Shopify, a 12-year-old Canadian e-commerce company, signed a contract with the government of Ontario that could be a game-changer for the cannabis industry. The provincial government selected Shopify’s retail platform for cannabis sales online and in brick-and-mortar locations, becoming the region’s sole distributor of legal recreational marijuana.
The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation, a subsidiary of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, agreed to use the Ottowa-based firm’s software. “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,” said George Soleas, president and CEO of the LCBO.
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“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,” Soleas added. Roughly 40 recreational cannabis stores in Ontario are expected to open their doors this year, and the number of physical stores is forecast to reach 150 in two years.
According to the website IT World Canada:
Shopify will connect to OCRC’s head office systems and allow for shopping across desktop, mobile and in-store sales. The actual design for the in-store and online user experience is yet to be determined. The OCRC and Shopify are working together to combine Shopify’s commerce solutions. The screens will include product and health information, which will fall in line with federal guidelines and marketing provisions once legislation passes. In-store POS systems will work through iPad hardware.
Canada is expected to have nationwide recreational retail sales of marijuana by July 1. According to most estimates, the country will hit $4.5 billion in retail sales in three years.
Ontario is the nation’s most populous province and second largest by total area. Roughly 40 percent of all Canadians reside in the province. Ontario is home to Canada’s capital city, Ottowa, and the nation’s most-populous city, Toronto.
Shopify is a cloud-based, multi-channel commerce platform designed for small and medium-sized businesses. Retailers can use the software to design, set up, and manage their stores across multiple sales channels, including web, mobile, social media, marketplaces, brick-and-mortar locations, and pop-up shops. Headquartered in Ottawa, Shopify currently has contracts with large brands such as Red Bull and Nestle.