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4 Best Cannabis AI Budtenders for Dispensary Websites (Reviewed)

Imagine having a knowledgeable budtender to help you find the perfect cannabis product, right from the comfort of your computer or phone. That’s where AI budtender chatbot software comes in. These smart digital assistants are like expert advisors for cannabis enthusiasts. They make shopping for cannabis easier and more personalized.

When you shop at a dispensary in-store, you usually have the option to place an order on your own via a kiosk or ask a budtender for recommendations based on your preference.

Chatting with a budtender is usually preferred by more inexperienced shoppers.

However, some dispensaries get over 70% of their purchases from online orders, and chatting with a budtender is not an option.

So where does that leave the inexperienced users when they try to place a pre-order online?

They will likely be overwhelmed by the hundreds of product options on a crowded website.

That’s where these AI budtender chatbots step in. They’re like virtual guides that can understand your preferences and offer tailored recommendations. Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or just starting out, these chatbots are designed to help you find the perfect strain or product.

In this article, we’re going to explore the best AI budtender chatbot software for cannabis dispensary websites. We’ll look at their user-friendly interfaces, preference selection options, and how accurate their recommendations are. These chatbots are designed to be easy to use, so you don’t need to be a tech wizard to get the most out of them. They’re here to make your cannabis journey fun, informative, and hassle-free. Get ready to meet your new favorite digital companion for all things cannabis!

 

Best Virtual AI Budtenders you can add to your dispensary website.

I spent about 8 hours testing and analyzing each of the most popular AI budtender features on dispensary websites as if I were a consumer placing an order with my normal preferences. I even placed an online order at my local dispensary using one (or at least I tried to).

Terpli, Strain Brain, and Pluggi are the three most popular AI budtenders. In terms of functionality and preference selection, they are very similar. However, some provided a better user experience and more accurate results.

Let’s dive in!

Spark Budtender 

Spark Budtender Virtual Cannabis Dispensary Website Chatbot - AI Budtender

Spark Budtender is by far our favorite Budtender chatbot available for dispensary websites, however it does not use AI. This chatbot keeps things simple and essentially filters products from the dispensary menu based on the preferences that online shoppers select in the chatbot. The algorithm uses menu information like product category, effects, terpene profiles, and product descriptions to inform the product recommendations rather than using AI.

Based on our experience testing other AI-powered budtender chatbots, incorporating artificial intelligence seems to be unnecessary and creates more margin for error leading to inconsistent and inaccurate product recommendations. The Spark Budtender algorithm provided us with significantly more accurate recommendations.

Also, the preference buttons in Spark Budtender are dynamic, so if there isn’t a product on the menu that matches the product type, flavor, and effect filters, the filters won’t even appear as an option to select.

The “Quick Shop” feature makes finding the right product so easy!

The most useful feature in Spark Budtender isn’t even the virtual budtender chatbot. I’ve found that the “Quick Shop” feature in the second tab is even more useful and helps me find the products I’m looking for much faster than searching through the menu.

It allows online shoppers to quickly explore the most common menu filters in one click. Some examples of the one-click filters are “highest THC flower”, “most popular vape carts”, and “lowest-priced gummies”.

Preferences used to select your product recommendations:

  • Product Type
  • Flavors
  • Effects
  • The “quick shop” feature has a lot of the most common filters for each product category.

What I like:

  • The most accurate results
  • It is much faster than all of the other chatbots. Quickly click the filters and get results.
  • You can easily scroll back up and change the preferences and it updates
  • The “Quick Shop” provides the most common filters for each category in one click
  • It is much easier to explore new products than on the regular online menu
  • Search bar built into the “quick shop” tab
  • Super affordable
  • Customizable button icon and message in the word bubble
  • Customizable button and text colors in the chatbot

Spark Budtender is the most affordable option at $50-$99 per month and they offer a 30-day free trial. They customize and set everything up for you with no setup fees too!

Visit the Spark Budtender website

StrainBrain 

My experience using StrainBrain was great and I think they have a great user experience. StrainBrain includes relevant preferences that I care about when selecting a product, and the recommendations seem to be the most accurate out of the three plugins that I tested.

I like how Strain Brain shows the percentage of how accurate the product match is to your preferences. This gives me confidence that this AI budtender is using a somewhat advanced algorithm to match the products accurately. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for other solutions based on my experiences.

The initial user experience is great. It is very visual and easy to click through your preferences. There is an intrusive “loyalty sign-up” form before you get can see your recommendations. This is great from a dispensary’s marketing perspective if users sign up for their loyalty program, but as a user, this annoyed me because the AI budtender had not provided any recommendations yet and it disrupted my positive experience using the plugin.

Another drawback is the paid promotion feature within the Ai budtender. Brands can pay to get their products featured at the recommended product. I feel this defeats the entire purpose of the AI budtender providing accurate recommendations to users.

