As most of the businesses across the globe are adapting to technology and going online, consumers can access any product in the world anywhere. This has pros as well as cons. Although online shopping has made things very easy and accessible for customers, some concerns have been raised over the availability of age-restricted products including e-cigarettes, vapes, etc. to the audience. Due to these concerns, it becomes very crucial for these particular websites to have proper software put in place in order to filter out their customers
Age Verification and Nicotine Industry
The US Food and Drug Administration has been tightening up the enforcement of its regulations on the sale of nicotine products. In November of 2018, the FDA published a survey that showed that between 2017 to 2018, there was 78% increase in e-cigarette use among high school students and a 48% increase among middle school students. About 3.6 million middle and high school students use e-cigarettes now which has become nothing short of an epidemic. Due to this reason, the FDA is doubling its efforts to restrict the access of vape products for youth.
Previous Ways for Age Verification
Until recently, online age gates were considered the norm. Age gates are referred to as windows that pop up when a website is launched. The age gates typically asked the user to reply to generic questions like, “Are you of legal age to enter?” or “Please enter your date of birth.” As evident, this was quite easy for the users to circumvent. As the FDA regulations become stricter, it becomes quite necessary for online businesses to implement proper age verification technology. These services that independently verify a buyer’s age before they can place an order are becoming a new norm. Age restriction is put there for a reason and it is to protect the underage customers from potentially dangerous substances. Due to this reason, it becomes the duty of retailers to protect minors from accessing age-related products.
How is Age Verification Done?
Age Verification is a combination of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, computer vision, and machine learning to verify a person’s age. Due to these technologies, the results of the software or algorithm are almost always accurate. The process works by first capturing the ID document and then extracting the data through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. The data and documents are then verified in real-time. Due to age verification services, it becomes almost impossible for minors to use their parents’ IDs or use fake IDs to access age-restricted websites and businesses.
Why is Age Verification Important for your Business?
As concerns continue to rise about the sale of age-restricted products, so is the need for age verification software incorporated in your online business. By using age verification services for your online business, you can have the following advantages:
- You will not be subjected to any warning letter, fines or shutdowns by the government
- Your products will be considered as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for adult smokers rather than something that is posing a health threat to minors
- Age verification services will ensure the growth of your industry with the trust of your consumers
- Your business will be considered more credible and reliable
- Online age verification services can also help in alleviating the concerns of parents regarding their children’s online activity. Also, it is surely in the interest of businesses to maintain a trustworthy image of their business and to make sure they are doing their duty towards minors.