Bargain Booze, the off-license chain owned by Bestway Retail, has announced an extension in the use of age estimation technology in its UK stores, following a successful trial with Innovative Technology Ltd (ITL). The implementation of the verification system is aimed in this instance at protecting children from harm in the retail sale of alcohol products; but as the technology matures, is a whole raft of new opportunities about to open up for vending and unattended retail operators… Could it prevent underage use of unattended machines and if so, how might that expand the range of products that can be offered for sale?
The system was first installed by Bargain Booze in January this year, as part of the Home Office ‘sandbox trial’, which was completed at the end of May. Since the trial began, ITL has been busy developing MyCheckr, which facilitates anonymous age estimation powered by ICU Lite, to give an all-in-one, standalone device that retailers can simply plug in to help cashiers with age check decisions.
‘As a direct result of the successful trial we will now be installing Innovative’s MyCheckr device at more of our Bargain Booze stores’, Clive Binks, Head of Corporate Stores at Bestway Retail said. ‘The technology is helping to boost staff ‘s confidence when asking customers for ID and of course anything that ensures we safeguard children is paramount to us as a responsible business.”
The Association of Convenience Stores Crime Report 2022 found that ‘enforcing an age restricted sales policy’ is one of the top triggers for violence or abuse against staff. ITL also report that the technology is successfully being used to aid staff and protect them from abuse.
MyCheckr is simple to use, with a green LED above the screen indicating that no age check is required, or a red light showing when an age check is recommended. The technology has the highest accuracy of any independently tested solution and is the only GDPR certified age estimation system in the world.
‘Feedback from one of the store managers was that the technology should be rolled out everywhere in pubs and shops to take the sole responsibility away from bouncers and server’, Andy Bullock, Senior Business Development Manager at ITL said. ‘Another said they would like to continue using it after the trial end date as all staff refer to the unit before serving and commented on its accuracy, even with masks or face coverings. With over 75% of those staff questioned wanting to keep using the technology, we are delighted that we can now begin installation of the market-ready MyCheckr device at several Bargain Booze stores. Bestway Retail has embraced this initiative and clearly take seriously their responsibility to protect children from being mis-sold alcohol. We look forward to working with other retailers in the future to help them meet their licensing objectives using age estimation technology.’
Find out more about ITL on Planet Vending, HERE