 If I set my preferences, I want to see the most relevant products that match my preferences. Not irrelevant products from brands willing to pay for that ad spot.

Just ignore the featured products and I think Strain Brain is one of the best AI budtender options.

Preferences used to select your product recommendations:

  • Product Type
  • Effects
  • Flavors
  • Strength

What I like:

  • Good user experience
  • The chatbot word bubble button explains what it is to encourage website users to click on it.

What I don’t like:

  • Loyalty Sign-up is annoying for users but this is super valuable from a marketing perspective.
  • Promoted Products are shown before recommended products 

Strain Brain does an excellent job pairing products to the preferences.

Visit the StrainBrain website

 

Terpli

Terpli is the most well-known name in the cannabis AI budtender space. They have a slick UX design that feels like the Tesla of AI budtenders. I like the simple user experience and it only takes about 20 seconds to select your product preferences and get recommendations. You can also rebrand the colors and logos to match your brand design so it looks natural on your website.

I think Terpli does a good job matching up preferences to product recommendations, but they do have less specific preferences from the other options. I would expect an option to select flavor/aroma or some terpene profile data from a plugin called Terpli but it’s possible they excluded this because cannabis shoppers don’t care about this preference too much.

How does Terpli provide provide recommendations?

Terpli uses AI to analyze product data from its database of COAs and private customer reviews to provide the most accurate recommendations possible.

In my opinion, this AI budtender’s ability to collect data from private customer reviews and provide recommendations based on real personal experiences makes it stand out from the rest. 

Terpli reviews and effects

We noticed the effects on Terpli’s menu recommendations don’t always match up to the desired effects selected in the chatbot so it can create some confusion. Many brands provide common effects for their products on their online menus but they are not always accurate because cannabis can have different effects on different people. In some cases, Terpli’s science and feedback-based effects might be more accurate than the description and effects provided on the menu.

Preferences used to select your product recommendations:

  • Product Type
  • Effects
  • Strength
  • Price Range

Earn loyalty points and get personalized product recommendations

Terpli integrates with the top dispensary loyalty program providers and incentivizes signups with loyalty points. After users sign up, they can keep track of previous online orders, leave private reviews to earn more loyalty points, and receive personalized recommendations for future orders.

Terpli reviews

Drawbacks:

The product preferences that I selected did not match up with the product descriptions and effects for the recommended product in the menu. However, this could be because Terpli’s recommendations are more accurate.

I added the $0-$25 price range, as many budget shoppers might do, and all product recommendations were around $50. I manually navigated the menu and found many products met my selected preferences under $25.

Why weren’t these products included in the recommendations and why include price range as an option if it is going to be ignored?

Visit the Terpli website

 

Pluggi

I like the super simple chatbot layout for Pluggi. The user interface is easy to use and you can quickly click through your preferences without any intrusive email signup forms or ads. However, I did not get any benefit from shopping with the Pluggi Ai budtender.

Unfortunately, I tested the chatbot multiple times on three different websites and didn’t get many accurate product recommendations.

Preferences used to select your product recommendations:

  • Product Type
  • Flavors
  • Desired Effects

Results:

Provides three product recommendations

Issues:

  • Website one – Every product it recommended was out of stock
  • Website two – When I clicked on a product, I was redirected to the flower product category page instead of the product.
  • Website three – It returned an “error page” that said white label error after I clicked on a product

I eventually found one product recommendation that worked on the fourth dispensary website I tested, but I set my preferences to find a citrus-favored flower strain, and the top recommendation was a flower strain that the description clearly explained had gas and cheese flavors. 

“flavors favor the true gas-heads out there, with tons of gas all the way through, and notes of sharp cheese and — for a change — acrid petrol”

The other two recommended product links did not work.

Recommendation accuracy: Poor

 

I tried this AI budtender over ten times before I received a product recommendation that was available for purchase. When I finally got a product that was in stock, the recommendation was not what I was looking for.

Based on my experience of receiving inaccurate results, this AI budtender wasted my time as a shopper. The goal of AI budtenders should be to make the online cannabis shopping experience faster and easier. I got quite frustrated with the errors, out-of-stock recommendations, and inaccurate recommendations.

If you have had a positive experience with this software please contact us to let us know and we are happy to reevaluate it. We want to provide the most accurate and helpful feedback and it is possible that all of the websites we tested didn’t configure Pluggi correctly.

Visit the Pluggi website

Conclusion

Based on our experience testing the most popular AI budtenders, we believe StrainBrain provided the best user experience and recommendations. However, we recommend every dispensary team does research and testing on their own to find the best solution for their needs. Remember, the goal is to provide a better online shopping experience for your customers so it would be smart to get customer feedback on which AI budtender they prefer too.

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