In general, the goal of successful marketing is to promote your product or service to the audience in need of what you can provide. Connection Marketing knows that nobody wants to waste time (or money) advertising to the wrong market. However, in the realm of age-restricted products such as vape, cbd, cannabis, alcohol and tobacco, advertising to the wrong people isn’t simply a matter of wasted effort. Retailers can be held legally accountable if they sell products to underaged buyers. In the age of booming internet sales of all kinds of merchandise, it’s increasingly important for businesses to know how to protect themselves from unwittingly running afoul of often-confusing layers of state and federal laws.
E-cigarettes and vape pens are a prime examples of the type of product under scrutiny today. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which means they are considered tobacco products, whose use is now restricted to those 21 and above by federal law. Despite age restrictions, increasing numbers of underage teens have begun using e-cigarettes since 2011, as documented by the Surgeon General. The FDA made moves in spring of 2019 to restrict the use of certain types of flavors in e-cigarettes, which are widely seen as appealing primarily to underage users. The issue came to a head beginning in the summer of 2019, when an outbreak of severe lung disease tied to e-cigarette use hospitalized thousands and resulted in the deaths of 57 (as of January 2020). President Trump announced his intention to more radically restrict the use of flavorings in e-cigarettes, although pushback from industry has delayed the implementation of any new bans.
What is a responsible retailer to do, particularly in the realm of online sales? Not seeing your customer face to face doesn’t absolve you of the responsibility for verifying their age. Connection Marketing understands that a robust yet user-friendly age-checking tool is a necessity for online businesses dealing with age-restricted products. One of our clients, AgeChecker.net, has the solution. Their service combines a seamless consumer experience and secure age verification in an easy-to-implement tool compatible with most major e-commerce platforms.
On the consumer side, AgeChecker.net works simply—when customers check out, the date of birth they enter is checked against an extensive database of records to confirm their identity and age. In 90% of cases, this is enough to verify if they are legally able to purchase. If not, they’re given the option to upload a copy of their photo ID to verify their age. The average ID verification time is just 10 seconds, reducing consumer frustration and abandoned carts.
On the merchant side, AgeChecker.net is just as easy to use. You can use their installation guides and plug-ins to install it yourself, or use their free installation service. Once installed, the software is fully customizable for your business’s needs. You can not only choose from among AgeChecker.net’s industry-specific profiles, which are updated as state and federal laws change to keep you fully in compliance at all times, but you can also set customized age restrictions for certain locations, or block sales to other areas completely. You get advanced management tools to view the verification details and statistics for your customers, and you can manage multiple websites from a single account.
Best of all, the service is affordable for all businesses, even those just getting started, allowing even brand-new retailers to cover their legal bases effectively while they grow. It’s easily integrated into WordPress sites, a favorite with both new and established businesses alike, through a plugin. AgeChecker.net makes it simple to comply with the law when it comes to selling age-restricted products, leaving you free to concentrate on growing sales the right way.
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