In order to succeed, the cannabis industry needs to focus on "safety and security, consumer experience, and adaptability," according to Loren Padelford - Vice President and General Manager of Shopify, the Canadian e-commerce giant that will be handling online cannabis sales in Ontario once legalization becomes law across Canada later this summer.
"Canada has a very unique opportunity to lead in the areas of production, regulation and technology, and we believe Shopify’s expertise in retail technology will help cannabis retailers and regulators rapidly adapt to the complex needs of consumers and governments," Padelford added while chatting about the message that Shopify will bring to the 'Future of Retail' panel at the World Cannabis Congress presented by Civilized, which takes place from June 10-12, 2018 in Saint John, New Brunswick.
Check out the full interview below for Padelford's thoughts on the importance of online sales for the cannabis industry, the role Shopify and other e-commerce platforms can play in this emerging market and how Canada can shape the legalization movement beyond its borders.
What made you interested in taking part in World Cannabis Congress?
The growth of the cannabis industry is historic and presents opportunities around the world for innovation. The World Cannabis Congress gives a mix of industry and government participants the opportunity to connect and expand their relationships, which is crucial for the industry to succeed
What are you looking forward to most about the event?
Meeting with our current customers and partners as well as governments, producers and market participants from other countries. I want to better understand how the needs of markets around the world differ from what is being done in Canada. Canadian businesses are driving much of the industry forward from a production, regulation and technology perspective, and as the industry continues to expand globally we are in a great position to take on a leadership role in that development.
What do you want attendees to take away from this event?
As both the medical and recreational cannabis industries grow and begin to sell directly to consumers, understanding best practices in retail will be essential for success. Shopify is committed to providing retailers, including the new wave of cannabis retailers, with world-class expertise and technology to help ensure their success. As a result, the cannabis industry is choosing Shopify to power their online and offline retail businesses because of Shopify’s flexibility, security and experience.
What will the retail eCommerce experience look like for consumers both online and offline?
Regulated products like cannabis have to balance the need to inform and educate consumers, protect privacy, and ensure buyer safety all while creating an experience which engages consumers. This isn’t easy. Additionally, the industry is rapidly adapting to new sellers, new regulations and changing customer demands for product types and purchase experiences. Cannabis retailers will need to be highly flexible and constantly listening to their regulators and their consumers to ensure they provide the best shopping experience whether you are buying online or in store. Shopify works closely with our cannabis retail customers to help ensure they have the tools, and capabilities needed to thrive in this exciting space.
What’s the most exciting part about Canada moving toward legalization?
Canada is quickly becoming the global case study for producers, regulators and technology. Legalization will not only be an economic driver that extends beyond our borders, it provides other countries an opportunity to look at what Canada has done and leverage that experience into their own situations. Canada can export that expertise and build our reputation as a world leader in the cannabis industry.