This article was first published on Blog – Civic Technologies, Inc.
Companies that sell age-restricted products inherently have a heavy weight on their shoulders. Whether you’re a corporation or a small business, age-restricted products introduce unique challenges. You’re responsible for marketing and selling a product that is restricted for some demographics to consume, or even view. Accordingly, these businesses have to meet federal and state laws and regulations, and many businesses take it upon themselves to promote responsible and safe use of their products to protect their reputation.
Many of these age-restricted products are now available online, which has introduced additional challenges. Businesses are required to verify that their customers are of legal age to view products online, and this is often met with inefficient authentication. For example, to view alcohol websites, browsers must be over 21. Yet, if a business requires a consumer to create an account to prove that they are over 21, there are two potential problems. First, they are collecting and storing more information than required. They don’t need a consumer’s name or address or ID number; they just need to ensure that the consumer is of legal age. Or, by creating an account and entering a birthdate, the company is just trusting the consumer’s assertion that they are over 21. It’s not hard to imagine someone that’s underage would enter a fake birthdate to view the restricted content. As a result, businesses with age-gated products default to simply relying on self-attestation using a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ button to unlock that gated content.
This age verification challenge impacts companies’ abilities to sell their product in the fastest growing retail market available, the Internet. In 2015, a Forrester Research survey indicated that smartphone sales accounted for 15 percent of total annual retail sales. Since then, that number has grown to an astounding 53 percent—a $115 billion-dollar market. But ...
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Blog – Civic Technologies, Inc.