Article by Jim Moodie, Sudbury Star
Pot stores, like many other retailers, are open again to walk-in traffic, but many customers are still leery of in-person shopping or, lacking their own vehicle, aren’t quite ready to board a bus.
With that in mind, the Highlife store at Silver Hills is now offering delivery to your doorstep.
“It’s something we considered before but we were afraid to do it because of, number one, COVID, and two, security issues,” said store manager Eugene Konarev. “But moving ahead with the province, this became almost the standard.”
Konarev said most cannabis shops in Ottawa and Toronto now have delivery options and he has spoken to many of those operators to see how it is going for them and what systems have worked best.
“We figured some of our concerns were not as warranted so we’ve gone ahead and launched delivery as of today (Wednesday),” he said.
Marijuana retailers are required by legislation to use their own staff for deliveries, said Konarev, so a third-party service isn’t an option, but he feels this is preferable anyway.
“I understand why the decision was made to use a staff member, because if you use a third party you will probably offload the majority of your margin to another company that doesn’t have the licence,” he said. “It makes sense economically and based on responsibility.”
Customers can arrange for deliveries by ordering online and choosing this option when checking out.
“With delivery, there’s an extra step where we require an upload of photo ID just to make sure the person is over 19, and to match the payment to the ID for fraud prevention,” Konarev said.
The plan right now is to have two or three delivery windows per day, he said, with a promise that the product will be received within three hours.
“If somebody orders by 10 a.m., for example, they can get it by 1 p.m.,” he said.
As time goes on, however, Konarev expects deliveries could be made more swiftly. “There are some ideas in place already on how to provide express delivery if the person is in a rush,” he said.
There is, of course, an extra cost to having your purchase driven to your home.
The minimum charge for delivery is $40, the manager said, and for any order under $50 there is an additional fee of $10. The fee for orders between $50 and $100 is $6. Delivery charges will be waived, however, for any order over $100.
That pricing structure could evolve, too, said Konarev, depending on how much interest there is in the option and how the economics pan out.
“I think we’re prepared to handle a nice volume of delivery orders,” Konarev said. “Even today, after launching, we’ve received a substantial number of orders.”
Customers can also choose to pick up their orders curbside at the store, or simply walk inside again.
Konarev said he appreciates people wanting to limit their exposure to other shoppers and staff, but he is also confident that steps taken to enforce distancing and hygiene will make any on-premises purchase safe.