The Ontario government is teaming up with Shopify, a giant e-commerce platform based in Ottawa, to provide the technology needed in order to sell cannabis to customers of legal age.
The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC), which is a subsidiary of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), will use Shopify to supply cloud-based retail services for both on and offline sales. Customers will be able to shop for cannabis through desktop, mobile and in-store points of sale.
Merging Commerce & Technology for Legal Cannabis
Last year, Ontario announced it would have a monopoly on the cannabis market, selling the product exclusively in government-run standalone stores and online. “Our top priority is fulfilling the province’s framework for the safe and sensible retailing of recreational cannabis for when it is legalized by the federal government,” George Soleas, president & CEO, LCBO said in a statement. “We look forward to combining our expertise as a socially responsible retailer with Shopify’s world-class commerce solutions to deliver the safe, informed and reliable shopping experience that our new customers will expect.”
The e-commerce company’s technology will be used in-store to process transactions through iPads, along with digital screens that display summaries of health and product information. The platform will also be used to manage other aspects of the OCRC’s departments such as inventory, accounting and human resources.
Showcasing Innovation for the Ontario Marijuana Market
Shopify sees this opportunity as historic and a perfect way to showcase the company’s innovative technologies. “Shopify enables seamless and secure retail experiences both online and offline, across multiple sales channels and geographies,” said Loren Padelford, VP at Shopify. “Bringing this differentiator to the LCBO on this historic project to consumers of legal age across Ontario is a great example of a made-in-Canada innovation, which we are proud to be a part of.”
Cannabis Store Technology Design in Process
According to the CBC, the OCRC is still determining the design for the user experience. It intends to have everything running in time for the federal government’s proposed summer deadline for legalization, although there’s currently no set date. Along with online retail, Ontario will launch 40 marijuana stores, which will rise to 150 cannabis stores by the end of 2020.
Photo credit: David Gach