Today in retail: Lift & Co. launches Cannabis Concierge, Biome Grow acquires Weed VR

Over the past few weeks, several companies in the retail space have made announcements launching new features and announcing acquisitions. Here’s the latest on these company updates.

Shopify launches Shopify Ping to help merchants manage tasks

Shopify announced that its mobile chat app Shopify Ping will now be available to all Shopify’s merchants for free.

With Shopify Ping, merchants will have the ability to manage their tasks and communication through a messaging app. Instead of having to use multiple apps to communicate with or email customers, the app will consolidate messages from other apps into a single platform to help merchants manage their conversations and respond in real time.

Shopify Ping will also feature Shopify’s virtual assistant, Kit, which helps merchants plan, create, and manage marketing activities through a conversational platform. Shopify Ping’s current integration partners include Facebook Messenger, Rep.ai, and Chatkit.

“Shopify merchants are conducting many business conversations across multiple apps every day, not only to run their day-to-day operations but also to manage customer inquiries. Shopify Ping was created to make all of this easier to manage,” said Michael Perry, director of product at Shopify. “It’s a one-stop messaging app that lets them spend more time on what matters most – running their businesses seamlessly and deepening customer relationships.”

Endy is opening a distribution centre in Western Canada

Toronto-based Endy, which sells mattresses online, has announced that it is opening a new distribution centre in Langley, British Columbia this summer.

Endy’s new distribution centre will serve customers in Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Saskatchewan, operating in tandem with the company’s existing distribution centre in Ontario. The company’s goal is to reduce shipping times by half in Western Canada by shipping to addresses in three days or less.

“We are excited to announce the opening of our Western Canada distribution centre, which will enable us to deliver even faster on our promise of a better sleep for all Canadians,” said Mike Gettis, CEO of Endy. “Having been born and raised in Calgary, I know how frustrating it can be to wait for a delivery to arrive out west. This investment will ensure our customer experience is exceptional across the country, from first click to delivery, and marks a major milestone in our evolution from a startup to a truly national brand.”

Biome Grow set to acquire Weed Virtual Retail

Biome Grow, a Canadian licensed cannabis producer, is set to acquire Toronto-based Weed Virtual Retail (Weed VR), a virtual reality tech platform focused on the medical and recreational cannabis markets. Biome Grow is acquiring Weed VR from Occupied VR, which focuses on developing VR solutions.

Weed VR has developed a virtual catalog system that aims to educate and inform consumer cannabis purchases. Biome Grow said it will launch the Weed VR beta with the goal of providing consumers with comprehensive product knowledge, and helping them make informed cannabis purchases. Biome and Weed VR expect to launch the platform in jurisdictions where it is permissible.

“Weed VR launched on 4/20/2017 and was immediately recognized as a company with the potential to revolutionize the sales process,” said Fezz Stenton, technical director of Weed VR. “We’re very excited to have found the right partner in Biome to build and shape the educational and retail experience and the technological future of the cannabis industry. This is really just the beginning of a new virtual retail market.”

Lift & Co. launches Cannabis Concierge

Toronto-based Lift & Co., which provides a community for medical marijuana users to compare and share their experiences, has announced the launch of Cannabis Concierge.

Cannabis Concierge is a tablet-based solution that allows cannabis retailers to provide better education and recommendations to consumers. Through the platform, retailers and consumers can filter through to find products based on desired effects and comfort levels with cannabis.

Lift & Co. said recommendations through the Cannabis Concierge are powered by Lift & Co.’s database of over 60,000 reviews and data points on product effects, quality, duration, and method of use. The Cannabis Concierge analyzes Lift & Co.’s database of brands and product reviews in real-time, while also updating as new products come to market.

“Since 2014, Lift & Co. has empowered legal cannabis consumers to make informed purchase decisions through what is now the world’s largest review platform of federally-legal cannabis products,” said Matei Olaru, CEO of Lift & Co. “Today, this database powers a game-changing solution for cannabis retail and consumer pain points.”

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer and content creator at BetaKit with a strong interest in Canadian startup, business, and legal tech news. In her free time, Amira indulges in baking desserts, working out, and watching legal shows.