What is OCS Flow-Through?
The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) Flow-Through program changes the way that cannabis is bought and sold by retailers in Ontario. Flow-Through listings are not stocked by the OCS, but instead “flow through” their warehouse on a made-to-order, demand basis. Just like general listing orders, retailers place Flow-Through orders through the OCS Wholesale retailer portal.
What are the Benefits of OCS Flow-Through?
The new Flow-Through program was introduced for a variety of reasons, bringing with it some new changes and benefits for retailers, producers, and consumers alike. Some of the benefits of Flow-Through include:
- More Product Diversity
The OCS has accepted a wider range of SKUs under this new “Flow Through” program. That means a larger selection of more diverse products for retailers to sell to consumers.
- More Opportunities for Craft Brands to enter Ontario
More products will be accepted from a larger number of brands and producers, helping newer and smaller craft brands enter Canada’s largest market.
- Retail Store Differentiation
This change allows retail stores to stock a wider variety of products that will not be available to consumers through the OCS.ca online portal. This allows stores to begin to differentiate from both the provincial wholesaler and other competing retailers.
- Exclusive Listings
Brands such as Ghost Drops’ newest line-up, including strains like Donny Burger and Banana Envy, are currently available to Ontario retailers exclusively via Flow-Through and not general listings.
How Does Flow-Through Work?
Flow-Through follows a different schedule than general listing orders. Retailers can order product on their regularly scheduled ordering dates, however, there is usually a 17-19-day period between the order day and the date of delivery at the retail store.
Order Week: Tuesday to Monday retailers order product via Flow-Through.
Manufacture Week: Tuesday to Monday the OCS cuts purchase orders and LPs manufacture, package, and ship product to the OCS warehouse.
Delivery Week: OCS ships product and retailers receive on allotted delivery date.
Best Practices for Flow-Through
We suggest that retail stores place weekly Flow-Through orders so that they begin to receive Flow-Through orders on a weekly basis. This way, retailers won’t run out of stock of their customer’s favourite brands and products.
As a retailer, make sure you’re subscribed to your favourite brand’s email newsletter and follow them on social media to learn about the latest Flow-Through and rotational releases. Some brands have created additional resources like Ghost Drops’ Rotational SKU Schedule that allows retailers to subscribe for up-to-date weekly calendar notifications on the brand’s Flow-Through drops.
This new Flow-Through program sets the stage for more direct relationships and communications between brands and retailers. The OCS Flow-Through program and the Canadian cannabis industry will continue to evolve as time goes on.