B.C. Enlists Shopify to Run Online Cannabis Sales

As Canada nears the widespread legalization of cannabis on October 17, provinces are still trying to figure out the best ways to handle its retail.

One great way to address the problem is to look at the leading solutions providers in the country, and that’s just what B.C. has done by announcing Shopify will run the province’s e-commerce sales of cannabis. This new development comes on the heels of Ontario’s announcement this past February that Shopify would run their e-commerce and brick and mortar sales.

The online store will be managed by the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB). Shopify was selected after an intensive RFP period that saw several different e-commerce retailers apply.

Some of the main requirements Shopify has to meet include creating websites to fulfill online orders for both consumers and private retailers; the enabling of age verification on BC Cannabis Store websites; integrating warehouse management systems; and supporting a tech-driven customer care centre.

Unlike Ontario’s purely public sales system, B.C. will utilize a private/public approach to the sale of cannabis.

“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. “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.”

A 70,000 square foot distribution centre will also be built in Richmond, B.C. to accommodate the province’s online sales of cannabis.

Shopify reportedly applied to handle sales of cannabis for each province and territory but has only heard back from B.C. and Ontario as of now. The company has a vast amount of experience in e-commerce as one of Canada’s most valuable tech companies.