Shopify has been chosen by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) as the e-commerce platform for online sales of cannabis to the public.
The LDB will be responsible for 100% of wholesale distribution of product in BC, and an online store is currently being created in time to go live on October 17.
Blain Lawson, LDB’s CEO and general manager said, “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.”
A Canadian company, Shopify is based in Ottawa and provides a platform for point-of-sale systems as well as online stores. In 2017, it reported that more than 600,000 merchants used its technology, generating $4 billion in sales.
The announcement comes after a lengthy review process that was posted on BC Bid, the online marketplace where public sector organizations advertise contracts for a range of services.
In beating out other contenders, Shopify had to fulfill a range of requirements, including:
* Creating two separate websites to fulfill online orders: one for consumers and another for private retail stores;
* Verifying the ages of customers shopping on BC Cannabis Stores’ website;
* Warehouse management systems; and
* Supporting a customer care centre.
To help protect youth from accessing non-medical cannabis products, additional age verification of online orders will be performed by the courier service at the time of delivery to valid addresses within British Columbia.
The LDB has also announced that its distribution centre will be located on No. 6 Road in Richmond. The 6,500 sq. m facility will generate more than 130 jobs, and includes a customer care centre for BC Cannabis Stores, the province’s online store, and licenced retailers.
Security is a big concern, and the LDB has offered assurances that the safety and quality of all products will be paramount. It will be part of the seed-to-sale tracking process, as product information, such as batch numbers and product expiry dates, will be managed. Licensed producers will assume the responsibility of testing and packing their product before it ships to the new distribution centre.
Photo courtesy of Tourism Vancouver.