Retail Guardian, which launched in May, was initially designed to enable shop owners to monitor the behaviour and productivity of staff via time-keeping, time management and payroll tools. However, developments of the software will now see it help retailers to verify the identification and age of customers using fingerprint technology.
The system works by offering retailers the chance to scan and log the fingerprints of customers who have previously proven their age in the store, using a passport or drivers licence. The next time the customer is in the store, they can quickly and easily swipe their fingerprint on a piece of biometric scanning equipment, which highlights to the retailer that the customer is above the legal age to buy alcohol, tobacco or other age restricted products.
The system also works to alert retailers to customers who have previously been refused the sale of age restricted products. The data stored is fully protected, and only shared with the store staff.
Tony Allen, managing director of Under Age Sales, said: “Retailers are required to take all reasonable precautions to avoid the sale of age restricted products to children and young people. Sometimes, simply asking for proof of age isn’t effective, so it’s great news for the industry that we have the advanced technology of Retail Guardian available to assist retailers in their due diligence.
“Anything which makes it easier for retailers to be sure they’re protecting minors from coming into contact with age restricted products is warmly welcomed, and as such we anticipate this new arm of the Retail Guardian software to be a huge success.”
Bharat Popat, owner of Oval Food, Wines and Spirits in Sidcup, was introduced to Retail Guardian by Under Age Sales and uses the fingerprint recognition software to verify the age of its customers.
He said: “We have a relatively young clientele, aged between 16 and 35 typically. We enforce Challenge 25 but that isn’t always effective as often, people forget their ID and become frustrated when they’ve bought our products so many times in the past. Alternatively, they might have shown their ID to one member of staff several times, but not another, who doesn’t recognise them.
“Installing Retail Guardian has made our training more effective, and means we can protect ourselves from the risk of being fined, should we ever inadvertently sell alcohol or tobacco to under age customers. For a small, independent business like ours, Retail Guardian is a significant help.”
Ian Woolfenden, managing director of Retail Guardian, said: “Having previously used Retail Guardian to help solve common rota and staff management issues for retailers, we very quickly realised there was potential to use the software to help improve compliance, increase efficiency and aid retailers in meeting industry legislation.
“We’re enjoying seeing how effective Retail Guardian is for retailers such as Oval Food, Wines and Spirits. We‘ll continue working with retailers, investing time in listening to their needs and creating solutions for their problems, to ensure Retail Guardian becomes as essential running a store as EPOS systems.”
Retailers who want advice and guidance on the law around age restricted products and training, and who wish to learn more about Retail Guardian, should visit www.underagesales.co.uk.