At a glance

  • 6 months to launch complete commerce experience
  • 4M page views in the first month
  • + 5% online sales in the first month


The New Brunswick Liquor Corporation, operating as Alcool NB Liquor (ANBL) hold responsibility for the purchase, importation, distribution, and retail activity for all beverage alcohol in the New Brunswick Province, Canada. Following the legalization of Cannabis, ANBL received the mandate to be sole seller in the province, including online and instore purchases under its subsidiary Cannabis NB.

With access to a newly formed marketplace, ANBL wanted to capture and understand their consumers profiles. This way, they could smartly recommend not only the right product and tools but give curated advice on the complete experience whilst complying with legislation.

The challenges of this mandate included an accelerated timeline and the need for strict compliance with regulations for the commercialization of cannabis. Cannabis NB was also required to provide detailed educational information about cannabis products and their effects, as part of a strong social responsibility mission.

ANBL was facing strong pressure to launch and support a complete new line of business in less than 6 months. The challenging timeline to meet imposed federal government legal deadline combined with advanced retail omni-channel requirements made it critical for us to choose the right platform and partner to achieve such an endeavour. The [Optimizely] Episerver platform combined with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail capabilities enabled us not just to meet our deadlines but also to face extreme peaks during launch.

Dwayne Chase
Director of Information Technology, Alcool NB Liquor


It was this need for a content-rich platform, in addition to a robust commerce experience, that made Optimizely Digital Experience Platform and Microsoft Dynamics 365 the right choice. ANBL selected Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations, natively integrated with Optimizely Digital Experience Platform, for its cannabis retail solution under the subsidiary Cannabis NB.

Besides the quick time-to-market, the cloud-based platform answered scalability requirements. The Digital Experience Platform infrastructure allowed ANBL to experience peaks during heavy online transactions. Its capabilities provide a seamless, user friendly operation that enables a nimble client team to operate and manage the platform.

ANBL took advantage of the platforms ability to facilitate multiple integrations to third party systems (Payment solutions, 3-PLs, suppliers for product information) equipping the retailer with the digital ecosystem needed to exceed customer needs. The Optimizely native integration with Dynamics 365 for Retail and Modern POS in the Microsoft Azure Cloud were fundamental to succeed.

The unified operation and experience approach across omnichannel was critical in providing a seamless experience for customers. ANBL were also able to manage and adhere to legislation restrictions and respect regulations easily and quickly.


The solution was built in less than 6 months, and now fully supports the province’s cannabis online and retail sales operations, including:

  • product and catalog management
  • payment and checkout
  • comprehensive educational content
  • operations management for 20 physical stores

A key part of Cannabis NB’s mandate was to understand consumer intentions and objectives when using cannabis, so it could recommend the right products and tools for the customer. Optimizely uses advanced AI to personalize content for every single visitor, a feature that could be leveraged in the future to meet this objective.

By fully complying with legislation, ANBL is helping guide consumers on the type and amount of product, point out potential side effects, and act as ambassadors for responsible cannabis use.

The platform is scalable for future needs. After launch, additional omnichannel scenarios (buy online for in-store pick up; ship to home from store; and distributed order management) are being developed to enhance customer experience.



Products used