Online sales of age-restricted goods like alcohol are on the rise as the cost of living increases.

According to IWSR, it is set to grow 34% by 2026 – down on the pandemic-driven highs of 2020 of 43%. But it still illustrates an upward trend.

The second-degree impact will be an increased pressure on last mile delivery and retailers to ensure it gets into the right hands.

Age verification has historically been a frustrating, time-consuming process, relying on visual ID document inspection and manual data input.

In today’s fast-paced world, this simply won’t cut it.

Last mile compliance officers around the world are turning to technology to not only stay compliant with regulations but to make it easier for operational teams to validate ages quickly and mitigate risks.

This guide explores the complexities last mile operators face in balancing regulatory compliance with operational performance and how automated ID scanning can help.

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Age-verified Delivery - why it’s essential

Compliance issues around the purchase and delivery of age-restricted goods is a serious business and one which has grown in magnitude.

In most countries and US states, a delivery company of age-restricted goods acts as an agent of the licensee and is therefore obliged to verify age by law.

And the stakes are high. Systematically neglect age verification and last mile businesses and retailers risk the consequences. This includes high fines, a revoke of their licenses, and brand reputational damage.

A recent compliance audit found that only 45% of rapid delivery drivers asked recipients for proof of age when delivering orders requiring ID verification, leaving delivery companies to face legal and financial penalties, along with reputational risk.

Serve Legal

Deliveries of age-restricted goods, like alcohol, traditionally required drivers to visually or manually check IDs on the doorstep.

Not only can this increase dwell time for each delivery, reduce earnings of drivers on a ‘per drop’ basis, but can lead to serious non-compliance issues.

Introducing ID scanning-enabled apps on mobile devices is the ideal way to increase compliance rates without hindering operational performance.

It offers quick and easy age verification on doorsteps or at the curbside.

ID scanning offers a cost-effective compliance solution

Rising e-commerce and seasonal orders place enormous pressure on last-mile operations.

Scaling up to meet demand can be challenging. New processes to complete age verification add further complexity for drivers. Not to forget the requirements to keep deliveries contactless, and maintain social distancing guidelines are still with us.

More often than not, it is a legal requirement to verify ages from identity documents. The question is how do you do that without inconveniencing customers, incurring unnecessary delivery delays and increased dwell time.

Deploying smart data capture including ID scanning into existing delivery apps and processes is a proven and accessible solution to age verification. It automates, updates and mobilizes processes for faster, more reliable document verification.

Learn more about why ID scanning is fast and effective anytime, anywhere.

Why implement ID scanning on smart devices?

Increasing compliance to reduce business risk

Delivering alcohol to minors is a serious issue. Punishments include revoked licenses and fines as high as $500,000.

Yet, online retailer compliance with age restrictions is poor. It ranges from 0 to 46% according to a study conducted by S. Colbert et al. which has been published by Health policy in 2021. Many larger delivery companies claim no age verification is needed for alcohol deliveries.

However, the boom in alcohol sales, accelerated by COVID-19 is prompting new laws and tighter regulations all over the world.

The ABC Department of California provides a typical example. The organization started conducting delivery stings using decoys in April 2020. The initiative revealed a 50-79% violation rate for delivery drivers (historically decoy operations had violation rates of 14%).

On June 5, 2020, it announced the Office of Administrative Law had approved the new ABC regulations related to using minor decoys in enforcement operations involving delivery personnel.

See how easy it is to verify a customer’s age via their ID on the doorstep.

Increasing productivity and efficiency

Effective ID scanning is all about speed, reliability, and accuracy.

ID scanning needs to be fast in all situations – low light, awkward angles, safe distance. But the most important factor is minimizing the number of times information has to be entered manually because of failed scans.

Many leading last mile companies have turned to high performance ID scanning on smartphones as the de facto technology of choice for delivery drivers because:

  • Smartphones enabled with smart data capture functionality, like ID scanning, enables drivers, contractors and couriers to verify ages and proof of delivery.
  • Delivery of goods, including age-restricted goods, can be scaled up during peak seasons – drivers are equipped with a familiar device or can use their own.
  • ID scanning increases efficiency in age verified deliveries and therefore last mile operational productivity.
  • Replacing expensive dedicated devices can save up to 40% on the total cost of ownership (TCO).
  • High performing scanning functionality saves time by minimizing failed scans.

How ID scanning works and the Scandit difference

With many companies crowdsourcing to meet demand for new drivers, any age verification solution must be flexible and easy to use.

Adding ID scanning capability is proven where mobile apps are already deployed for delivery workflows. It is also a secure way to verify the age during the Proof of Delivery process.

Fast, reliable and accurate

Scandit brings high performance ID scanning software into any mobile delivery app, enabling everyday smart devices with a camera to seamlessly capture data from different identity documents-types.

This can be deployed on business-provided smart devices or using a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach where seasonal or temporary contractors download the app on their own smart devices.


Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK supports 20,000+ mobile device types and models.

Scandit software captures the information on the identity document, scanning the barcode, machine readable zone (MRZ) or text using Optical Character Recognition, with a quick scan of the back or front of the card (depending on the country).

