RETAIL & B2C

Cannabis Yukon

How a flexible architecture helped the Government of Yukon safely and securely manage their customer data within a strict regulatory framework for online cannabis sales.

Project highlights


Third-party integrations
for shipping &
fulfillment

Custom functionality
to meet federal  
regulations

Open source
flexibility &
scalability

Cannabis Yukon logo

Retail & B2C businesses need flexible platforms and customer experiences to be competitive in the marketplace.

Retail and B2C businesses are focused on:

  • Secure platforms for storing and leveraging customer information.
  • Integrating ecommerce and brick-and-mortar operational systems for automation and inventory control purposes.
  • Enabling personalization to deliver better, seamless customer experiences, while upselling and cross-selling in the process.
  • Developing scalable strategies that need to be backed by a flexible digital solution.

Our work with Cannabis Yukon highlights the level of security and customization that a Drupal-backed solution can provide along with the flexibility for exquisite customer journeys to match the in-store experience. The end customer shouldn’t have to sacrifice the user journey or experience due to a regulated product or industry. Providing a guided buying experience is key to allowing customers to research and purchase along the way without interruption.

Cananbis Yukon case study

Background

Cannabis sales online require strict security and privacy controls and a flexible ecommerce platform that integrates with brick and mortar systems.

The legalization of cannabis in Canada required provincial governments across the country to provide their residents with access to cannabis products through an online store, in addition to physical stores. 

Considering the nature of this business and being that it is government-run, security and privacy for their customers were of the utmost importance. The Government of Yukon required a solution that allowed full control of their customer data and a flexible ecommerce platform that seamlessly integrates with third-party vendors while following strict restrictions and regulations enforced by the Federal Government.

With the pressure to launch on legalization day, and their determination to not be constrained by costly SaaS platforms, and avoid revenue sharing with the platforms available, the Government of Yukon proceeded with an open-source ecommerce solution to take control of both their customer’s data and their profits.

Objective

The Government of Yukon had specific digital objectives.

The importance of this ecommerce solution was heightened as most of their customers live in remote locations with no access to a physical store. The government-run online store would be the only option for those customers wishing to purchase cannabis products.

Government of Yukon required:

  • A dedicated development team to successfully launch on legalization day.
  • A service provider who knows open-source development, ecommerce, and all the intricacies that come along with both.
  • A secure, agile and flexible platform they could customize and adapt within a potentially changing regulatory framework.
  • Full control of their customer data and orders to respect and safeguard their privacy.
  • Integration with the federally regulated shipping provider, Canada Post.
  • Custom functionality to meet maximum purchase regulations, age restrictions, and advertising restrictions enforced by the Federal Government.
  • A cost-effective solution to ensure tax-payer money was being spent effectively.

The challenge was designing a solution that provided a world-class ecommerce experience that met the strict regulations and restrictions presented by the federal government.

Solution

Cooperatively design a state-of-the-art open source ecommerce solution through Acro Media’s Agile development team.

We’re big fans of transparency and accountability, which is why we think it’s important to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure they get a feel for what we do and how we actually do it.

This process involves:

  • Uncovering and accommodating the requirements of all stakeholders.
  • Visually diagraming the digital workflow and server architecture.
  • Identifying the purpose of individual modules: which would be used, which needed to be custom-built.
  • Providing a detailed UX and technical blueprint.
  • Quality assurance and functionality checks by internal and external teams.

To build the complete solution that the Yukon government needed, we used the following functionality in the Drupal Commerce platform:

  • Adhere to the Cannabis Act — Introduce a data security solution that is PCI and PII compliant.
  • Allow anonymous checkout features to respect Canadians' right to privacy.
  • “Age-gate” implementation to deny access and restrict exposure for individuals under the age of 19.

To improve the existing functionality, we also installed the following modules:

  • Commerce Canada Post — API integration with Canada Post providing real-time shipping quotes, tracking, information, etc.
  • Custom Commerce Equivalency Weight module — Created to follow the federally imposed restriction limits for the amount of cannabis that an individual can purchase.
    For orders over the legal purchase threshold of 30 grams, checkout becomes disabled, and various elements (both visual and message-based) are used to let the customers know why.

Outcome

Open-source ecommerce provided an effective, responsive and flexible system that created a seamless user experience that met government standards and was delivered on time.

This open-source commerce solution gave the Government of Yukon:

  • Full control of their customer data and purchases.
  • Anonymous checkout feature to respect Canadians right to privacy.
  • API integration with Canada Post providing real-time shipping quotes, tracking, information, etc.
  • “Age-gate” implementation to deny access and restrict exposure for individuals under the age of 19. 
  • Adherence to all federally mandated regulations and restrictions in regards to online sales of a controlled substance.
  • Cost-effective solution for their constituents.

Project statistics

As launch day approached this open-source architecture was put to the test


On this single day, 736 visitors accessed and purchased products online.

Sales combining online and in-store totalled $59,900, with roughly 25% of sales happening online through the Cannabis Yukon website.  

The average online order was $120, while the average in-store transaction was $73.

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