Legalization in Canada is right around the corner. And many experts are expecting online sales to represent a huge portion of the immediate retail industry. As such, there is likely to be a lot of activity on the e-commerce sites selling legal weed. But for now, the company running these e-commerce sites doesn’t seem too worried about handling the demand. That’s because they’ve already managed a retail channel that is seeing even more demand than legal weed: Kylie Cosmetics.
“Cannabis isn’t Kylie Cosmetics”
For now, e-commerce platform Shopify will be servicing much of Canada’s online weed sales. And the company is preparing to see high volumes of sales beginning October 17, when cannabis finally becomes legal.
At first glance, it might seem like a lot for one company to handle. After all, experts expect the legal cannabis market to generate $1 billion in sales in the first three months.
But so far, Shopify is confident they can handle it. More specifically, Shopify representatives said they’re feeling confident because they’ve already successfully handled a retail niche that is even hotter and more in-demand than legal weed is expected to become.
Shopify’s Vice President, Loren Padelford, told Financial Post that Shopify will be able to handle legal weed because “cannabis isn’t Kylie Cosmetics.
Kylie Cosmetics, Kylie Jenner’s cosmetics company that uses Shopify for its e-commerce, reportedly sells tens of thousands of makeup kits per minute—that’s way more volume than anybody expects legal cannabis to generate.
Now, after successfully handling the immense volume generated by Kylie Cosmetics, Shopify feels confident it can handle the volume of sales generated by legal weed.
Legal Weed Online in Canada
At this point, it looks as if online retail will play a major role in Canada’s legal cannabis market. In fact, some provinces will rely on online sales for the bulk of all retail.
Take Ontario for example. The province doesn’t plan on having any brick and mortar marijuana stores until 2019. In the meantime, the province will work to finalize arrangements for the new private retail industry.
Similarly, British Columbia will have only one brick and mortar dispensary when weed becomes legal later this month. In the meantime, the province will rely almost entirely on online sales.
There are similar dynamics at play in other provinces as well. And many places throughout Canada will rely heavily on government-managed online sales.
According to Financial Post, many of these provinces have chosen to use Shopify to handle their e-commerce sites. More specifically, Ontario, British Columbia, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island have reportedly all entered arrangements in which Shopify will handle their online sales.
To get ready for the influx of activity, Shopify has been running sites through several rounds of testing. In particular, Shopify representatives said the company has been completing mock checkouts to be sure everything works well.
At this point, online sales of cannabis should be very similar to other online purchases. The key differences include strict age verification protocols. Additionally, online cannabis sales will be required to have an educational portal with information for consumers.
Canada is requiring extra security protocols on the delivery end. For one, packages will not be left unattended at a consumer’s home. Similarly, all deliveries will require consumers to provide proof of identification and a signature.