Enterprise-grade performance in the toughest conditions

Scandit delivers exceptional scanning performance and accuracy in even the most challenging conditions. So packages and ID documents can be scanned quickly and easily at a safe distance, without having to change hands.

The app will be unsuccessful if it cannot work on all device types and in real-life ambient conditions. User studies confirm that Scandit-powered mobile apps significantly outperform other scanning software solutions on any device under any condition.

Empower delivery drivers with an intuitive UX

Not only can you record the ID or driving license, but the Scandit SDK also makes it clear to the driver if the ID matches the legal age to pick up the item (automatically calculating if the person is 18 or 21 years +).

You can easily add in additional process guidance. For example, augmented reality (AR) overlays can alert drivers to a delivery containing age restricted goods. So the delivery can be returned if the recipient is underaged.

Providing onscreen guidance like an age calculation is beneficial to inexperienced drivers. Intuitive UX features like this can even render time-consuming training obsolete.

Customer story

Instacart – Age Verification and Proof of Delivery

US grocery delivery company Instacart, uses Scandit’s Barcode Scanning SDK in its Instacart Shopper order picking app. Instacart shoppers download the Instacart Shopper app onto their mobile device to accept, pick, and deliver customer orders.

ID scanning is used for age verification for home delivery and curbside pickup. It works in combination with the delivery label scan to alert the driver when verification is required. Crucially, it records proof they have correctly made the scan.

Integrate ID scanning in weeks

Integrating the Scandit SDK is a very simple and quick process. By doing so, your application will have access to both Scandit’s high-performance barcode scanning and ID scanning capabilities. In fact, we’ve had customers deploy our ID scanning software into apps in just 10 days.

By combining barcode scanning and text recognition technology, our ID scanning solution supports a wide range of ID documents, including:

  • US, Canadian, and EU Drivers Licenses. We can scan the pdf 417 on the back or the text on the front. We also offer a comprehensive and fully maintained parser for the pdf 417. Our US Driving License scanning is considered best-in-class.
  • Passports. Here we can scan the Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) on any passport (the block of numbers and text below the image). This also works on ID cards in most countries.
  • EU and UK Drivers Licenses. Our SDK can read the text on the front of the driver’s license. In the EU example, this can capture address, age, and name.
  • ePassports/ eMRTD with RFID chips. ePassports are ICAO-standardized Passports with an RFID chip embedded.

Drivers can do all of this using the smartphone camera and processor. There is no need to connect to an external database.

The ID check is officially confirmed and recorded, lowering exposure to legal risks. And with Scandit, security and data privacy is assured – all data extraction and processing is done entirely on the device.

Our ID documentation database is continually updated. For example, we monitor changes to driver licenses in all US states so the parser your app uses is continuously updated. This sort of activity is replicated across all ID types.

Easy to integrate into any app

Our Barcode Scanning SDK comes with its own ID scanning API to simplify the development process and to require less code.

  • Enterprise-grade performance and support. Fast, secure barcode and text recognition to scan identity documents with professional, fully supported software – from implementation to maintenance to updates and more.
  • Secure. Security and data privacy is assured – all data extraction and processing is done entirely on the device.
  • Simple to use. Fast and easy integration with our simple and well documented SDK.

Scandit’s ID scanning is supported on iOS and Android. You can also add ID scanning to web applications with Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK for the Web. This means the drivers can scan ID and verify age during the proof of delivery process using a web app, no need to download a dedicated app which can be very useful for seasonal contractors.

ID Validate for Age-Verified Deliveries in the US

ID verification with Scandit is typically a three-step process:

  1. The information on the document is captured.
  2. The different fields are parsed, and the structured data is converted to a digital format.
  3. Various checks can be made based on the retrieved ID data, such as expiration date or the person’s age.

Scandit’s ID Validate adds a fourth stage to this process. It analyzes the ID characteristics to check for forgery errors and determine if an ID is real or fake. This process takes no additional time and works entirely offline, like all of Scandit’s ID verification tools.

The software enables any mobile device app to analyze an ID to check for forgery errors and determine if it is real or fake. So frontline workers can receive instant age calculations and guidance on the authenticity of an ID in one go.

ID Validate is exclusively available in the US for US Driver licenses.

Age verification - essential to protect against risk and liability

It’s clear that having a viable solution in place to verify age when delivering the growing volume of age restricted goods is essential to protect against risk and liability while not hindering speed and agility.

Smart data capture with ID scanning-enabled mobile apps on smart devices provide a safer, flexible, future proof solution for your customers and last mile workers.

Scandit helps delivery businesses to develop the right mobile and smart data capture strategy to ensure compliance and profitability amid unpredictable demands.

Why not contact us to schedule a call with one of our experts to discuss how we can help you with your last mile operations.

Find Out How We Can Help

Deliver Age-Restricted Products: Fast and Friction-Free (Infographic)

Our infographic takes you through the whole process of setting up smart devices to do age verification checks in the last mile.

Age Verified Delivery With Scandit ID Scanning

Enable delivery drivers to perform age checks from a safe distance by scanning the back or the front of a wide range of IDs.

Tackling Age Verification Risk in the Last Mile

Our guide highlights how Scandit’s ID scanning capabilities allow your current mobile apps to handle age verification and reduce risk.