Reduce Risk and Meet Demand with Scalable Smartphone Scanning Apps
Retailers and last mile delivery firms are still dealing with the drastic impact of COVID-19 and adapting to the changes it has brought about.
The pandemic accelerated the shift towards eCommerce, creating a surge in delivery volumes. Royal Mail estimated there are 200million more parcels in the postal and courier system in the UK and this trend has been reflected globally.
Amidst this boom in online shopping and home deliveries there was a significant increase in age-restricted goods purchased, notably alcohol in grocery orders or via food delivery apps.
The US saw triple-digit growth in alcohol sales driven by eCommerce during March-April 2020.
So if the challenges around scaling operations to meet demand, controlling costs and adapting to contactless processes weren’t enough – age verification on the doorstep or during pickup at the curbside has become another increasingly important concern.
Retailers and delivery businesses must ensure they can complete age verification checks quickly, accurately and contactlessly – or potentially face serious legal and financial consequences.
But there is a simple, accessible, scalable solution for this – leveraging smartphones and computer vision technology.
In this guide, we’ll highlight how deploying smartphone apps with ID scanning capabilities helps handle age verification and reduce risk. You’ll learn:
- Why age-restricted deliveries are a growing compliance challenge
- How computer vision and ID scanning powered mobile apps help reduce risk
- How it works and why it’s quick and easy to integrate into existing processes
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1. Age-restricted deliveries: A growing compliance challenge
In 2020, the pandemic fuelled a rapid increase in consumers purchasing or ordering age-restricted products via the internet, including alcohol, tobacco and more.
A combination of lockdowns, movement restrictions or safety concerns around entering physical retail stores all played a role in boosting eCommerce sales, with large numbers of new customers turning to online and safer, contactless delivery options.
Businesses delivering age-restricted products must have effective systems in place for preventing prospective customers who are underage from receiving them. These are essential for maintaining compliance with legislation in many countries and avoiding having operations shut down.
There may be a variety of serious legal consequences for employees and delivery companies in the event of non-compliance, such as:
- Immediate termination of employees or contractors for negligent or deliberate non-conformance to this policy or related legislation.
- Legal action against employees or contractors for severe breaches of this policy or related legislation, which results in injury, loss of life, social harm, or community disruption.
Age verification on delivery
One common method today is to complete age verification checks at the point of delivery, ensuring that delivery drivers request valid proof of age to confirm that the purchaser is over the minimum age to buy the product in question. This might currently be handled visually or manually by the driver, or not at all if the recipient is absent and the delivery left on the doorstep.
Age checks on delivery create a few specific challenges in the age of COVID-19:
- The need to keep deliveries contactless and adhere to social distancing rules while still checking and capturing details from identity documents – whether on the recipients’ doorstep or while people are picking up curbside orders.
- Efficiency and budgets are under pressure, age verification can potentially lead to more dwell time spent on each delivery and impact the overall speed of delivery and customer satisfaction.
- With spikes in alcohol deliveries of 234 percent observed during peaks in March-April 2020, scaling up to meet demand is already challenging, let alone adding new processes or equipping new or temporary contractors with devices to complete age verification.
So whether it’s alcohol as part of a grocery order or a fast food delivery, or any other age restricted goods, retailers and last mile enterprises need to make sure they comply with the local legislation, without adversely impacting their KPIs like dwell time. Leveraging smartphones and computer vision technology can play a key role in helping to achieve this in a speedy, safe, compliant way.
Mobile apps empowered with ID scanning software are a viable solution to help streamline age verification and ensure no delivery is received by a minor. It’s simple to deploy ID scanning functionality into any existing mobile app.
2. ID scanning on smart devices: Confirm age verification with a quick scan
Many leading enterprises have already turned to smartphones as the de facto technology of choice for employees and delivery drivers for various delivery tasks.
Increasingly traditional hardware scanners are being replaced due to the high cost per device, inflexibility and inability to address the various changes in the last mile, including the need for age verification or rapid scalability.
With Scandit software, drivers, contractors and couriers can rely on one smart device using mobile apps powered by enterprise-grade barcode scanning and ID scanning for Proof of Delivery, age verification and other tasks.
A scanning-enabled smart device helps them to rapidly locate the right parcel or letter in the van, scan it upon delivery and then capture any other necessary information, such as ID, signature, addresses, GPS location and photos. All this done with speed and at a safe distance. Watch ID scanning on smartphones in action:
3. How it works: Contactless, fast and accurate
With many companies crowdsourcing to meet demand for new drivers and delivery employees to cope with up to a 90% increase in parcel volume in some countries (Source: Pacific Consulting Group), any age verification solution must be flexible and easy to use.
Where mobile apps are already deployed for delivery workflows, adding ID scanning capability is a proven, available solution and secure way to verify the age during the Proof of Delivery process.
Scandit brings high-performance ID scanning software into any mobile delivery app, enabling everyday smart devices with a camera to capture data from different types of identity documents seamlessly. 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.
The 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).
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.
If the app can’t work on all the necessary device types and in real-life ambient conditions, it will be unsuccessful. User studies confirm that Scandit-powered mobile apps significantly outperform other scanning software solutions on any device under any condition with any barcode.
Not only you can record the ID or driving licence, 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 +).
Real-world example: Instacart – Age Verification and Proof of Delivery
Instacart uses Scandit’s Barcode Scanning SDK in its Instacart Shopper order picking app. The Instacart marketplace is supported by a community of hundreds of thousands of personal shoppers that handpick and deliver customer orders.
Instacart shoppers download the Instacart Shopper app onto their mobile device to accept, pick, and deliver customer orders. Recently, the store has seen notable growth in its delivery service in the wake of stay-at-home orders. And Scandit has allowed it to scale quickly and flexibly.
Here, 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 that the scan has been made correctly.
4. Rapid integration: Add 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. 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.
- ePassports/ eMRTD with RFID chips. ePassports are ICAO-standardized Passports with an RFID chip embedded.
- EU 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.
All of this is done using the smartphone camera and the phone’s processor. So 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 requires 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 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.
Adapt and Innovate with new challenges
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.
Barcode scanning and ID scanning enabled mobile apps on smart devices provide a safer, flexible, future-proof solution for both your customers and your last mile workers.
Scandit helps delivery enterprises successfully deploy enterprise-grade barcode scanning apps on both personal and business-owned smartphones.
We can help you identify the right mobile and scanning strategy to cope with the evolving challenges in the post-COVID world. Why not book a meeting with one of our experts to discuss how we can help you?