The Ontario government is playing catch-up to a flourishing industry that already caters to people who shop online for groceries and alcohol and have it delivered to their home.
It’s part of what the LCBO says is its strategy to “reach consumers in new ways.”
The 2016 provincial budget, which was tabled on Thursday, revealed the government wants to further modernize the LCBO by allowing consumers to order alcoholic products on its website and have them delivered to their front door.
Under the new LCBO E-Commerce Platform, the province hopes to create an “open marketplace” for suppliers and consumers, allowing alcohol producers and suppliers from Canada and around the world to list their products for sale on the LCBO website.
“It will provide consumers with access to a wider variety of products, as well as the flexibility to order online and pick up products in store or have them delivered to their home,” the budget reads.
The province says additional details will be unveiled in the coming months, but hopes to have it up and running by mid-2016.
Christine Bujold, a spokesperson with the LCBO, says specific dates and details on the program are not yet available as the program is still being worked on.
“The program is currently in the development and testing stage, and as such it is premature to discuss details of the program. We look forward to announcing this exciting initiative later this year,” Bujold states in an email to CityNews.
Online and mobile consumers can either pick up the items for free in-store or pay the shipping charges to have it delivered to their homes within two to three days. The products could take up to 12 days to arrive in the store.
Currently, there are alcohol delivery services in Ontario such as Urbery and Winery to Home. However, blogTO reports the ability to buy directly from the LCBO may appeal to consumers who are looking for hard-to-find vintages.
But, how does the province ensure the products are not being delivered to minors? According to the e-commerce document, Canada Post will “support our social responsibility mandate to check ID for anyone 25 years or younger, and will not deliver to a suspected intoxicated person.”
According to Queen’s Park, the LCBO has already made “significant progress” in modernizing its operations, including:
- Launching a pilot program to sell 12-packs of beer at 10 LCBO stores
- Introducing specialty stores that feature beverage alcohol products from around the world
- Rolling out new Craft Beer Zones to 25 LCBO locations
The Ontario government is also slowly catching up with other regions when it comes to the sale of spirits. Earlier this month, Premier Kathleen Wynne said that wine, beer and cider will be sold in up to 300 Ontario grocery stores by 2025.
An initial block of 70 licences will be allocated to grocery stores this summer, with a plan to have them operational in the fall.
Right now, there are 292 retail wine stores operating separately in grocery stores, and up to 150 of those could be converted to beer and wine outlets inside the stores with a shared checkout.
With files from The Canadian Press