Shopify to create online stores for B.C. cannabis sales

The B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch announced an Ontario-based company will develop the province's online retail weed websites

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The B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) has decided Ottawa-based Shopify Inc. will develop the province’s online sales platform for recreational cannabis distribution.

Once federally legalized, the LDB will be the sole wholesale distributor and public retailer of non-medical weed in B.C., which will include both storefronts and two e-commerce platforms.

The LDB said in a release Friday (June 22) the digital store is expected to launch in early fall, following official legalization on Oct. 17, 2018.

B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch

“Shopify was chosen for its proven record of on-time execution, user-friendly design and long-term approach to anticipating consumer needs beyond the implementation phase,” said Blain Lawson, LDB’s general manager and CEO, in the release. “Every decision we make, as we introduce cannabis to our business, is underpinned by the social responsibility we have to our communities, to prevent minors from accessing cannabis, to reduce the criminal element, and to prioritize the health and safety of our customers.”

The province opened bidding for the contract earlier this year and said, to be considered, companies had to be able to manage four responsiblities:

  • “The creation of two separate websites to fulfill online orders: One for consumers, and another for private retail stores;
  • The enabling of age verification on the B.C. Cannabis Stores’ retail website;
  • LDB’s various systems, including its warehouse management system; and
  • Supporting a technology- and service-driven customer care centre.”

Along with digital age verification, couriers will be required to ask for additional identification upon delivery to prevent youth under the legal age of consumption from purchasing government-regulated cannabis.

They also announced the 6,500 square-metre distribution centre will be located on No. 6 Road in Richmond, B.C., and expects to employ around 130 staff.

In February, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario also announced they will be using Shopify to manage online cannabis sales, including the development of their in-store point-of-sales technology.

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