacting with your customer base.

In my future blogs, I will go into these pillars in greater detail.

—Rich Foreman