Don’t ever sell to under age customers

Certain businesses within the retail industry must be very careful about who they sell their products to. Retailers that own liquor stores or sell tobacco products must be sure to always do age verification to be sure the customer is of age. And now with the evolution of vapor products, vape smoke shop retailers must also be careful who they sell to. In some states in the United States, retailers must also ID for marijuana sales. This is a bit more difficult to accomplish for online, or “e-smoke shops” as it is easier for minors to bypass online age verification.

Retailers in these heavily regulated industries must pay close attention customer verification, however, because if they are caught selling to under age minors, the negative consequences for their business are huge. This can include hefty fines and even suspension of their ability to sell tobacco or alcohol products. And there are plenty of organizations looking to catch lax retailers. Take for example the PHMC, a non-profit for public health. They run a program that actually hires underage teenagers to purchase cigarettes in order to catch retail clerks breaking the law.

A point of sale system is one major tool retailers can use to ensure proper ID verification. Let’s look at a liquor store as an example. The top three qualities for a liquor store point of sale system (POS) are inventory control, fast checkout and age verification. Ideally your POS system will have a feature to help you staff calculate a customer’s age before they can complete the sale. You would want to set the minimum age allowed to buy certain items in the system so that, when the item is rung up at the register, the POS prompts the clerk to enter the customer’s birthdate into the system. If the customer is under age, the system will not allow the sale to be complete. Posterita, a web-based POS, can take this feature a step further so that if a customer’s date of birth is already saved on the system, Posterita will calculate the age and not ask for the customer identity verification again to complete the sale. Remember that ultimately responsible retailing is a management responsibility. Posterita can act as a tool to maintain your retail compliance and help you maintain your positive reputation with your loyal customers.

Daniel McDowell
Daniel McDowell is the head of all operations in the United States, responsible for sales, marketing and customer support.