Callcredit Blog

How do e-retailers really know the age behind the invisible consumer?

Fraud & Verification

SHOP ONLINE_shutterstock_98998358The retail space is changing rapidly and as the internet becomes increasingly more accessible to consumers the retail sector’s territory has expanded.   Although internet retailing isn’t new, it’s clear that it is growing at a considerable pace, which could pose significant challenges to e-retail websites selling age restricted goods.  Latest statistics released by the Office for National Statistics reveal that the amount spent online increased by 13.4% in June 2014 compared with June 2013.  This combined with consumers using mobile devices far more to compare prices and shop online adds to the challenges retailers face when performing business online. It has been said by IMRG that consumers on mobile devices nearly add up to the majority of visits to U.K. e-retail web sites. Mobile visits reached 48% of total visits in Q1 2014, up from 30% in Q1 2013, Capgemini and IMRG say.

This increase is only the start of things to come and with superfast broadband now the thing of the future, this could add further pressures to the already present challenge of e-retailers knowing who they are dealing with.  It is estimated superfast broadband could result in a £740 million increase in annual online spending once the roll-out across Britain is completed.

But what does this all mean for e-retailers? Especially those selling age restricted goods – how do they confidently verify the invisible consumer? Verifying age online is a hot issue for sectors such as online gaming and online retail as well as the more traditional ones such as financial services.

As an organisation we are already noticing an increase of inbound enquiries for remote age verification solutions from online retailers providing age-restricted goods.   It is becoming apparent to many e-retailers the need to have a robust solution in place, but it is a concern that with how quickly the online territory is expanding many other retailers may not be prepared or have the right solutions to prevent sales to underage customers.  Resulting in either a difficult sales process for the consumer or illegally selling goods to someone underage due to through an ineffective age verification solution that isn’t fit for purpose.

It’s only a matter of time until e-retailers are facing the same publicity as their high street counterparts and now is the time to start getting effective remote age verification systems in place.

I’d be happy to discuss this further if anyone would like to know more about online ID and age verification.

Author: Paul Kennedy

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