Beyond Checking IDs

Learn about the new NACS age-verification program to help retailers safely sell age-restricted products. 

November 04, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—About 51% of transactions at convenience stores involve an age-restricted product, and concern continues to rise about how these products end up in the hands of minors. With 90% of Americans in a national poll agreeing that there should be a nationwide standard for age verification, NACS and Conexxus have developed a new age-verification program.

“Our industry has prided itself on selling legal products, and NACS has a long history of supporting age-verification through the We Card program, which has done a fantastic job of driving underage availability of tobacco products to less than 10%,” said Gray Taylor, executive director of Conexxus, on this week’s episode of Convenience Matters, “May I See Your ID?

While some retailers struggle with consistently checking IDs for age-restricted products, the larger question nowadays is social selling and social availability. “This is when somebody of age comes in and buys a product, and then distributes it through a high school, etc.,” Taylor said. “We wanted to take the 10% of underage availability in our stores and drive it through digital means to as close to zero as we could and remove underage availability as an excuse to target convenience stores or any other retailer selling age-restricted products.”

NACS and Conexxus developed a program that would allow retailers to track and trace the sale of such items through their point-of-sale systems. “We saw an opportunity to come out with an holistic standard … that would position the industry on a very cost-effective basis to comply with the standards set by the manufacturers and also comply with a very clean and highly resilient way of age verification at POS,” Taylor said.

The program, which NACS is offering free to both retailers and POS manufacturers, utilizes the POS computing power to calculate age and validate IDs, as well as to track purchases. “It’s a simple program,” said Bill Deichler, NACS age verification program coordinator. “It integrates into the base code of a POS system.” Currently, around 10% of the industry has expressed interest in the program.

Hear more about how this program could help retailers keep age-restricted products out of the hands of minors by listening to the entire episode here. Each week a new Convenience Matters episode is released. With more than 200 episodes to choose from, the podcast can be heard on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play and other podcast apps and YouTube and at www.conveniencematters.com. Episodes have been downloaded more than 130,000 times by listeners around the world.

And on Thursday, at 1:30 p.m. EST, don’t miss the education session “Age Verification in the Digital Age,” presented by Conexxus at the NACS Crack the Code Experience. There’s still time to register for this session and the entire Crack the Code Experience, which launched Monday and runs through December 4.

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