A Toronto-based alcohol delivery app is getting into the weed business, and has chosen Manitoba to launch its upcoming cannabis delivery app.
Boozer Inc.'s eponymous Boozer smartphone app currently operates in Toronto and Vancouver, where consumers can use it to order alcohol from retailers and breweries for delivery. The company doesn't deliver those libations itself, explains president Ian Delves, but partners with courier services that comply with local alcohol regulations. Consumers pay the courier's delivery fees — currently $10 for alcohol deliveries in Toronto and $7 in the more competitive Vancouver market — and Boozer takes a commission from the retailer.
Now, Boozer's new subsidiary Super Anytime Inc. plans to apply that same business model to cannabis with a weed delivery app called Super, scheduled to launch in Manitoba in late August or early September. (Tagline: "Better than your dealer.")
Delves says Manitoba's cannabis regulations, which permit online cannabis sales by private retailers, make the province a good choice to start. (Larger provinces like Alberta and Ontario permit privately-operated bricks-and-mortar cannabis stores, but limit online sales exclusively to provincially-owned cannabis retailers.)
Boozer has been in discussions with the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba, which regulates retail sales of non-medical cannabis in the province. In a statement, an LGCA spokesperson said third-party cannabis sales apps "were not considered when (provincial) legislation and regulations were drafted," and that the rules for licensed cannabis stores in Manitoba "neither prohibit nor condone the use of third-party apps." In an April notice sent to Manitoba cannabis retailers, the regulator told licensees that an app that's "simply a 'connector' to the licensed (cannabis) store with no participation in the business transaction" probably wouldn't violate the regulations.
Delves says his company has signed a letter of intent with Pineapple Express Delivery Inc., which already offers deliveries from multiple licensed cannabis stores in Manitoba, and is currently in discussions for letters of intent with three unspecified Manitoba cannabis retailers. For those stores, Delves says the business case for a delivery app involves expanding the market.
"In this framework, the retailers can only market to so many people, they have this audience that they're blasting again and again and again with the same promotions, same products, same offers," says Delves.Advertisement
"And by the same token, the delivery guys, they don't really have any control on how many orders they get either. So there's kind of a bottleneck there when it comes to identifying and marketing to audiences, especially new audiences... We can really provide those marketing insights, we can provide the new audiences that come in, and we can also provide best-in-class marketing tactics and opportunities and capabilities."
Delves acknowledges that online cannabis sales in Manitoba have been tepid so far: earlier this year, provincial cannabis wholesaler Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries said online sales comprised only about four per cent of all legal recreational cannabis sales in Manitoba between November 2018 and mid-March.
"We view (ourselves) as a way to kick-start those online sales, and ultimately make online shopping and delivery on demand more viable in the long term," says Delves.