Online sales in every industry are booming. This ecommerce opportunity is also a challenge for those selling age-restricted goods such as alcohol, tobacco, firearms, vaping products, and more. Businesses remain responsible for preventing sales to underage buyers even when purchases are made online. However, not being able to see their customers in person complicates effective age verification.
Increasingly, companies are turning to age verification software for online sales. This isn’t simply because of more stringent requirements to prevent online sales to minors in a variety of industries, although that factors into the overall picture. In addition, businesses are finding that the latest online age verification solutions such as AgeChecker.net are boosting their bottom line by facilitating legitimate sales, reducing fraud, and improving delivery rates. Here are some of the reasons you can expect to see a growing use of age verification online.
The Advance of Technology
One of the things that has made age verification for online sales more viable for businesses of all sizes is the vast improvement of the technology. In the past, companies may have been reluctant to adopt age verification software because the existing options weren’t robust enough to provide reliable solutions, required a lengthy process that discouraged customers from completing orders, or weren’t easy to use or adapt to their particular industry.
The features of today’s age verification go far beyond a simple age gate that asks a user to self-attest they’re of legal age. Now verification can be seamlessly integrated into checkout, cross-referencing against outside public record sources to confirm a potential client’s identity within seconds. Systems can be customized to require age verification before registration or at point of sale, to apply different requirements to sales coming from different areas to comply with varying regulations, or even to block sales from certain regions altogether. Ready-made integrations and templates set up for different industries make it easy to get verification up and running quickly. Companies selling a mix of age-restricted and non-age-restricted products can enable the process only for purchases requiring it.
As the technology has gotten easier to use for businesses of all sizes, age verification software has allowed them to expand online sales of age-restricted products with confidence. Ongoing innovation should only continue this trend.
Changing Regulations and Increased Scrutiny
Staying on the right side of the law when you sell age-restricted products online is not an easy task. In the past several years, many key laws have changed, and even in industries where standards seem to be uniform (as with alcohol sales), state and local laws may also come into play in determining what constitutes a legal transaction. Moreover, enforcement is becoming stricter, making the consequences for unauthorized sales more costly.
Among recent changes have been the establishment of 21 years of age for the legal use of tobacco across the entire U.S. and restrictions on flavored vape products seen as contributing to a teen vaping epidemic. More importantly, federal and state enforcement has increased, sending the signal that illegal sales won’t be tolerated. Depending on the industry, businesses may need to demonstrate the use of a third-party age verification process to stay in compliance with legal requirements. In others, they may simply want the peace of mind that a running verification log will provide in demonstrating their ongoing efforts to ensure only legal transactions are completed in the case of an audit. Either way, age verification software simplifies the process of staying on top of changing laws and demonstrates that your company is making a good-faith effort to avoid underage sales.
Fraud can be a costly problem for companies selling age-restricted products. When a fraudulent transaction goes through only to be discovered later, the vendor inevitably loses money—from processing fees to reverse charges, credit card chargebacks from disputed payments, lost shipping payments for undeliverable orders, wasted staff time, and possibly even fines for underage use. A robust online age verification system can limit the possibility of those fraudulent sales going through in the first place, avoiding these potential consequences.
Age verification software can also add extra layers of protection against fraud, by enabling you to block purchases from buyers and/or IP addresses that have been previously associated with fraud. It’s also possible to set up your system to work with fraud filters that compare order information against merchant blacklists of known fraudulent accounts. All these features reduce the risk to your business while keeping the age verification process user-friendly for legitimate buyers.
Improved Delivery Rates
Some age-restricted products require a signature upon delivery—if the receiver is discovered to be underage and the purchase can’t be delivered, then the merchant is on the hook to refund the payment, as well as being out the delivery charge and the associated time involved in packing and shipping the order. When age verification software is used to verify identity before the order is completed, that situation is far less likely to occur. Age verification software can also be set to require re-verification if a customer changes their billing or shipping information. Because the process is so fast, this can be done without inconveniencing your customers or putting an added burden on your staff. You’ll have fewer undeliverable packages without increased effort.
The Value of Age Verification Software
The requirements on age-restricted industries are growing while more and more sales are being completed online. Reliable, well-designed age verification software allows companies to meet their legal obligations and protect themselves without discouraging sales to eligible customers. AgeChecker.net combines a robust verification process with a user-friendly experience for both owner and customer. In addition, we continually innovate on behalf of our clients to enhance the features and implementation of our service. You know your business best—our customers’ suggestions are invaluable for driving improvement.
To find out more about how AgeChecker.net can keep your company ahead of the regulatory curve while saving you time and money, email us at [email protected] or call 1-888-276-2303.