By Carlo Versano
Canadian e-commerce platform Shopify is ready to reap some of the rewards of Canada's nascent legal pot industry, which came online Wednesday morning.
Shopify ($SHOP) is powering many of the online stores that are sprouting up across the country to capture the new business. Loren Padelford, the company's vice president and general manager, spent Wednesday morning monitoring the cannabis transactions taking place on Canadian Shopify-powered sites and told Cheddar the demand was outpacing even his company's most bullish forecasts.
Padelford said there had been 1 million visitors to Shopify sites in the first 12 hours of legalization, and 100,000 orders were placed by midday. He said the traffic and sales volumes are approaching a level Shopify usually sees on Black Friday.
"We knew it would be big, but it's coming in a little hotter than even we expected."
Still, in many ways, Shopify was well-suited for a day like Wednesday.
The Ontario-based company was familiar with the laws and regulations that vary province to province. And it made its bones hosting and processing some of the biggest e-commerce "drops" in history, including Kylie Jenner's "lip kit" releases that built the celeb's cosmetics venture into an $800 million online juggernaut.
"Our job is to support retailers of all sizes," said Padelford, though small businesses are "our bread and butter." He called the cannabis market a natural extension of Shopify's core business: helping entrepreneurs connect and engage with their customer base.
Shopify will change along with developments in the newborn industry, Padelford said. More stores will come online in the weeks and months ahead and provincial laws will surely evolve, too.
"Legalization is a day, but it's also a process," Padelford said. "It's only going to get bigger from here."
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