Please visit this page frequently. We will update with information from the provincial government as it becomes available. – March 22, 2020
As Canadian health officials urge social distancing amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, cannabis retailers face an uncertain future. Tuesday, Prime Minister Trudeau warned citizens to stay home and forego non-essential trips. If authorities mandate a partial quarantine, unprepared retailers stand to lose millions of dollars. Worse still, consumers could be deprived of essential medicines. Suffice it to say, there has never been a better time to rethink how cannabis is bought and sold.
Why Start an Online Ordering Program for Your Cannabis Retail Store?
Overall, sales are up, and the outlook is hopeful for flexible retailers who can adapt quickly to the pandemic changes. Canadian retailer Spiritleaf, for instance, reported a 20% bump in sales over the weekend of March 14th and a doubling of the average purchase amount.
Normally you’d want your customers to be mingling, connecting with staff, and looking over your wares. But now, your medically vulnerable customers are at high risk for infection when they shop with recreational users who may not follow social distancing recommendations.
So how do you get products into customers’ hands without (much) physical interaction? Start a click-and-collect program with online ordering! Booting up a click-and-collect program is easier than you may think and could literally be a lifesaver. Certainly, digital ordering stands to stabilize your revenue in the months to come.
Read on to learn how you can start your online ordering program for cannabis retailers.
Is Click-and-Collect Ordering Permitted in Your Province?
The provinces listed below allow private retailers to use online ordering or delivery. Make sure to check your municipal requirements, too.
|Ontario||Yes||Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) Only|
|Quebec||Provincial Store Only||Provincial Store Only|
|British Colombia||Yes (New!!!)||Provincial Store Only|
|Nova Scotia||Provincial Store Only||Provincial Store Only|
|New Brunswick||Provincial Store Only||Provincial Store Only|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||Provincial Store Only||Provincial Store Only|
|Prince Edward Island||Provincial Store Only||Provincial Store Only|
Step 1: Set Up a Cova Click-and-Collect Service (in 48 Hours or Less)
Starting a click-and-collect system with Cova is easy. Cova is fully integrated with online-ordering apps such as Dutchie and Leafly, and based on the solutions you are going with, the integration can be turned on within a few minutes. However, due to high demand at the moment, please expect 24-36 hours turnaround time. Dutchie is currently offering any Cova customers an exclusive promotion with one month free and $199/month after.
Step 2: Develop a Plan
Changing the way you operate your business is not an easy task, but it can be done. There are different models that other cannabis stores have already implemented. Check out dozens of examples on Leafly for ideas.
Create Fast Lane or Pick Up Area
You’ll need a designated space for online order pickup, ideally one in front of the store. This area must meet the same security and partitioning requirements as your normal retail setting. Your pickup spot may take the form of a sequestered check-in desk with fulfilled orders behind a secured counter. Or, if a partitioned area isn’t possible, you can designate an “express” register for click-and-collect checkout.
Consider curbside pickup
With curbside pickup, vulnerable patients don’t need to leave their vehicles. Even better, they can order from their mobile devices right there in the parking lot. However, this model requires the ability to verify identification electronically outside of your store. If you can come up with a creative solution that works with your local regulations, you can use the Cova mobile POS to check-in and make a payment outside of your store.
Stack your security team before fleshing out this plan and check with your municipal regulators to see if curbside pickup is permitted. Permitting may be next to impossible because of the regulatory backlog triggered by COVID-19.
Respect the health of all stakeholders
In light of recent events, sanitation and isolation are priorities. Protect your employees and customers with the following equipment:
- Touchscreen-friendly gloves for employees
- Alcohol swabs for any surface customers touch at the POS
- Hand sanitizer
Review operating procedures
Isolating a click-and-connect area will require a change to your workflow and documentation procedures. At least a few employees will be dedicated to fulfilling online orders and assembling them in the pickup location. If you’re attempting a curbside pickup system, your SOPs will need to coordinate exit and entry for employees and a mobile alert when customers arrive.
To maintain health, implement a no-touch ID verification policy, not only at your express register but storewide. And instruct employees who are sick to stay home.
Step 3: Publicize
Once your click-and-collect system is operational, shout it from the rooftops.
- Make sure employees suggest the service to customers
- Push the info to your loyalty program members
- Post the click-and-collect option on your homepage
- Share the news on social media and encourage your customers to do the same
Ready to Get Started? Please Feel Free to Submit the Request Here.
Right now, we’re offering a one-month free trial of our click-and-collect feature. After the trial, adding this important service to your business costs just $199/month. Talk to your representative today.