According to a Statista report in 2017, ecommerce brought in about $2.3 trillion dollars in sales and is expected to hit a whopping $4.5 trillion by the year 2021. Just in the US, ecommerce made up 10% of retail sales. And it doesn’t stop there, this figure is expected to grow up to 15% every year.
There is no doubt that that the growth of ecommerce has reached mind-boggling proportions. With all of these purchases, an incredible wealth of information about the buying habits, demographics, and click through rates of customers can be used strategically to continue to target and grow businesses.
The data also shows that more age groups are participating in online purchases, most notably, minors. And with more age-restricted websites selling their wares such as e-cigarettes, alcohol, and adult-only subscriptions, more under-aged consumers are beginning find workarounds to purchase these products.
Dimitriy Nikitin a researcher at the University of California, Irvine, tested a random selection of 120 very popular e-cigarette websites. He found that only four of these virtual stores actually prevented the sale of their e-liquids to minors. He believes that, since the e-cigarette industry in the United States is largely unregulated, few vendors feel the need to implement any kind of technological restrictions to prevent youth access.
However, this negligence can land age-restricted websites in hot water as they could eventually face legal repercussions or simply bad PR, which is never a good thing. Studies have found that teens who tried e-cigarettes are twice as likely to move on to smoking conventional cigarettes. This can eventually pose a more serious problem for online cigarette vendors who are now required to include an age verification software under the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) legislation.
Fortunately, more tech companies are working on developing age verification software. As the use and access of this software becomes more widespread, the laws will only become more stringent, pressing more age-exclusive e-commerce stores to jump on board and implement them on their websites.
Online adult-only businesses are required to have age-verification software that not only is up to date, but that also complies with state and federal regulations.
The delicate balance is not only providing the minimum software as required by law, but to also provide a seamless, consumer-friendly experience to increase sales. This, according to Matt Fields, VP of Age Check, can pose a challenge in creating such age-verification software.
Another big selling point in using a “good” age-verification software is that it can drastically reduce fraud and chargebacks, two of the most formidable opponents to any online business.
Overall, using age-verification software will benefit both the buyers and the sellers. This means underaged consumers will not have access to harmful substances than can contribute to more problems, adult buyers will be able to purchase age-exclusive products and services without any hassle, and businesses will face fewer legal backlashes, less fraud, and less chargebacks. When there is more profit, more responsible selling, and less legal issues for your business, what’s not to like?